Well, the best time to fish is when they are biting – right? Much has been written about the criteria to consider when planning your fishing adventure. Let’s review some here and get some tips about finding more on your own.

Generally speaking, the best times of day to catch fish are in the reduced daylight hours. Specifically, from dawn until 2 hours after sunrise and from 2 hours before sunset until dusk are the key times. This is because light is reduced and natural prey become more active.

These times will vary somewhat throughout the seasons because the changing seasons affect water temperatures and spawning cycles.

In early spring, fish are emerging from the deeper holes where they spent the winter in the warmest water they could find. Shallow water will warm up more quickly and promote weed growth and plankton.

As springs turns into summer and the water becomes warmer, the dissolved oxygen decreases and fish will move to deeper water further from shore. The more intense sunlight of summer is uncomfortable for fish because they lack eyelids and the glare makes it difficult for them to see. Many fish will therefore stay very close to the shade where the water is also cooler. This same seasonal shift applies as the hot summer season transitions to the cooler temperatures of autumn.

Weather events can dramatically shift the times of day when fish are actively feeding. Because a weather event usually represents a change in the overall water temperature the best fishing is right before and during the weather event rather than a specific time.

Moon phases can affect the best fishing times primarily because of the amount of moonlight during the nighttime hours.  Many fish will be feeding all night long during the full moon so they won’t be hungry by dawn. As a general rule during a full moon, nights are better for fishing than early morning. However, since it is the light that is the real factor, cloud cover will cancel this advantage.

Now, more than ever, it is easy to access a wide range of resources to help pinpoint the best fishing days and times for fishing locally. There are news outlets for weather information and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ( offers much information that is useful.  Consult one or more to make your fishing adventure more successful.

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