Fishing, Hunting, & Trapping

Best Fishing Times: The Ultimate Fisherman’s Guide

Best Fishing Times

Fishing has been a human pastime since the first humans learned how to use a rod to snag fish for their food supply. Fishing has since then deviated from a lifesaving tool to a sport. If you live near any body of water, it’s extremely likely you will see fisherman after fisherman carving the water up to find the best spot to fish. But, the real question is, have you paid attention to where and when the fishermen choose to drop a line?

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It would behoove the average fisherman to learn from those who have done this as a hobby, for a long time now. The peculiar aspect of modern fishing is that it has to be done during certain times, due to the behavior of fish in a seasonal setting.

Fish in the summer act differently than fish in the spring, and so on and so forth. Despite new advancements in the fishing community, there isn’t a way to circumvent the behavior of fish. The only way to maximize the number of fish being caught is to drop your rod at the appropriate time in the appropriate place. Otherwise, the eight hours spent watching your line sit still will feel like a waste, because the fish aren’t biting.

Fishing in the Spring

The good news is whether it’s summer, fall, or spring, the best fishing times can be found right here. This article when show you how fish act in various seasonal situations, and then it will show you what time of the day to go fishing. Even if you don’t own a fishing boat, as long as you follow directions, fish will be jumping out of the water to get hooked by your line.

See: List of Best Fishing Apps for Your Smartphone

Winter fish behavior

In order to understand how to optimize your time fishing, you must know a little background on the behavior of fish in the offseason, primarily the winter. Fish act differently in the winter than they do in the other seasons, and rightfully so, because all animals must change their behavior to combat the ever freezing cold.

Fishing can be done in the winter, but it is not nearly as successful as the other seasons. Mainly due to the cold, fish bite less in the winter. One of the reasons they do this is because they don’t feed as much as they would normally in the spring, when they are spawning. In fact, fish must save their energy, and eat as little as possible, so as to not die in the cold winter.

Winter Fishing

Although fish are cold-blooded animals, they don’t move around much in the winter, they tend to move slower due to the freezing cold water temperatures. Also due to the cold waters, fish don’t go for the type of bait they used to, but rather they try to bite smaller bait.

Towards the beginning of winter, fish have an ample food supply, but as winter gets farther along, the food becomes scarce. This lack of food is the driving factor behind the slow behavior of fish during the winter months. Most fish have a limited supply of oxygen in the water during winter, which the fish must also conserve, if they hope to survive the winter.

Some fish even dive to the deepest depths of lakes and rivers in order to find warmer waters. In most cases, deeper water means warmer water, counter intuitively, I might add. The way in which water molecules interact is the reason for water being a warmer temperature in deep water.

Ice Fishing

Because of the previous evidence laid out, it is clear that winter is not one the best time to fish. You would be much better off funding your summer ventures during the winter, and avoiding fishing the whole winter. If there is any fisherman unable to wait until the warmer months, be prepared to wait a while, in the cold, for a bite. There is no good time to fish in the winter, and I would advise not wasting time doing it.

Spring fish behavior

Spring is the best time to fish out of the entire year. The biggest reason for the uptake in fishing of the year is due to spawning. As the winter rolls out, and warmer temperatures take its place, fish start to come out. They begin rising to the top of the waters, looking for food, and mates.

When spring hits, it is a full out frenzy for the native, local fish species. Because they haven’t had the correct amount of oxygen or energy running through their bodies, they must fight for resources, so that they can mate in the upcoming weeks. Fish will need warmer water, oxygen, and a ton of food in order to properly spawn and pass on their genes to the next generation.

Gulf coast spring fishing

Since the fish are more actively seeking resources, fishermen everywhere have the ultimate opportunity in front of them. They no longer must wait and wait; the fish are ready to be plucked from the water. They will be looking for larger bait, and more energy, leaving the fishermen to catch what they please, relatively easily I might add. Because spring is the best time to find fish ready to get caught, I encourage all fishermen to get out and fish as much as possible during the spring.

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Patterns between fish and other animals can also show the fisherman where to go in order to catch a ton of fish. Certain flies tend to spawn and hatch near to prime fishing locations. If you see a massive amount of flies near the water, there is a great chance that you will find fish there too. Due to the warmer, but not too warm temperatures, fish can be successfully fished for in almost any part of the day.

Spring Fishing

Night or day, they are usually feeding and trying to actively spawn, leaving many fish prime for the picking. In summary, spring is one of the best times to fish, and almost any fisherman will have success as long as you throw out a line.

Make sure to check out our reviews of the top fishing rods to ensure a hefty catch.

Summer fish behavior

Summer, almost every human’s favorite season! However, fish don’t agree with the humans on this account. In fact, fish do not enjoy summer, because the temperatures get too hot in the sun for most of the day. Fish are in the middle of spawning and finding mates in the warm water, but they will shy away from the top of the water because of the heat.

Fish would rather stay deeper, where the water is cooler, and more bearable. Since these fish do not want to spend much time in the open, hot water, fishermen tend to have a tougher time catching fish. Normally, fish would be going crazy in the water, but in summer, their activity slows, and they hide from the sun. If a fisherman wants to have fishing success in the summer, they must follow specific times for fishing.

Summer Fishing

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There are better times to fish in the summer than in the dead heat of midday. If you are fishing in saltwater, then the best time to go fishing is during high tide. The fish will move into new waters created by the tide. This makes high tide a great fishing time, because fish are forced closer to the surface, but they are also in an area they aren’t as familiar with. Most of you won’t be fishing in saltwater, but rather in fresh water where things are a little different.

