Weather conditions are extremely important when it comes to fishing. I have learned this the hard way, spending countless hours behind the rod in the absolutely worst conditions possible. But, on the bright side, I have also learned what weather works best for fishing.
It should be overcast, winds should be light, coming from the south or southwest, and there should be some humidity in the air. Regardless of the season, temperatures should be moderate, and a low pressure system should have occurred recently.
Of course, it is important to state that completely different weather conditions can also lead to successful fishing trips. But the combination of factors described in this article is, by far, the best possible weather scenario for a fishing trip. Continue reading to find out more about each of them.
The Impact of Weather Conditions on Fishing Success
There are numerous factors that have a direct or indirect impact on fish behavior and fishing success. And while most of them are beyond your own control, you can still make active choices towards or against them, in order to make them work for you.
Weather conditions are certainly one of those factors. Weather patterns change constantly, and with them, the fish change their behavior and feeding patterns. One single weather condition, or a combination of them, can make all the difference between catching and going home empty-handed.
Fish can react very strongly and suddenly to weather patterns and changes, as the weather has such a profound impact on their environment. Weather conditions affect bodies of water in several ways:
- water level
- level of oxygen
- location of food sources
All these factors change frequently, due to the changes in the weather, and the fish will have to adapt to these changes as well.
If you understand this causation and figure out which weather conditions lead to success in fishing, and which of them don’t, then you will increase your chances of catching fish significantly.
Insider tip: Every time you’re out fishing, collect weather data for future fishing trips!
As a bonus, you can save a lot of time if you only go fishing when certain weather conditions occur. In order to be able to do so, you need to have a historical data collection from previous fishing trips, so that you can establish patterns and find out which conditions work the best.
The easiest ways to do that is by either creating a simple Excel spreadsheet (free template), using Google Docs (free template) or by downloading a fishing journal app. All three are actually immensely helpful and rewarding tools, if you keep feeding them with data. Over time, clear weather-related patterns will present themselves to you, guaranteed.
If you want to shortcut all that research somewhat, then you are more than welcome to use my findings that I present in this article! They are based on literally thousands of fishing trips over the last 20 years, as I have a fishing journal myself, and I still update it after every trip I take.
Are Clouds Good for Fishing?
This beautiful carp of just over 24 lbs was caught during my favorite weather condition during fall; southwestern wind and an overcast sky. Clouds definitely work in your favor when fishing, but, preferably, they must cover the entire sky. By definition, the term overcast means that at least 95% of the sky is obscured by clouds.
You want a grey blanket of clouds above you when fishing, as it both keeps out the direct sunlight and brings additional warmth. Sometimes, they even hold a little drizzle as well, which is even better, if it only occurs occasionally throughout the day.
Overcast nights are also extremely good for fishing, as fish tend to get spooked by the moonlight or the stars.
If you want to learn more about night fishing, make sure to read this related article that I have published recently: How to Fish at Night the Right Way
Best Wind Direction for Fishing
“Wind from the east, fish bite the least;
Wind from the west, the fish bite the best;
Wind from the north, few sailors set forth;
Wind from the south blows bait in their mouth.“
This old fishing rhyme is actually fairly accurate, believe it or not! Winds from the south or the southwest are definitely the best for fishing! Of course, the wind directions themselves do not impact fishing, but rather what the winds are carrying with them.
South and southwestern winds most commonly carry warmer, and sometimes also more humid air with them. During spring and fall, this suddenly brings warmer weather and hence, a somewhat higher water temperature as well, which in turn activate the fish’s appetite.
During summer, south and southwestern winds usually mean more stable conditions over a longer period of time, which also equals to more fish activity and better fishing.
On the contrary, there are the eastern winds that are commonly linked to cold fronts and cooler air. Northern winds are simply the worst, in most cases, as they are both connected to very cold air and stormy weather. Think about it, would you rather like to have a beer in a nice southern breeze or an ice-cold, sharp northern wind?
What Is the Best Temperature for Fishing?
Of course, temperature will vary throughout the seasons, and so there is no exact number I can give you here. Instead, the best temperature, both in the air and in the water, is a moderate one.
This applies to all four seasons; during winter, fish will be most active on days that are milder than the otherwise cold and freezing ones. During summer, periods with lower temperatures, where the heat of the season is absent, will also activate the fish and make them feed much more.
The key is moderation, because extreme cold and extreme heat are very bad for fishing, and because a too rapid rise or fall in temperature will force the fish to adjust first. This adjustment period can take several days, and during which, fish are generally not very active or hungry.
What Is the Best Barometric Pressure for Fishing?
Barometric pressure is a much discussed topic among fishermen. Most of them will agree on the fact that both long-lasting low or high pressure systems are not very good for fishing and that shifts from either low-to-high or high-to-low pressure can be very advantageous for fishing.
The very best barometric pressure for fishing seems to be a shift from a high or medium pressure to a low pressure system. Low pressure usually comes before a more unstable weather front, or even a storm. The fish seem to sense that very accurately and start to feed frantically (feeding frenzy). Sometimes, this only lasts for a very short while, which means that you should definitely use that window.
Should You Avoid Other Weather Patterns All Together?
Certainly not! You should always try to fish in the above described weather conditions, but sometimes, life gets in the way! You simply don’t always have time to go fishing, due to school, work, family business, the weekly shopping, etc. Especially when weather conditions seem to be aligned perfectly and you get that gut feeling that tells you to go, something usually gets in the way.
And that’s perfectly fine. Rest assured that fish also bite in other weather conditions! And any fishing trip is better than no fishing trip at all, isn’t it?
All, or at least most of the above mentioned weather conditions should be present when you decide to go fishing. T weather impact on fishing is very complicated and there are many different factors that have to come together nicely, in order for you to have a successful fishing trip.
If you only go for one of these conditions, chances are not very good that you will have a great fishing experience. But, once again, if you find on days where all of the article’s factors can be observed, take advantage of them and go fishing!