On rainy days, a lot of people wish they could just go back to bed, instead of school drop-offs, work, or university. Fish are lucky–they can. Okay, they don’t go back to bed, but weather patterns do affect the activity of fish.
This is caused by atmospheric conditions (like rain), which change the barometric pressure of the environment1. Sometimes, it isn’t even about what the weather is doing at any one time, but more about the time when weather is changing, such as the humidity before a storm, or a cold snap.
Weather changes also have an affect on other aspects of fishing, such as safety. You may have picked a beautiful sunny day that seems perfect for fishing, only to get very few bites! Here’s a few things to keep in mind when deciding on the best fishing weather.
The anatomy of fish means they are affected by weather and barometric pressure in a different way to humans. Barometric pressure is the amount of pressure the Earth’s atmosphere is exerting on the Earth’s surface2. Low or falling barometric pressure usually indicates a storm, while high or rising numbers mean clearer skies. When higher pressure and warmer temperatures are moving in, fish are more active in shallower depths. As pressure lowers, and the temperature decreases, fish will go further down into their rivers, lakes, or dams. They will usually have a quick last-minute feed as the pressure is lowering, so this is ideal weather for fishing, because fish will be more active. Using bright, quick lures during this time is a smart choice, as fish are more likely to be more energetic.
Sunlight also affects fish activity. As fish are cold-blooded, they rely on their environment to heat or cool their body. The best fishing weather is usually dusk or dawn, as the sun rays filtering through the water aren’t too hot. By midday, particularly on sunny days, fish are more likely to have dived a little deeper to cooler water3.
Turbidity is how murky or clear a body of water is, and is measured by the number of particles suspended in the water. As fish rely on their sight to find food, if water is muddy or murky (high turbidity), fish will struggle to find food. Due to this reduced visibility, lures that create noise or vibrations will be more effective than others.
Keeping track of the weather isn’t just useful when trying to catch fish, but also your safety. Weather can change quickly, particularly in coastal areas, so being aware of your fishing position is important. Fishing from rock pools on a sunny day, for example, may be safe. As the tides turn, or a storm rolls in, these fishing spots become dangerous. Whether you are fishing from shore, banks, piers, platforms, or rocks, wearing the right gear and carrying first aid is vital. Be sure to check the weather forecast and tidal movement before you start fishing, and observe your position for any areas that may create a trap4. It’s also a good idea to never go fishing alone, or to tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.
These tips might change slightly depending on your style of fishing. Those on deep-sea fishing expeditions may have to be more mindful of wind as opposed to sunlight, for example. For most shore fishing, however, it is important to factor the above aspects into your plans, to find the perfect fishing weather. For those who are fishing fiends, keeping an eye on the weather will help you to judge when warm or cold fronts are rolling in, when to expect a storm or rain, and when the wind is picking up. All of these weather patterns can affect your fishing trips–downloading the BOM weather app will also help you to stay on top of weather changes, ideal fishing areas, and help plan your next fishing trip!
- 2020, How Weather Patterns Affect Fishing, Love the Outdoors.
- 2020, How Weather Factors Affect Fishing, Fish Ranger.
- 2020, Best Times to Fish, Take Me Fishing.
- 2020, Staying Safe When Fishing, Victorian Fisheries Authority.