For those that like to go fishing, one question that will come up and a very important one, when and where are the fish biting? Others will want to know, how do you know when the fish are biting, or when is the best time to fish?
Where fish are biting
The best way to find where fish are biting are local fishing reports. Fishing reports provide a wealth of information about what kinds of fish are biting, and where. Fishing reports are essential for angling success. There’s a lot of information, so it’s important to learn how to use them.
Types of Fishing Reports
There are different types of fishing reports, including online fishing reports, saltwater fishing reports, freshwater fishing reports and delta fishing reports.
Online Fishing Reports
Online fishing reports will give you information about what kinds of fish are biting. Every game fish will have an entry in your local fishing reports. If you’re just fishing recreationally and don’t care what you catch — for example, if you’re just taking the kids or grandkids out — then it might not matter so much. But most anglers like to know exactly what’s under the surface. Most fishing reports give a very easy rundown on how easy it is to catch fish in a specific area. They often rate spots as Poor, Fair, Good or Excellent. This takes a lot of the guesswork out.
Some fishing reports will tell you the size of fish that are being pulled up. This figure has some variation from one fishing report to another. Some will note the largest one caught and that’s it. Some will give a range of common sizes that have been reported. There’s a variety of information here, and all of it is dependent on what anglers are reporting.
Saltwater Fishing Reports
Saltwater Fishing Reports are essential for ocean and bay fishing. The most important part of a saltwater fishing report is location. It is a big area out there to fish in. Some spots are better than others. The report will tell you where you need to go. It is a huge time saver. Instead of your having to cruise around looking for fish, these reports will tell you where to go. Just cruise out and drop anchor, and you will be able to find what you need.
There are a lot of fish in the sea, as the saying goes. But what is it you are looking for? If you are casting for grouper, you do not want to be going where people are casting for marlin. Different areas are better for bottom feeders versus fish that swim near the surface. Do not look at the reports for just any kind of fish. Look at them for the type of fish you want.
Freshwater Fishing Reports
You must have heard the rule: “Location, location, location.” This rule doesn’t just apply to real estate; it applies to fishing as well. The most important piece of information to gather from a fishing report is where they’re biting. It’s not as simple as pulling up to a lake and giving it a shot. You might be very disappointed that day. Now, when it comes to freshwater locations, there is not as big of a range as in salt water. Some rivers and lakes are quite large, though, and it can be hard to find just the right spots.
Additionally, there are some river branches and streams that you might not know about. Or, there might be a quiet spot that might be a good place to go that you might not have heard of. Take the advice of seasoned anglers. Freshwater fishing reports will tell you what is in the river and where to find it.
Freshwater reports can also indicate safety issues. If the water suddenly becomes shallow in spots, or if there are faster-moving waters in some places, a report will tell you this. Freshwater is more likely to be affected by heavy rainfall, making slow streams fast. A daily report would tell you about that.
Delta Fishing Reports
You have to be specific when you’re looking. If you’re casting at a river delta, you’re going to need a delta fishing report. As any angler knows, there’s a huge difference from one body of water to another. There could even be a huge difference from upstream to downstream. Deltas have a unique makeup, as they are often where fresh and salt water merge. There is a lot of silt and vegetative material that creates swamps down in the area, and it is a good idea to check a report to know your way around.
Where to find local Fishing Reports
We have found the easiest and most accurate way on this is Google “Fishing Reports” and put area you are in. Takemefishing.org also is helpful, as you can select state and site will pull up some links to go to.
When is best time for fishing?
First, we will look at Winter as many don’t fish in Winter. Bass, muskie and crappie are the more popular choices for winter fishing, and catfish is always a favorite! You may be used to keeping your lure moving and recasting frequently. Remember that the fish are going to be slower, so you may need to leave your bait in the water longer. Saltwater would be Sheepshead, Redfish, Bonefish, Stiped Bass, Snapper, Cobia, and Barracuda.
Yes, you can still fish in the Winter.
Fish aren’t biting. The water is cold and doesn’t heat up because the sun is low, and the rays bounce off the water. Best to wait until a week or so after thaw, as spring turnover takes time for the water temperature to even out to 39.2 degrees.
Late Morning-Early Afternoon
Fish are biting off and on. The water begins to warm up because rays begin to penetrate the water. Remember to fish the downwind shoreline, as the winds will push the warmer surface water along with surface food into that area.
