An anglers guide: when is the best time to fish

When is the best time to fish? Goodness gracious now that’s a question an angler could mow over for a few lifetimes. I could go on for days answering that question Bubba Gump style… early in the morning, when it’s hot out, days that end in Y, during a rainstorm, when it’s a little cloudy, when a cold front is moving in, during a snow storm, during any moon phase, it could go on forever. I’m convinced the only logical answer to “When is the best time to fish?” would be every chance you get. Now, if the question was “when is the best time to catch fish?” that is a different story.

The easy answer here would be to summarize general info and publish it like it was a fishing principle. An answer that as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow will be the same, but it wouldn’t be true. For example, the best time to catch fish is early in the morning or when it rains. Clearly whoever spreads that sentiment has never tried catching bass a few weeks after ice off, or trout fished in a blown out river. Yes, there are times when fishing early in the am is fantastic but there’s logic as to why, and it isn’t always true. Same applies for fishing during a rainstorm.

Before we dig deeper and try to reveal the best time to catch fish, we need to address the fact that most gamefish species are opportunistic feeders. There might be widespread feeding windows you can key in on determined by a few factors, but an easy meal is an easy meal. Another way to view this would be to think of how we like to eat. Sure, you might have your scheduled meals, but if someone was to dangle a juicy cheeseburger in front of your face between those meals chances are you’d scarf that thing down in a heartbeat, at least I know I would. In writing this blog I want to make it abundantly clear that as anglers I believe we always have a shot regardless of what the moon or barometric pressure is doing.

Saying all that I do believe we can with some level of accuracy predict time windows when the bite should be better. Seasons, water temp, barometric pressure, and moon phases all come into play when predicting which days and time of day the bit should be optimal, but I’d much rather rely on my own data than get generalized information from an app.

Fishing logs are solid gold. If you haven’t been logging data from all your fishing trips the time to start is now. Looking back at the data you decide to collect will help you develop patterns that’re specific to your target species and the bodies of water you fish. What a time to be alive too as there’s no shortage of cool apps that’ll help you log all the information you need without spending a lot of time with a pen and notebook like I used to.

I know by the title of this blog you might be disappointed it didn’t read “today the best time to fish is 10:25am to 12:22pm” with 5 little fishy emojis indicating it’s a great day to wet a line. I’d much rather go over one by one the factors that can help us predict bite windows for certain species and help you find the best times to catch fish, for you. More info on that soon, but for now I want to leave you with a quote that better summarizes the initial question we all hear so often.

When is the best time to fish?

“The two best times to fish is when it’s raining and when it ain’t” – Patrick McManus

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