Little-Known Best Times to Fish

My dad is an expert on trees. When asked, “When is the best time to prune young trees,” I’ve heard him respond, “Whenever there are clippers in your hand.”

That same optimistic “go get ‘em” attitude can be applied to fishing. You won’t catch a fish unless you have a line in the water. In general, mornings and evenings seem to be the best times to fish. Mid day, there may be a period of inactivity, especially during the heat of late summer. However, that certainly doesn’t mean you should set your rod down and take a nap.

Fish are opportunistic and always looking for an easy meal. Even when not in the mood to bite, a little weather change can get fish feeding again. 

For example:

Wind: When a hot summer lake goes from flat to a little bit of a chop, get ready. That wave activity perhaps from the extra oxygen boost can be like flipping that buffet sign from “closed” to “open.”

Clouds: One of the reasons mornings and evenings are such great times for catching fish is the lower light intensity. Cloud cover can create a sort of false early evening or delay the morning sunrise. These periods can cool the water and bring (or keep) the attention of fish at the surface for longer topwater lure action.

Rain: Runoff from rain and the associated cloud cover can cool the water too. Just a degree or two can make a difference. One local muskie angler claims “the best time to fish is during or just after a rain.” As long as there isn’t any lightning, I’ll keep right on casting. 

Current: Tidal shifts can play a huge part of not only where fish are located, but what mood they might be in. Reservoirs also may periodically release their impounded water. This sudden influx of water current awakens everything in the system.

The best time for the angler to go fishing, may not be the best time for the fish to eat. A slight weather change such as brief afternoon shower can trigger a great time to fish. Plus, it may reduce the fishing pressure by sending many fishermen indoors. If there is lightning, however, no matter how great the bite, it is better to fish another day. Learn more about when to fish safely and make sure you have your fishing license before getting out on the water.
Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.