Weather Conditions and Trout Fishing 101
Before your next trout fishing outing, be sure to take a look at the weather conditions and see what’s expected. Many fishermen will get excited when they see what looks like pleasant weather for being outside. Fairly warm temperatures, a little bit of sunshine, no rain, and the list could go on. If you want to catch more trout let’s learn a little bit more about how the weather conditions will affect trout, how they feed, and how that translates to your success.
Let’s get right to it. Those bright sunny days are not the good ones for trout fishing, at least most of the time. Cloudy with light rain is the absolute best weather conditions you can ask for when heading to the stream. When the weather looks as if you might get wet, that’s not a bad thing. The best days I have trout fishing every spring are on days just like this. I can remember back to a handful of days in recent years where myself and group have just absolutely slammed trout with rain coming down and had the creek to ourselves. Too much heavy rain could end up in creeks being blown out in the preceding days, but if the water is in good shape the day you want to fish and you have cloud cover with some light rain, you could be in for a treat.
You might be thinking to yourself cloudy and rainy days are very common in the spring. The answer might be yes, but the amount of days that are fishable in these conditions might be few and far between depending on the year. Yes, we have had tons of rain this spring, but that has given us blown out creeks all too often. That high and muddy water has taken away so many of our days to fish just to begin with. Of the days where the water has been in good shape, if we have clouds and rain it has usually meant thunderstorms along with them. Obviously, out fishing on the stream is no place to be in a thunderstorm. I f you think about how many days the water has been in good shape, with cloudy and rainy weather but with no thunderstorms, it might not be quite as many days as you had anticipated.
Let’s take a look at why these different weather conditions can affect the trout fishing so drastically. The reasons that a bright and sunny day are tough are fairly obvious. In sunny conditions trout can see us much easier as well as our fishing line, tippet, leader, or fly line. The sun also exposes them to predators from above. All those things considered, trout are usually much more spooky and less likely to feed as heavily on days like this. On the other hand, cloudy days make fish feel safer. They aren’t as worried about other predators and they are much more likely to feed well. They won’t be able to see your line, tippet, or leader nearly as easily either, making them much easier to fool. Another interesting thing to think about is that many fishermen believe fish can detect a drop in barometric pressure which is usually associated with bad weather on the way. This makes trout want to feed heavily now before the creek gets blown out after a few days of raining in a row. All these things combined can make for spectacular days of trout fishing in these weather conditions.
When fishing on the sunny days, the best times to catch trout are going to be the first hours of the morning and the last hours of the evening. During ideal cloudy and rainy days, I have many times experienced all day feeding from trout. There have been days I can remember, when fly fishing, that trout have fed literally all day long on the surface eating mayflies. These concepts are usually true, but not there can always be outliers. It doesn’t mean you can’t have great days catching fish all day long in the sun, and it doesn’t mean you’ll always have a great day when its cloudy and raining. I have experienced both scenarios. But in general, this is the way it seems to go for the majority of the time. If creeks are in good shape, keep an eye on the weather forecast to look for these conditions. When the opportunity comes, grab a raincoat, your fishing rod, and get out there for some fun!