best time to fish

Are you planning for a fishing trip? Know that no matter how experienced an angler you are, you will get very few bites if you didn’t know the best time to fish! So, here is BookOnBoard’s rundown to the best fishing times. And we threw in a month-wise fishing calendar for 2021 to boot!

BookOnBoard’s Guide to the Best Time to Fish

Now, you can ask any experienced angler, and they will inform you that going fishing at the right time and tide are crucial for success. Today you have lots of equipment, but not so long ago people depended on nature itself to open her bounty. And intelligent people still do.

So, if you want to go fishing the next day, you have to know the best fishing times tomorrow – so that you can take advantage of the best time and tide to fish. Yes, both of those are important. Having a successful fishing trip depends completely on not only when you have gone fishing, but also, at what tide.

Taking Time into Account

First, let us see when is the best fishing time – day or season wise.

Best season to go fishing

As we all know, fish are cold-blooded creatures. So, their activity changes a lot depending upon the water temperature, which directly depends upon the season. Too many hot days can make fish sluggish, forcing them below to sit quietly in the cooler regions of the water body.

Furthermore, if temperatures are too high or too low, that tempers with the oxygen level in the water. A water body with low-oxygen water is quite unhealthy for fish, and they feel that. It makes them very unenthusiastic about being active and taking bait.

And then comes the more powerful seasonal weather conditions, like storms. Fish have very sensitive sensors in them, like sonars. They can also feel micro-electricity in water (sharks are the best example for this). Which makes them very susceptible to storms and such intense weather phenomena.

Best Fishing Times in Different Seasons

Early MorningNoon & AfternoonLate Afternoon
Spring6:00 AM to 9:00 AM9:00 AM to 1:00 pm1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Summer4:30 AM – 9:00 AM9:00 AM to 5:00 PM5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
FallDaybreak to 9:00AM9:00 AM to 12:00 PM12:00 PM to 6:00 PM

<IG1: three seasons best time to fish as time of day pics>

The beginning of spring, just as the cold is withdrawing, is one of the best seasons to go fishing. However, as we said above, water too cold is not good for fishing – so, you will want to wait till late afternoon so the water can warm up.

And finish quickly before the chill of the early spring night creeps in – unhealthy for both you and the fish. The daily fishing time window is small at this season, but bounty can be plentiful. Better stay along the shorelines since there’s most activity in this season.

The water gets too hot and life slows down in the hot days of summer – so try your luck in the early mornings and late afternoons. Make sure you have lots of bait and lure, since fish are the hungriest in the hot seasons. You have two windows of best fishing time every day in summer – in early morning and in late afternoon.

Autumn and Fall
The days get shorter and the water gets cooler, so, the later in the year you’re planning to go on a fishing trip, the hotter the time of day you should choose for the best fishing luck. Fall consistently remains the very best time to fish in the year – however, the results can be quite inconsistent.

The reason for this is that fish at this time are stocking up for winter, and they will just about eat anything. So, your carefully laid out plans for using the perfect bait for the perfect fish will probably go haywire. You will get a lot – but you can’t be sure what you get.

Before a storm, fish get very agitated, and actively hunt or graze for food. So, right before a storm is one of the best times to fish in any season. However, right after the storm they disappear in the murky depths, vacating the blank water above. As long as it’s cloudy and smelling like a storm is coming, it’s a good time to fish.

But we must not forget about safety! Most water bodies, especially large ones become complete hell during storms. Many over-enthusiastic daring-do people have lost their lives this way. So, don’t try fishing before a storm unless you are 100% guaranteed to make it back.

A rainy day is generally a fishing day, especially in a warm season. The constant ripples and hits of droplets makes the water disturbed in a uniform nature, and this makes fish very playful. What’s more, the rain blurs the water surface, making it very hard for the fish to see you. This makes the rainy days the best times to fish.

However, heavy rains are never a good time to fish. First of all, it isn’t a good time to be on water to begin with, at all. Then there’s the strong currents and very disturbed water, which makes it very hard for the fish to relax, which in turn drives them deeper where there’s less disturbance. Also, the murkier water makes it hard for the fish to see the bait.

Best time of day to go fishing

As we have said before, fish change their behaviour a lot depending on the amount of heat and light in the weather – just like we do. They don’t like it when it’s too cold or too hot – and they don’t like much light either. In the wilds, more light generally means more heat.

