Some days the weather can change in an instant. Instead of fishing under bright blue skies, you can find yourself holding a rod in the pouring rain. If a summer storm caught you off guard, you’re probably wondering does rain affect fishing.
Fish react to weather changes and are especially affected by changes in barometric pressure. Falling barometric pressure, associated with rain, affects the fish’s feeding behavior and pushes them into a feeding frenzy. Rain also affects fishing by cooling and oxygenating waterways.
This article will tell you how weather and rain affect fishing and whether or not you should go fishing in the rain.
How Does Rain Affect Fishing?
There is no scientific research that shows how rain affects fish and fishing. But most experienced fishermen know that fishing is the best in times of falling barometric pressure, which precedes stormy weather and rain.
Freshwater and saltwater fishing improves significantly during a falling barometric pressure which is usually followed by rainy weather. Fish are susceptible to changes in barometric pressure because it causes their swim bladders to expand and shrink.
Besides being affected by the falling air pressure, fish also react to rainy weather. This is particularly true during summer, in times of low oxygen levels in the water.
During summer, even light rain can help cool the waterway, giving the fish more energy and increasing their activity. Oxygen levels in ponds and lakes are low during warm summer months, which causes fish to become lethargic and uninterested in feeding. The rain adds oxygen to the water and increases fish activity.
Heavy rains wash insects, plant matter, and other fish food from shores, attracting baitfish and larger predatory fish to the surface and encouraging a feeding frenzy. Also, rain affects fish by changing the color of the water, often mudding it with all the insects and debris carried from the shore.
It’s important to remember that not all rainy weather will affect fish in the same way. During spring and fall, a cold-weather front will drop the water’s temperature even further, pushing the fish deeper into the water column.
Some fish species, such as carp, bass, and trout, are more sensitive to weather changes than other species. Carp are affected by the changes in oxygen levels, bass reacts the most to water movement caused by falling raindrops, and trout are affected by low light conditions caused by an overcast sky.
It doesn’t matter if you’re into bass fishing, carp fishing, or bluegill fishing, rainy weather increases your chances of hooking any type of fish.
Do Fish Like It When It’s Raining?
Fish associate rainy weather with the increase in insects and worms that are washed into the waterway during a rainstorm. Rainy conditions also lower the water’s temperature and increase oxygen levels during warm summer months, benefiting fish in many ways.
Although most anglers aren’t excited about fishing in the rain, fish like the rain. Fish associate rainy weather with cooler and more pleasant temperatures, more feeding opportunities, and higher oxygen levels.
What Weather Is the Best for Fishing?
Dropping barometric pressure is associated with the approach of a storm.
The fish feel that the weather is about to change but don’t know how long the inclement weather will last. Not knowing when their next meal will be, pushes fish into a feeding frenzy and makes them willing to bite just about anything thrown their way.
Provided there is no lightning and thunder, a downpour creates excellent conditions for fishing. To catch fish in these conditions, use active presentation made for aggressive fish, which are often found roaming the shallow water. Steer clear of muddy water caused by runoff and cast your line in the clearest water available.
Light rain with little or no breeze is also a great time to be on the water. Reduced light stimulates feeding activity in most fish species ranging from trout to walleye.
In low light conditions on cloudy days, predatory fish roam around, especially in shallow waters. Use active fishing presentations with larger baits to score big catches, particularly in shallow areas where schooling fish are feeding.
Other Factors that Can Affect Fishing
Various weather conditions affect fishing and can cause fish to ignore their bait on a seemingly perfect day for fishing. Here’s how different weather factors affect fishing:
- Water temperature: Can have a positive and negative effect on fishing because it affects the fish’s willingness to feed
- Barometric pressure: Rising and dropping air pressure changes the pressure on the surface of the body of water and either increases or decreases the pressure on a fish’s swim bladder. The fish go into a feeding frenzy as soon as the barometric pressure starts to fall but then stop feeding the day the cold pressure front arrives
- Wind speed and direction: Depending on the speed and direction, wind can positively or negatively affect fishing. Note the direction of the wind and only fish on days when the wind is blowing on the leeward side of a large landmass and pushes food out into the water
- Turbidity: Water clarity affects how many fish species feed. Most fish are sight feeders and when feeding in turbid water they need to rely on their other senses to locate prey. Thanks to increased turbidity fishermen have a better chance of catching fish
Fish are affected by many different weather conditions, including rain. Although it might not seem like it, overcast and rainy weather offer some of the best fishing opportunities.
You are safe to fish in rainy weather if there is no risk of lightning and thunderstorms. Drizzle and heavy rain create ideal feeding conditions for different types of fish, increasing your chances of landing a catch. To ensure you’re having a great time on the water, invest in a high-quality rain suit that will keep you comfortable and dry.