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When is the Best Time to go Fishing?

Posted on September 28, 2018 in Angling Bass Fishing



Fish are cold-blooded creatures, which means that they cannot regulate their body temperature to stay at a constant level. The temperature of the fish’s surrounding influences their body temperature. When it gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter the fish in shallow waters (lakes, ponds, and rivers) become sluggish. This is because extreme temperatures reduce the amount of oxygen in the water making them less active.

Knowing this biology also teaches us the first lesson: determine the best time and tide to fish and avoid extreme temperatures if possible. Moreover, it also helps us to choose the right lures or bates to use and how fast or slow we have to work with them. In cold water since the fish are slower, you need to work on your tackle slower and work on it faster in warm water.

Morning and Afternoon Fishing

Fish prefer warm water; this is usually during early mornings or late afternoons towards evening. In the morning the sun warms the water making a comfortable environment for the fish. During early spring it is best to fish late in the morning where the sun has a chance to warm the water, especially the shallows with dark or muddy bottoms. Dark and muddy bottoms warm up faster than light sandy ones.

During chilly early spring days, it is best to fish in warm water temperatures. It makes bait fish more active and available to game fish. Move to cooler, deeper waters during hot sunny days. High temperatures cause the shallow fish move to cooler and deeper waters to stay comfortable. Fish during early mornings and late afternoons where the temperature is cooler and when lower light levels make fish go to the shallows to eat.

During midday, fish are in deeper waters because the surface temperature goes up which decreases the surface oxygen and sometimes during this time of the day the wind increases. If you opt to fish during this time, it is best to use deep fishing baits, rigs and lures. The combination of time and day, light and weather affects your fishing.

It brings us to lesson #2: know when the best time to fish and if possible avoid bright sunlight.

Fishing: Different Seasons


  • Early Morning: Expect that fish will not bite. The water is too cold because the sun is still low; thus, the sunlight bounces off the water and will not heat it up. It’s best to wait until the water temperature even out to 39.2 degrees. This happens after a week or so as the snow and ice thaw.
  • Late Morning-Early Afternoon: Fish will bite off and on. It is when the water begins to warm up. Remember to fish the downwind shoreline, where the wind pushes the warm surface water and the surface food.
  • Afternoon-Early Evening: Fish are biting because of increasing metabolism and digestion. This is when the sun is directly overhead and warms the water.


  • Early Morning: This is the best time to fish before the sun comes up just before mid-morning. But it’ll be difficult to find hungry fish because this is also the time of the year where food is abundant.
  • Late Morning-Early Afternoon: Sun is up making the water heat up and forces fish to go to deeper water to cool off.
  • Afternoon-Early Evening: the sun is down, the water cools down to a suitable temperature for the fish. This makes the fish come up from the depths.


  • Early Morning: The sun is too low to penetrate and warm up the water. Fish won’t bite from sun up to early morning because of the cold temperature.
  • Late Morning-Early Afternoon: Generally water is cool during this time so the fish will bite of and on in warmer, shallow water.
  • Afternoon-Early Evening:  This this considered as the best time of the year to fish. It is the season where the fish are putting on weight to prepare for winter. At this time of the day the sun is directly overhead, warming up the water for several hours to make the water temperature warm for the fish.



The wind can make or break your fishing location, time, technique, and gear choices. It dictates your fishing success. This is because the wind pushes the warm water and the food to the far offshore. On a windy day, you can shore fish. Make sure to cast your lure into the wind so it can move with it. If you are fishing from a boat, go to a sheltered shore as you cast with the wind.


Like any other animals, fish are attuned to barometric conditions. This affects fishing success. Before a storm hits, fish feeding increases as they prepare for the cold front. Feeding decreases after a storm or front hits.

It is not advisable to fish right after a cold front, wait it out a day or two. Warm fronts, on the other hand, causes the water temperature to rise, making the fish in a feeding frenzy. This is true during winter when warm fronts hit it increases the temperature causing the sluggish fish to feed near warm surface.


On a normal sunny day, fish tend to hide and stay close to a structure but on a cloudy day they cruise for food. Overcast skies prevent harsh light to penetrate thus signals the fish to look for food. During a cloudy day, they are less likely to stay near a structure and more likely to scatter throughout a waterway.


During warm spring or summer, light rain is one of the best times to fish. When shore, wade, or boat fishing, rain helps you hide from the fish as it breaks up its view through the water. It also helps create a feeding binge for the fish as it washes insects and fishing baits into the water.


This is a miserable time to fish. Hard rain muddles the water, which causes heavy runoff that may clog the gills of the fish. It increases water flow in rivers making it difficult for the fish to maintain a good position in the river. Also, increased water levels creates rapids and waves that not only makes fishing difficult but also dangerous.

Now you know the best time to fish through the seasons, go ahead and check your state’s regulation on fishing, make sure to regularly consult your local weather and fishing conditions. For coast states, information on best saltwater fishing times are often provided. Get your fishing license online now and have fun!