What Are the Best Times of Day to Go Fishing?
Best Time of Day to Go Fishing – Knowing the optimal times to fish is crucial because weather, tides, and other factors influence species behaviour. Anglers can now use various tools to help them determine the best fishing days, best freshwater fishing hours, and best saltwater fishing times in their area.
Every angler has had to ask the age-old question, “When is the ideal time to fish?” While we all know that the weather has an impact on fish, everyone who has ever cast a line knows that there’s a lot more to it than that. So, how do you figure out when it’s time to go fishing? Continue reading to find out!
There are two things you must remember if you want to time your outing like an expert. First and foremost, the fish must be present — shocking! Second, they must be in a biting attitude. As you can expect, a variety of circumstances come into play.
Some factors, such as the tides, have a daily impact on fish. Others occur regularly. The essential point is that most of these impacts occur regularly, making life much easier for anglers. So let’s take a closer look at these variables.
- Winter (no ice): midday to late afternoon
- Winter (ice fishing): late afternoon
- Spring: mid-to-late morning
- Summer: dawn & dusk; nighttime can be hot too
- Fall: evenings until sunset
When is the ideal time to go fishing?
Fish are cold-blooded, making them extremely sensitive to variations in temperature. Therefore, we need to look at how water temperatures change from season to season and from dawn to dark to determine when the time of day is optimal for fishing.
Cold temperatures and a general lack of food cause fish to slow down in the winter. Freshwater fish reduce their activity to the point where their metabolisms suffer. It’s not difficult to catch fish in the winter, but you’ll need to be precise with your timing to obtain a strike.
In the winter, mornings are frequently avoided. The sun hasn’t been up long enough, and the seas are still icy from the long nights. The waters begin to heat up as midday and early afternoon approach, and the fish are eager to bite.
Fish, like bears, emerge from their winter sleep anxious for a meal. Furthermore, several species are preparing to spawn, so there will be plenty of activity. You must, however, time your outing correctly – fishing in the spring can be hit or miss!
Because it’s still cold in the mornings, you should make your cast later in the day. In the spring, the optimum time to fish is from late afternoon to twilight. This is because many insects are around, especially later in the season, and no fish can afford to ignore them.
Fish are more active when it’s hot outside, but that doesn’t imply they’ll jump at you if it’s over 100 degrees. On the contrary, they despise the heat just as much as we do. However, there will be moments when fish will line up like they’re waiting for free lemonade on Memorial Day.
Summer mornings are ideal for testing the waters. Make sure you get a head start because the water can quickly heat up. Fish retreat to deeper waters to cool off around midday when the sun is at its peak. You’ll be able to take another shot at them when dusk approaches.
Anglers seldom seem to agree when it comes to the “dawn vs. dusk” issue. Fishing can be equally productive at any time of day on most days. It’s always a good idea to plan your trip around the species you’re looking for. Flounder and sharks, for example, are most active in the evening.
While most anglers prefer to cast their line in the summer, there is a sizable contingent of anglers who believe that fishing is better in the fall. While it isn’t quite as forgiving as summer, fishing during the fall season may be quite amazing. That is if you get your time correct.
Early autumn ushers in a slew of changes. Fish aren’t as busy at dawn as they once were, but they’re still feeding as much as they can to make it through the winter. What about you? You have the option of staying in bed and planning a late-morning fishing trip. The fish will have had time to warm up at the top of the water column, and they will undoubtedly come knocking.
Fish begin to “call it a day” earlier and earlier as the days shorten. So if you’re fishing in the late fall, go early in the afternoon, and you’ll still get a lot of bites.
Most places associate fall with the rain. On the other hand, Anglers have buckets full of fish to look forward to, while most people cringe at the notion of winds and dismal sky. If you want to learn more about how weather influences fishing, see our comprehensive guide.
What days are best for fishing (Best Time of Day to Go Fishing)?
We know how fish react to different temperatures, so why doesn’t every summer morning expedition finish with a full bucket? This is because certain days are better for fishing than others. Let’s look at why this is the case.
Moving with the Tides
As previously said, one of the most important factors to consider when planning a fishing trip is the tides. This is because moving water tends to churn up many nutrients, which causes baitfish to become quite active. If you’re a fish, this means it’s time to eat.
Contrary to popular opinion, fish are most active while the tides are changing, not when the tides are at their highest or lowest point. Learning how to interpret a tidal chart will come in handy in this situation. The larger the tidal change, the more active the fish are, as a rule of thumb.
How can you know when this is going to happen, though?
So we’ll give you a hint: it has something to do with the sky’s pumpkin.
Tides are primarily created by the moon’s and sun’s gravitational pulls. However, the moon performs most of the legwork. That’s why the biggest tidal shifts happen around the full and new moons. Look no farther than the moon phase calendar to get the answer to when to expect the highest tides.
What about freshwater?
Mind you; the moon has an impact on more than simply saltwater fish. For example, when travelling to their spawning grounds, spawning fish, such as King Salmon, wait for the highest tidal surge. But don’t mistake lunar calendars for the be-all and end-all of fishing trip planning.
In the eyes of lake fish, the moon could as well be a rock. With the exception of a few well-lit nights, the moon doesn’t do much for lake fishing. Tidal movements aren’t as significant for lake fishing as they are for armies of moon-worshipping Bass anglers.
Breakdown of 4 Fishing Time Periods
We’ll begin by looking at the four fundamental time windows in each day and describing which fish or approaches are most likely to work in each.