Therefore, the best time of day for fishing is in the early morning or in the late afternoon. You can even try your luck on moonlit nights in warm seasons. These are the most active times in the insect community as well – which, favourably for you, draws fish closer to the surface and to the shores.

However, if you’re into deep fishing with long lines or nets falling very deep, the high noon would be the best time to fish for you. Because if you’re equipped to reach deep, you can quite literally catch them sleeping.

<IG2: cloudy day vs sunny day>

Cloudy Days
Fish don’t like much sunlight – and so, cloudy days are great for fishing, especially if it’s drizzling a bit too! The water temperature will be lower than normal at that time, but not too low for activity. Fish will swim up on cloudy days and play around.

Taking Tides into Account
It’s okay when you’re fishing in a smaller, enclosed body of water, but when you’re fishing at sea or similar open areas, you have to take the tides into account as well. Why? Because of a very simple reason – movement in water affects fish activity, just as much heat does. It catalyzes them into doing certain things – which may be different from species to species. So, your best fishing time will depend highly upon the tide.

<IG3: high tide vs low tide>

High tide or incoming tide
Fish will normally move into an estuary during a high tide. The reason for this is because the water that enters the mouth of a river is often rich in oxygen and nutrients, will have a low temperature, and be more cleaner than the water that is generally coming out of the estuary. All of that makes this ‘new water’ very attractive for fish, and they move in.

High tides are and have always been the best times to fish – especially at the beginning of the tide when you get the cleanest water. This is the time when saltwater fish feed more actively and rise to the surface. As the tide rises above the saltwater flats, schools of fish swarm the area in search of food.

Low tide or outgoing tide
The low tides are generally not encouraged for fishing. However, fishermen take advantage of the outgoing waterflow in the low tides. The water carries the bait (bait fish or small crustaceans) out into the main body, and big fish rush in for the bounty. Game fish even wait at the mouth of estuaries for this feeding frenzy.

Try inshore structural areas during low tide like dock pilings or piers or such. Predatory fish will often lurk in the shallow waters among the structures for hunting – so you go ahead and hunt them in turn.

It is best to check a fishing tide chart to plan before you go fishing, to figure out the best time to fish. Do your math right, remember that fish move in the direction of the tide, pick a good spot in the shallows, and you will come back with loads of impressive catch!

Whether you choose high tide or low tide, remember that it’s the changing in the water that’s the best time to fish, not the intermittent stable times. If you do choose low tides, though not recommended, you should go deeper into the sea and choose a deep spot for deepwater fishing.

Fish Finders and Water Temperature Gauges

<IG4: fish finder and temp gauge>

As we have stated before, fish are very sensitive to heat in the water. Their movements and activity depend directly on the water temperature. And so, it is important that you know the right temperature ranges for fishing.

Fish temperatures
Different kinds of fish are active at different water temperatures. Knowing the right water temperature is the key to the puzzle of catching the particular prize you are after. The following chart depicts the commonly known water temperatures (in °F) when particular species of fish are active the most.
●Largemouth Bass: 65 to 75
●Smallmouth Bass: 65 to 70
●Rock Bass: 70 to 74
●White Bass: 65 to 70
●White Crappie: 71 to 75
●Black Crappie: 71 to 75
●Walleye: 64 to 70
●Yellow Perch: 68 to 72
●Bluegills: 68 to 72
●Channel Catfish: 82 to 88
●Flathead Catfish: 84 to 88
●Brown Trout: 56 to 66
●Rainbow Trout: 62 to 64
●Steelhead Trout: 55 to 60
●Lake Trout: 50 to 55
●Chinook Salmon: 55 to 58
●Coho Salmon: 55 to 58

Fish Finders
Fish finders are ingenious devices that use sonar technology to find out where the most concentration of fish are. You can see the pictorial representation of the sonar imaging of the water you are above, and from it, decide where best to cast your line.

Fish Finder devices use a transducer to send out a sonar signal under the water. When this signal reaches an object, such as the floor or a fish, the sonar wave estimates the size of that object and the depth. The wave bounces back off the object or fish, and is captured by a sensor, and it creates the sonar image.

