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The Best Time to Go Fishing: A Complete Guide

There are so many factors to catching fish. One of the biggest questions is when is the best time to fish?  

family fishing at sunset

If you’re new to fishing, you may not known what time during the day is best for catching fish.  There isn’t one straight answer, but we help break it down in this article.

When is the Best Time of Day to Go Fishing?

You often hear stories of how early people get up to go fishing. That’s because the best time of day to go fishing is generally in the early morning or in the evening around dusk.  Different times of year and where you like to fish also determine when the best time to fish is.

fishing at sunrise

In the summer, the best time remains dawn and dusk. In the spring and fall, it is better to fish at dusk rather than the morning. Winter is not really a prime time for fishing unless you enjoy ice fishing. In the south, the time of year does not matter so it is best to keep an eye on daily fishing forecasts.

The sun has a big effect on the water temperature throughout the day.  Early and late the water is cooler as the sun is rising and sets.  Mid-day and at it’s peak, the sun heats the water and some fish retreat to the depths or shadows.

Daily Fishing Forecast

Although there are general times that it is best to go fishing, you should always check the weather before going out. Keeping an eye on the weather a couple days before hand is good, but checking the morning of the day you plan to go is generally more reliable.

There are plenty of resources that you can use to help figure out when the weather will be ideal for your next fishing trip.

Fishing Calendars

Fishing calendars are prediction calendars that show you the best fishing times for any location. When you keep the best fishing times in mind and combine that knowledge with the fishing calendars’ predictions, you will be able to increase your chance of a catch.

person fishing with a baitcasting rod and reel

Since there are many important factors in actually being able to catch fish, there are multiple types of calendars for people to choose from. Check out these calendars before your next fishing trip and see which ones help the most.

Lunar Fishing Calendar

Lunar calendars are a type of astro table that fishers use to judge when fishing will be best. Lunar periods are best when they overlap with solar periods. These lunar calendars use symbols to help indicate which times are overlapping.

Fishing rod wheel closeup, man fishing with a beautiful sunrise behind him

Lunar fishing calendars also have the days listed and given values to help you determine quickly which days are best. The values given are clearly marked by saying the day is poor, fair, good, or excellent.

The most popular lunar fishing app is Lunar Hunt and Fish.

Solunar Fishing Calendar

The solunar calendar goes hand and hand with the lunar calendar. The sun and moon phase calendar is another astro table, but it has a lot more details on it than the lunar calendar. It marks on each day when the sun will rise and set. It also tells you the total day length to expect that day.

family sunset river fishing in yavapai county az

A solunar calendar also includes when the moon will rise and set, and even which phase the moon will be in.

It also lists the major hunting and fishing times and the minor hunting and fishing times. It ends the description of the day by giving it a rating of either average, good, better, or best.

Some useful apps if you choose to track this calendar might be Fishing Calendar Solunar, Solunar Best Fishing Times, and Fishing & Hunting Solunar.

moon phases

Farmers Almanac

The Farmers Almanac is a fishing calendar that stands on its own. It also appears to be the simplest of theses three calendars listed.

beautiful sunset fishing in denali borough ak

It lists every day and states what time of day would be best to go fishing. It then also tells you whether that time to fish will be poor, fair, good, or best.

They also explain what their ratings for the day mean and why they were rated like that. Poor means that the fish will steal all your bait or just ignore your line completely. Fair means that you can catch some fish, but you will have to work very hard for those few fish.

Good means that you will catch a decent amount of fish with an average amount of work. Best means that you will catch a fish basically every time you cast your line.

Best Time to Catch Fish

You now know the best times to go fishing, and some helpful resources to use. These fishing calendars apply to the total population of fish.

Fishing At Night

If you want to increase your chances of catching a certain type there are some more specific things you need to look into.

Fishing at Dawn

Fish tend to be easier to catch if they feel like they are not easily seen. This makes early morning one of the best times to fish.

Woman Fishing Lake Tahoe During Sunset

When first light starts to hit the water, but before its too bright.

Fishing at Dusk

fishing at dusk

I have my best fishing action in the evening before the sun sets.  Fishing at dusk tends to be feeding time for most species of fish around the world. 

Whether it is bass or sharks, fish are more actively on the hunt when the sun casts shadows on the water and the predators are more difficult to see.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned the basics about the best time to go fishing, you can take that knowledge out on the water! Now you just need to know how to find the right fishing rod to get the job done!

For more focused information, research the best time to fish by the specific fish you want to catch, location, and season, and be sure to check the weather and those fishing calendars.

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