Fishing first thing in the morning
Early in the morning, just before dawn, water temperatures are at their lowest. When the daytime temperatures soar in the late spring, summer, or early fall, this might be an excellent time to fish. You’ll also find that there aren’t many other people around at this time of day, so you won’t have to deal with splashing swimmers or rowdy youngsters.
Low light levels at this time of day might be beneficial for fishing for species like bass and catfish, which can see well in low light. Early summer mornings are generally buzzing with flying insects, making it a good time to catch trout, bluegill, and other species that feed on insects at the surface.
In the winter, however, early morning fishing is not recommended. Because the water and air temperatures will be at their lowest during the 24-hour cycle, most fish will remain relatively passive during this time and wait for the sun’s rays to warm the water a little.
Afternoon fishing from late morning till early afternoon
In the warmest months of the year, fishing between late morning and early afternoon can be challenging, as most fish will swim deep in search of cooler water. The sun’s rays are also at their brightest at this time of day, encouraging bass and other fish to hide because their prey’s vision is frequently quite good at this time of day, making hunting difficult.
Windy, wet, or cloudy circumstances, on the other hand, can help you catch fish throughout the day. Wind, clouds, and rain all diminish the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface, and they usually lower temperatures as well.
If, on the other hand, you’re fishing during the colder months of the year, this is certainly the best – and possibly the only – time of day to catch fish. The sun’s rays will thaw the cold water, allowing the fish to travel around and feed more easily.
In the late afternoon, there’s a lot of fishing to be done.
During th spring, summer, and fall, late afternoon fishing can be just as productive as early morning fishing. Because of the sun’s low position in the sky, the water begins to chill, encouraging the fish to become more active and feed. Dimmer lighting will also attract predators like bass, who prefer to feed in low light.
Just keep in mind that the morning pattern will be reversed in the afternoon. Instead of rising like they do in the morning, the temperatures and light levels will be lowering with each cast. In addition, the shadows will vary – if the east bank of a lake is shaded in the morning, the west bank will most likely be shaded in the afternoon.
In the winter, the early afternoon can be lucrative, but as the sun sets, the fishing action usually slows down.
Fishing in the Dark
When the weather is nice, the time between sunset and midnight (give or take) is usually quite productive. You’ll have to adjust your approach, tackle, and techniques to account for the lack of light, but many desirable gamefish, such as bass, catfish, and, most importantly, walleye, feed actively throughout the first half of the night. Topwater fishing is typically better on moonlit nights since your bait will be very apparent to the fish from below.
As the night wears on and the temperatures drop, the fishing usually slows significantly. However, you can still catch fish during this period, so it’s not a bad idea to give it a shot.
Because of the cooler weather, midnight fishing will be much less productive. In the winter, few fish feed heavily, and even fewer opt to do so in the middle of the night.
Additional Points to Consider
The present temperature and season are arguably the most essential considerations in determining the optimum time of day to fish, but there are a few additional aspects to consider when considering when to go fishing. Here are a few examples:
You’ll want to pay attention to the tides if you’re fishing in saltwater, especially if you’re surf fishing from the shore. Many anglers prefer to fish during the entering tides, while others prefer to fish during the outgoing tides. Most people will agree, however, that slack tides, when the water isn’t moving, are rarely fruitful.
You may typically find your favourite tidal during a favourable time of day to fish because there are two high tides and two low tides each day (offset by 12 hours).
Weather conditions for fishing in the rain
Weather factors, as previously indicated, might change the time of day when the fish are most active. For example, a light shower might chill the water and destabilize the surface. Even in the thick of the summer, this may provide for excellent mid-day fishing. Cold showers, on the other hand, can make it practically impossible to catch fish in the late fall and early spring, even throughout the day.
Creature Comforts and Safety
You should obviously examine how the time of day affects the fish, but you should also consider how the various times of day affect you. This will not only keep you safer, but also more comfortable. Comfortable fisherman, on the whole, will catch more fish – and have more fun in the process – than unhappy anglers.
If you’re fishing in the middle of the day in the spring or fall, for example, you’ll want to wear plenty of sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. During the summer, it’s also vital to protect yourself from the sun, although you’ll normally go fishing in the morning or afternoon when the sun’s rays are less.
Fishing in the summer
It’s also worth remembering that bugs are most active in the late afternoons (and, to a lesser extent, the early mornings). To protect yourself from biting insects, use plenty of bug spray and, if required, wear long sleeves and pants.
Fishing at night brings a unique set of difficulties. Mosquitoes and bugs can still be active at night (especially in the early hours of the morning), so bring lots of repellent with you. You won’t need sunscreen, though. In fact, replacing the light that the sun ordinarily provides will be your primary concern.
You’ll need a good flashlight or lantern, but you’ll also want to pack a headlamp or a strap to hold a small flashlight on your head. This will allow you to keep your hands free while seeing what you’re doing.
So, when are you going?
Knowing everything we’ve said thus far, you’d think choosing the optimal time to fish would be as straightforward as marking a calendar. What about the weather, though? What about the traffic situation? What about your mother’s appointment with the doctor? Let’s face it, we all have hectic schedules, and things always seem to get in the way.
To answer the question, the greatest time to go fishing is whenever you have the opportunity. Most of the time, this is all you’ll need.
For many fishermen, deciding when the optimal time is to load up your fishing gear and hit the lake is a major decision. You don’t want to waste time waiting for a bite when the fish aren’t aggressively feeding; you want to go when the fish are most active.
There are many factors that influence your target fish’s activity, and there aren’t many hard-and-fast rules about the optimal times of day to try your luck. However, we’ll discuss these elements and attempt to assist you in determining the optimal time of day to catch a limit.