Best Times to Catch Fish (And Catch Them Quick!)

Fishing anywhere can be difficult and it’s especially hard to know when to fish for the best results. If you don’t time it right, the results could leave you empty-handed and discouraged.

When is the best time to go fishing? During the summer it’s best to go fishing in the earlier hours of the morning, while in fall and spring it’s better to fish around dusk. Winter fishing is more dependent on where you live. In the Southern United States, for instance, the best time during winter is any time between 10 am and 4 pm.

The best time to go fishing is important and it changes a lot depending on various factors. These can include your location, the time of year, and the type of fishing you’ll be performing.

Temperature of The Water

The reason that fishing is done best at the beginning and end of each day is because fish are cold-blooded animals, meaning that they require an outside source to warm their bloodstreams.

The morning and evening sun warms the shallower bits of water first, attracting the fish there. As the day goes on, the fish usually move closer to the bottom of the river where the water is still as warm but is also a little darker.

Because of this, it is easiest to catch fish in the morning. You can catch them at other times too, but following the warming times of the day will give you the best chance of success.

Summer Fishing

Summer has some of the best fishing I’ve ever seen. In the years that I’ve spent fishing, fishing a river during the whole of a warm summer morning has given me the best results. It’s relaxing, even during the lull of the day before night approaches. Evenings spent on the banks of a river can bring in great results as well.

Spring and Fall Fishing

Temperature is really the driving factor for the location of fish during the spring and fall. The water will stay cooler, so it will take a day’s length to reach the equilibrium of good temperature and the correct brightness for the fish. They seem picky because they are!

Winter Fishing

Winter fishing is tough. The ice it brings can lead to very dangerous fishing. The water of rivers and lakes are frigid and can be very harmful to fishermen. The fish, especially largemouth bass, are not particularly fond of the cold temperatures, so fishing can be difficult. The best time to fish during the winter is the warmest part of the day.

Exceptions to the Rules

Different weather conditions and man-made fishing seasons can change a lot. They can change the amount of fish in an area, the number of people nearby, and how comfortable you will be as you fish.

Weather Conditions

Cold fronts come just before a storm and often lead to good fishing conditions. The decrease in pressure can be sensed by the fish, and will often have increased movement as a byproduct.

This increased activity leads to more fish coming up to the top of the water and biting more frequently. The cold front sometimes means that a storm is on its way, so be wary about that. Once rain or snow begins to fall, the fish will start to bite less.

Wind can cause fish to dive deeper, especially during a sunny day. This doesn’t mean that the fish won’t bite, though. All it means is that your lures or bait will have to go deeper to catch a fish.

A light rain, different than the storms following a cold front, are excellent times to go fishing. The light rain will knock insects into the water, which will start a feeding craze that can help you catch fish if you’re smart about it.

The rain will also break the surface of the water. This can help hide you from the fish even as you wade into the water.

Different Fish, Different Times

Different fish are more active during different times of the day, just like humans. There is a wide variety of fish in every season, but most fish stick to a certain season and time of day.


Bass bite pretty much only in dim lights. Early mornings or later evenings are the best times to target them. If the day is cloudy or foggy, bass are likely to bite as well. Their spawning season is spring, which can last through summer as well.


Trout love warm waters, so the warmer months of late spring, summer, and early fall are the best times to try your luck at catching trout. They bite around feeding times, especially when there are a lot of mosquitoes and other bugs are active.


Depending on where you live, the salmon runs can be any time during the year. Hatcheries release their stocks once during the spring, and another time during the fall. They travel downriver until they reach the ocean. Depending on where you go fishing, the salmon runs could reach you at any time.


Sturgeon are bottom-feeding monsters that have a season, but that hasn’t stopped them from getting hooked year round. The sturgeon season starts in September and continues for about two months. Most fishermen say that from 6 pm – 2 am is prime time, but I’ve personally had more luck fishing from 10 am – 4 pm.

Lures and Bait to Match the Seasons

Lures and bait are commonly compared together. They both work better at different tasks and at different times year round. Lures work better during the warm seasons if the water is clear and warm. Most of the fish seen during the summer months are more aggressive, which makes the lures more effective anyway.

The size of the lure also depends on the size of the fish you would like to catch. Smaller fish usually catch better on a lure sizes 2-4. Anything bigger will start to catch bigger fish.

Bait fishing is a little more difficult to do. When people think of fishing, they think of hooking a worm and putting a bobber on the line. Then they throw out the worm and wait until a fish bites. While this is a method of bait fishing.

The purpose of bait is to disguise your hook as something that the fish would potentially find appealing and want to bite on. The smaller the hook, the less chance that the fish will notice it before it bites and gets caught.

Different types of bait for different kinds of fish.

Related Questions

What kind of rod works best for summer fishing? For summer fishing, you’ll want to buy your rod to target the type of fish that you intend to catch. For river and lake fishing, you’ll want a rod that’s around 5′ – 7’6″ feet long so you’ll be able to cast out further. Ocean fishing rods can be anywhere from 6′ – 12′ long.

Are lures better than bait? What’s at the end of your line will depend on what you want to be at the end of your line at the end of the day. Different fish will bite different hooks. A good rule of thumb is that lures are better in clear warmer waters while bait has better performance in cold murkier waters.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Striped Bass.

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