What Is the Best Time Of Day To Go Fishing?


When you’re just starting with fishing, whether it’s for a hobby or sport, one of the first things that you need to learn is to identify the best time of the day for fishing. Although fish is available underwater for most of the day (it is their home after all), there are certain times of the day when they are easier to catch. You wouldn’t want to be out in the water when they’re hiding under rocks or logs, would you? You want to be there at the time when the fish is out of hiding and actively feeding. If you don’t know how to identify the best fishing times, your fishing trip will most certainly turn out to be rather disappointing.

Although there are no hard-and-fast rules about the best time of the day for fishing, there are some guidelines that can help to increase your chances of bagging that fish you’re after.

Best Time of Day for Fishing

There are many factors in play concerning the best time of the day for fishing like the behavior of the fish you’re targeting, water temperature, and so on. Here are some guidelines to help you decide at which particular time of day you should take your fishing gear and head out to the water.

Early Morning

Many anglers like fishing during the early part of the morning to avoid the scorching heat of the sun at midday. But is this the best time of the day to go fishing? Yes and no and it is not because there are fewer anglers to contend with and fewer swimmers that disturb the water (although those are acceptable reasons, too.)

During late spring and summer, the morning sun warms the shallow parts of the water and creates a water temperature that is more comfortable for fish to move and jump around as they feed. Just like the anglers who are trying to catch them, fish also want to avoid the intensive heat of the sun at midday.

One thing you’ll notice is that many insects are quite active during this time of the day, hovering and buzzing over the water’s surface. This makes it a good time to catch some trout, bluegill, and other fish whose diet is composed mainly of flying insects. The warm water temperature also makes bait fish more active, which means that there is a high chance that there’s a bigger fish nearby just waiting for the right time to pounce on its meal. Besides, the low light levels during early mornings are excellent feeding times for fish species that see well in low light conditions like bass and catfish.

However, you’ll want to avoid fishing in the early morning during the colder months of the year like late fall to early spring. Aside from getting a severe case of cold (your fishing jacket can only do so much in keeping you warm and free from a runny nose), most fish will be inactive during this time. This is because the water and air temperatures will typically be at their lowest in the early morning, so most fish remain relatively inactive and prefer to wait for the sun’s rays to warm the water a bit.

Late Morning to Early Afternoon

Late morning, midday, and early afternoon may not be the best time to go fishing, so you’ll want to look for something else to do (a nice lunch and a nap, perhaps?).

During these times of the day, the sun will be at its strongest which means that water temperatures can rise dramatically. When that happens, most fish tend to swim towards the deeper and cooler parts of the water. This is especially true during the warmer parts of the year. Most fish will also lay low from hunting since their prey’s vision will be working pretty well considering the abundant stream of light, thus making hunting difficult.

If you’re dead set on catching a fish during these times though, you should consider using deep fishing baits, lures, and rigs. Some anglers claim to have had success with this method.

On the other hand, late morning to early afternoon may still result in a productive fishing trip during rainy or overcast days. Wind, clouds, and rain all reduce the amount of sunlight that’s able to penetrate the water’s surface, and they’ll usually reduce the temperatures a bit, too.   If you are fishing in the colder months of the year, this is your best and possibly the only time of the day that you’ll have a reasonable chance of success since the water is bound to be its warmest during this time making it a good time for the fish to come out and feed.

Late Afternoon

Like early mornings, late afternoons can also be a good time to go fishing. This is because as the sun sets, the water will begin to cool off thereby making the water temperature more conducive for the fish to feed. Also, the dimmer lighting is a sign for most predator fish like bass that it’s time to go hunting. Remember though that this only applies to the warmer months of the year. During late fall and winter, the water temperature is bound to drop during late afternoons which will make fishing much more difficult, if not impossible.


During the warmer months, fishing at nighttime or just after sundown may turn out to be quite productive so you may not want to stow away your fishing rods and gears just yet. However, there are several things that you’ll need to consider.

For one, you’ll have to keep an eye out for the moon. Many fish often feed aggressively during the night and they tend to swim nearer to the surface when the moon is at its brightest since this gives them a bit of light which helps them in hunting for their prey. Moon-Lit nights often offer excellent topwater fishing action since your lure or bait will be very visible to the fish from below. Also, take note of the temperature. Even during warm months, some nights are just colder than others. During these nights when temperatures are low, you can expect your fishing progress to slow down.

All that said, determining which is the best time of the day to go fishing can be quite tricky. You’ll have to consider the time and season of the year since these affect the fish’s behavior and feeding patterns. You also need to consider the water temperature, the amount of light that enters the water, and so on. As mentioned earlier, there are no hard-and-fast rules concerning the best time of the day to go fishing, but hopefully, the guide above has helped you to some degree.

Additional Factors to Consider


Aside from the time of day, there are several other things that you need to consider when deciding when to pack your fishing gear and head to the waters.


Wind strength and pattern can also affect how successful your fishing trip can be. During days when the wind is blowing quite strongly, you will notice that the wind pushes the water surface towards the shore, which then carries various fish foods along with it. During such times, the baitfish is sure to follow, and consequently, the big game fish behind it. Thus, should you choose to fish during such days, you may want to consider casting into the wind so that your lure moves with the wind and with surface food and consequently, with the fish. You should also think about fishing from the shore instead of in a boat.


It is a fact that the tides affect the activities and behavior of fish. When the tide rises and falls, it allows fish to move to shallow areas to look for food, taking advantage of the new shallow areas for new food sources. That said, observe the way the tides are moving to pick the right spots for fishing.

Cloudy Days

Cloudy days can be great fishing times since the clouds block off the sun and keep its rays from directly penetrating the water. When this happens, it cools off the water, so much so that fish comfortably cruise through the waters more vigorously in search of food. As mentioned earlier, fish tend to be more active on a cloudy day more than they would be on a bright day when they like to hide and stay close to shades. With just a little effort at such times, you can carry home a big catch.

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To determine the best time of day for fishing, you’ll need to take into consideration the factors mentioned above since they will surely affect the fish behavior and feeding pattern. Knowing the best times to go fishing can be really helpful, but that doesn’t mean that you should stick to them all the time. Many anglers can bag a prize fish even when they’re out fishing at the ‘wrong’ times.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!