How to Determine the Best Time to Fish

There are many factors involved in fishing, and timing is one of them. If you have a good understanding of how fish live, you'll be able to determine the best times to fish. Use these guidelines to get one step closer to reeling in the big ones.

Evaluate the available sunlight. When it's very warm and sunny, fish move to cooler, deeper waters to stay comfortable. Cloudy days are great for fishing because the clouds diffuse sunlight.

Study daily warming trends. Morning sun warms the shallows, which creates comfortable water temperatures for fish to feed. Late morning is an excellent time to take advantage of this.

Learn about the habits of fish. In the early morning and late afternoon, cooler temperatures and lower light levels allow fish to cruise the shallows for meals. This is an excellent time to fish the shallows.

Monitor storm and weather patterns. Warm fronts cause surface water temperatures to increase, which encourages fish to feed on or near the warm surface. Fishing will be slow during and after a storm or cold front.

Check daily tide information in the newspaper if you're interested in saltwater fishing. The best conditions are during a rising or falling tide. During these times, your bait will move and provoke active feeding among coastal fish.


  • Leave the water immediately if there is lightning or the threat of lightning.


  • Fishing during a light summer or spring rain is often successful because the fish have a harder time seeing through the surface. Rain also washes insects and bait into the water, creating a feeding frenzy for the fish.

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