February 2021 Fishing Calendar

DateDayBest Fishing Times & Day Rating
(Time in bold should be best for fishing)
1Monday2:14 AM-4:14 AM
2:39 PM-4:39 Pm
2Tuesday3:03 AM-5:03 AM
3:28 PM-5:28 PM
3Wednesday3:52 AM-5:52 AM
4:18 PM-6:18 PM
4Thursday4:43 AM-6:43 AM
5:09 PM-7:09 PM
Average +
5Friday5:36 AM-7:36 AM
6:04 PM-8:04 PM
6Saturday6:32 AM-8:32 AM
7:01 PM-9:01 PM
Average +
7Sunday7:31 AM-9:31 AM
8:00 PM-10:00 PM
8Monday8:30 AM-10:30 AM
9:00 PM-11:00 PM
9Tuseday9:29 AM-11:29 AM
9:57 PM-11:57 PM
10Wednesday10:25 AM-12:25 PM
10:51 PM-12:51 AM
11Thursday11:17 AM-1:17 PMBest
12Friday12:06 PM-2:06 PMBetter ++
13Saturday12:29 AM-2:29 AM
12:51 PM-2:51 PM
14Sunday1:12 AM-3:12 AM
1:34 PM-3:34 PM
15Monday1:55 AM-3:55 AM
2:15 PM-4:15 PM
16Tuseday2:36 AM-4:36 AM
2:56 PM-4:56 PM
17Wednesday3:17 AM-5:17 AM
3:38 PM-5:38 PM
18Thursday3:59 AM-5:59 AM
4:21 PM-6:21 PM
19Friday4:43 AM-6:43 AM
5:06 PM-7:06 PM
20Saturday5:30 AM-7:30 AM
5:54 PM-7:54 PM
21Sunday6:19 AM-8:19 AM
6:45 PM-8:45 PM
Average +
22Monday7:11 AM-9:11 AM
7:38 PM-9:38 PM
23Tuseday8:05 AM-10:05 AM
8:32 PM-10:32 PM
24Wednesday9:00 AM-11:00 AM
9:27 PM-11:27 PM
25Thursday9:55 AM-11:55 AM
10:21 PM-12:21 AM
26Friday10:48 AM-12:48 PMBest
27Saturday6:28 AM-7:28 AM
5:58 PM-6:58 PM
28Sunday12:06 AM-2:06 AM
12:31 PM-2:31 PM

Best Fishing Days in 2021

And now, here is what you were waiting for! Here is a calendar of the best fishing days throughout 2021.

Fishing Calendar 2021


FAQs About the Best Time to Fish

1. Can I go fishing in summer?
Yes, but it isn’t recommended. Fish are sleepy then. You can still try your luck in the early mornings and late afternoons.

2. When is the best time to go fishing in the spring?
Early spring mornings and late afternoons are very busy times in both bug and fish life, so that will be the best time to go fishing for bass, etc.

3. Should I go fishing in autumn or fall?
The best crappie fishing times are nearby autumn and fall, but not for much else, and your results may be unpredictable.

4. How does a fish finder work?
A fish finder is a sonar device. It pings the underwater region and records the reflection. Then it shows you a sonar image (color or b/w) of the water area underneath you. It reflects underwater objects and fish. You can image different areas to see where the fish are running best.

5. Do I need a water temperature gauge?
If you want the most successful fishing expedition, you should. It will tell you instantly if certain fish would be active at that time or not.

6. What’s the advantage of fishing in the high tide?
The high tide brings swarms of fish into the shallow waters, ready for picking.

7. Can I go fishing in the low tide?
Yes, but in the deeper parts of the ocean.

8. Where are the best spots for fishing?
Fish love the following areas:
●Sporadic grass and potholes
Look for birds and baitfish packed in the water.

9. When are the best times for fishing this February?
●Thursday 4th, 5:09 PM-7:09 PM
●Saturday 6th, 6:32 AM-8:32 AM
●Sunday 21st, 6:19 AM-8:19 AM
●Saturday 27th, 6:28 AM-7:28 AM and 5:58 PM-6:58 PM
The last one is the season best forecast for fishing.

10. When should I plan for a fishing trip next summer?
●April: 11th to 26th
●May: 11th to 26th
●June: 10th to 24th
These days are some of the best days for fishing in 2021.

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