Fish are eating a lot because their metabolism and digestion are cranked. Water is warm because the sun is directly overhead.
Fishing is excellent from before sunup to just before mid-morning. At this time of year there is abundant food and cover for fish, so finding hungry fish can be a challenge.
Late Morning-Early Afternoon
Fishing is poor for most of the day. Fish move to deep water to cool off.
Fishing is excellent from early sundown until dark as the waters cool and fish rise up from the depths.
Fish aren’t biting much from sunup to early morning. The water is cool because the sun is too low to penetrate the water.
Late Morning-Early Afternoon
Fish are biting off and on in warmer, shallow water. The water is generally cool due to the season.
Fishing at this point is excellent. Sun is directly overhead for several hours and the water gets more comfortable near the surface. This makes for seasonally good fishing because fish are putting on weight for the winter.
When to Fish on various Weather Conditions
Wind can play a large role in when to fish and your fishing success. Wind pushes water and surface food to the far shore, with bait fish behind it, and with game fish behind the bait fish. So, if you’re fishing from shore on a windy day, fish where you have to cast into the wind. That way your lure moves with the wind, just like the other food in the lake at the same time. If you’re fishing from a boat, cast with the wind on a sheltered shore.
Storms and changing weather patterns affect fishing success since fish are keenly attuned to changes in barometric conditions. With many fish, feeding increases during the hours immediately before a cold front, but slows during and after a storm or front hits.
Fishing after a cold front is poor and continues to be poor for a day or two. Warm fronts cause surface water temperatures to increase, putting fish into a feeding mode. This can be particularly true in the winter, when a warming trend can cause otherwise sluggish fish to start feeding actively. Most of this feeding activity is on or near the warm surface.
Cloudy days improve fishing since the clouds prevent light penetration. Overcast skies signal when to fish because they cause fish to cruise for food more than they would during bright days when they tend to hide and stay close to structure. On overcast, cloudy days, fish are less likely to be at specific structure spots or areas and more likely to be scattered throughout a waterway.
A light rain is another good time to fish, especially a warm spring or summer rain. Rain can help you hide from the fish since the rain breaks up the view a fish has through the water surface. This is true for shore, wade or boat fishing. Rain also washes insects and fishing bait into the water, creating a feeding binge for fish.
Hard rain conditions are a poor time to fish. A hard rain muddies the water, makes it difficult for fish to find bait or lures and causes heavy runoff, which can clog their gills. The increased water flow in rivers from any rain increases current flow and makes it difficult for fish to maintain a comfortable position in the river. High water levels can also create rapids, waves and unsafe fishing conditions.
Does reading a barometer help you in Fishing?
Every angler knows that tide, water temperature, light level and moon phase can affect our fishing success, but there’s another factor that often goes overlooked. Although barometric pressure can’t be predicted as accurately as the other elements just mentioned, it has a major influence on fish behavior.
According to Dr. Stephen Baig, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Hurricane Center in Miami, barometric pressure is defined as the weight or mass of an entire air column on a unit of surface area at sea level. It is instrumental in weather observations, since its fluctuation indicates the movement of weather fronts and systems. Liquid mercury (Hg) is commonly used in a barometer to measure air-pressure changes in inches (in.).
High Pressure (30.50 +) = Clear Skies = Fishing Medium to Slow = Fish slowly in deeper water or near cover.
Medium Pressure (29.70 – 30.40) = Fair Weather = Normal Fishing = Test lures, baits, and techniques to see what works.
Low Pressure (29.60 -) = Cloudy/Rainy Weather = Fishing Slows = Fish slowly in deeper water or near cover.
Rising Pressure = Improving Weather = Fish Slightly Active = Fish slowly in deeper water or near cover.
Stable Pressure = Fair Weather = Normal Fishing = Best time to test lures, baits, and techniques to see what works.
Falling Pressure = Degrading Weather = Best Fishing = The fish will attack anything you throw at them. (well, pretty much)
So, what is the best barometric pressure for fishing? Answer: When it’s between about 29.90 and 30.90 and the pressure is rapidly falling. This is when you will find the fish most active and feeding.
If you enjoy fishing, use these guides of when to fish and your chances of catching more fish will increase!
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