You can’t just go out and fish whenever and wherever you want in the summer, during the day. In order to have the best chance of catching fish, you must drop lines when the sun isn’t as hot, and the water isn’t either. The best time to go fishing in the summer is during the morning and evening. Go right before the sun comes up, and stay out there until the water gets too hot, around 10 or 11.

Summer Fishing

Fish are much more likely to be out and about in the morning hours because they are cooler, and carry no direct sunlight yet. On the other hand, evening is just as great of an opportunity for fishermen to catch fish. In the evening and late hours, fish are refreshed again by less heat from the sun and in the water. Once fish can handle the cooler times in the morning or evening, they are more likely to be caught because they are more active. Active fish lead to more bites on the line. More bites on the line means better fishing for all those parties involved.

Another prime way to figure out a launch time for a fishing expedition is to go by the lunar calendar. Full moons are some of the most prime time to catch fish. Full moons, combined with the affect the moon has on tides, creates a fishing frenzy for any fisherman to take advantage of. In summary, the best times to fish during the summer are in the early morning and late evening hours, when the sun isn’t as hot as it usually is. Also, pay attention to the lunar calendar, because full moons tend to create better fishing conditions than during any other phase of the cycle.

Fall fishing behavior

Now that winter, spring, summer, and fall have been covered, it is time to move on to the fall months. While some claim that the best time to fish is during the spring, an equally large number of people argue that fall is the best time to fish. In the fall, most of the temperatures are fairly mild, and don’t interfere with the daily activities of most fish.

Since the mild temperatures don’t affect fish, it allows fishermen to take advantage of fishing anytime during the day. Whether it is morning, noon, or night, fish will be much more willing to bite when the heat isn’t as bad. As the fall rolls around, fish are eating and spawning. They are preparing their future generations for the harsh conditions winter has to show. Since fish are busy mating, they seem to be caught more, simply because they move to more places than they would in the summer or winter.

Fall Fishing

Perhaps the greatest reason why fishing is so good during the fall stems from fish having to prepare themselves for the lone winter. As previously stated, fish do not get much time in the winter to eat or move, but instead, they must forage for as much food as possible before the winter. If the fish are properly fed, then they will be able to survive the winter months with a greater probability. Since the fish are trying harder and harder to energize themselves, they are more likely to bite a line, because they need food so desperately.

As long as you have a rod, line, and a lot of patience, you will catch as many fish as you want. In summary, fall is one of the best times to fish out of the entire year. Mostly due to the fish’s necessity, they must be more active than most other months out of the year, leaving a greater opportunity for the fish to be caught.

Fishermen are some of the most patient and flexible people out on the water. They must always wait and wait to get their share of adrenaline. No matter what the conditions or temperature, it is easy to find fishermen in the water. Just to make it clear, the worst month to try to fish is winter, while spring, summer, and fall are the golden seasons.

Fishing during the spring can be done at almost any time. Fall is pretty much the same way, but summer is where planning comes in handy. If you wish to fish during the summer, make sure to check the temperatures. Too hot, and you will have to change plans to fishing during the morning or evening. If you can’t seem to catch any fish no matter what time of day you try, then look to the lunar calendar. If there happens to be a full moon, make sure to get out during it.


Fish are exponentially more likely to be out during the full moon, due to the affect the moon has on the tides. For those who would rather spend their time in the saltwater of oceans, the tides are the key to cracking the fishing industry. Low tides are not productive times to fish, however high tide is the best time to go fishing in saltwater. The high tide allows fish to come up into previously unknown waters, and thus, get picked off easily by fishermen waiting.

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Fishing has been practiced by every single culture that lives near any body of water. Whether it is done by net, rod and reel, or spear, civilizations have been able to feed the hungry masses through fishing. Some cultures live and die by the fish, like the Native Americans. They have relied on the annual salmon run to supply their people with food, while boosting their own economy. Although fishing isn’t as important in today’s world than in the previous, fishing is still one of the most popular sports.

Fish calendar

In order to become a great fisherman, or even a decent one, you must pay attention to the weather each day. Too hot or too cold, and the fish won’t bite. Along with the temperatures, the types of animals around water also can make a difference in productive fishing expeditions.

Certain flies like to stick around fishing spots, while other animals vacant fishing spots. Perhaps the best way to go about fishing is to make extra use of the morning and evening fishing times. There is one thing for sure, fishing takes time, and if you can’t sit still, fishing isn’t the right hobby for you.

Are you a beginner? Don’t fret – see our guide and tips on how to fish for more information.

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About the author

Andrew McKay

Andrew McKay is a seasoned hunter and fisherman from Anchorage, Alaska. Andrew thinks that he is the luckiest person in the world, as he lives in the most gorgeous place in United States and does what he loves to do. As a member of Alaska Professional Hunters Association and International Hunter Education Association, he is always looking for the ways to improve his skills and to teach people around him.


  • I think the best times for fishing is before a storm and when the climate is hot. Catfish are without a doubt more accessible around evening time from my experience like at whatever time past midnight or at sunset.

  • We catch a lot of catfish during the dusk. Lots of fisherman wake up and go to the lake extremely late because of that.
    Make sure to learn about the type of fish and gof fishing during its feed time. Try to attract it with bait that is similar to its favorite food.

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