Do Fish Bite in the Rain? Strategies for Success

When the skies open up and it starts to pour, most anglers head for cover. Many anglers assume that rainy weather hurts fishing success and often raise the question: Do fish bite in the rain?

However, fishing in the rain can actually lead to some of the best catches of the year if you understand how rainfall affects fish behavior.

Do Fish Bite in the Rain?

Do Fish Bite More or Less in the Rain?

Yes, Fish bite more in the rain.

Common wisdom says that fishing is poor when it’s raining. The typical belief is that fish become inactive and stop feeding when the rain starts.

However, scientific research and experienced anglers alike have found that’s simply not true.

In reality, fish often become more active and feed aggressively when it rains. The rain triggers certain conditions and changes that spur fish into a feeding frenzy.

By learning to take advantage of these patterns, you can discover amazing fishing success even on the rainiest days.

Why Fish Become More Active When It Rains

There are several factors at play that cause fish to bite more when it rains.

Here are some of the main reasons rain gets fish biting:

Increased Food Supply After Rainfall

A rainstorm washes bugs, worms, and other potential fish food sources into the water from the shoreline and surface. This increased food supply triggers feeding activity as fish gorge on easy meals. The more rain, the more food gets swept into the water.

Fish Take Advantage of Murky Water

Rain churns up sediment and makes the water murky and cloudy. All that suspended particulate matter means less visibility underwater. Fish use this to their advantage, feeling more comfortable moving and ambushing prey in low visibility conditions.

Cooler Water Temperatures After Rain

Rainfall drops the temperature at the surface of the water. As deeper, cooler water mixes with the warmer surface layer, it lowers the overall water temperature. Cooler water holds more oxygen, stimulating fish to feed more aggressively.

How Barometric Pressure Changes Affect Fish

Dropping barometric pressure signals a coming rainstorm. Fish sense the pressure change through their air bladders. This triggers an instinct to feed heavily before seeking shelter when the storm arrives.

Timing Your Fishing After Rainfall for Best Results

fishing in rainy day

To maximize your catches, it’s important to pay attention when you head out after rain. The timing depends on several factors:

How Long to Wait Before Fishing After Rain

If it’s just a brief shower, fishing can be good during and immediately after the rain. For heavy downpours or thunderstorms, it’s best to wait at least 2 to 6 hours for conditions to stabilize before fishing.

Which Fish Tend to Be Most Active

Some species like bass, walleye, and catfish get very active with rainfall. Trout may take a little longer to get fed after a storm. Just after rain is prime time for fast fishing action.

Related: Trout Fishing In The Rain: A Guide To Success

What fish bite best in the rain?

Some species are particularly stimulated to bite when it rains:

Best fish that bite best in the rain
Fish SpeciesWhy They Bite in the Rain
BassLargemouth and smallmouth bass gorge on baitfish washed into ponds and become more active hunting in murky water.
WalleyeCooler temperatures and increased water flows after rain really turn on walleye feeding. Jigs and crankbaits can produce.
CatfishChannels cats feed heavily before storms. Rain boosts scent dispersion for bait. Bullheads bite well in muddy conditions.
CrappieRain and rising water levels boost stream trout activity. Use spinners, spoons, and drift baits in heavier flows.
TroutRain and rising water levels boost stream trout activity. Use spinners, spoons and drift baits in heavier flows.
Striped BassStriper fishing can excel in rain and wind. They chase baitfish forced to surface in choppy water.

Should you fish differently in light rain versus heavy rain or storms?

Fishing in the rain: light rain versus heavy rain

Light rain usually means excellent fishing with active fish and minimal negative effects. During steady downpours or thunderstorms, it’s safest to seek shelter until the heaviest weather passes.

After intense rain wait a couple hours for conditions to settle before fishing. Heavy flows and muddy water take time to stabilize.

Adjusting Your Fishing Strategy for Rainy Weather

Fishing techniques and gear that work great on sunny days may not be as effective when it’s raining. Here are some useful strategies to employ:

Best Baits and Lures for Rainy Conditions

Live worms and minnows are very productive when it’s raining since the real movement triggers strikes. Bright-colored lures and spinnerbaits work well in muddy water.

Fishing Techniques That Work Best in the Rain

Slow-moving baits excel when visibility is poor. Jigs, Texas rig plastics, and suspending jerk baits are good choices. Be prepared to hook hard-fighting fish.

Choosing Productive Fishing Locations

Focus on moving water areas like creek inflows and current breaks where fish congregate to find food washing in. Target sheltered spots like docks and overhangs.

The Pros and Cons of Fishing in the Rain

Fishing when its raining

While rainy weather fishing has advantages, there are also some potential downsides to consider:

Increased feeding activity by fishPotentially dangerous lightning
Lower fishing pressure from other anglersSlippery and unsafe surfaces
Higher catch ratesDiscomfort from being wet and cold
More aggressive fish to catchDifficulty handling gear and equipment
New food sources washing into the waterReduced visibility for finding spots and landing fish
Easy to fish secretlyHarder to detect subtle bites
Cooler water temperaturesHaving to wear bulky rain gear
Prime conditions for many speciesChallenging to stay dry
Murky water makes fish less waryPossible flash flooding risks
Ability to catch bigger fishHarder to control and cast baits
Fresh oxygen pumped into the waterMessy cleanup after fishing

Tips for Making the Most of Rainy Fishing Days

Don’t let a little rain spoil your fishing plans. With the right preparation, you can enjoy amazing catches on rainy days:

  • Dress for the conditions with proper rain gear and waterproof boots.
  • Bring plenty of towels and drying cloths to keep gear and hands dry.
  • Use bobbers and floating baits to detect more bites in choppy water.
  • Target protected structure and focus on slower-moving baits.
  • Stay alert for when the rain triggers a feeding frenzy!

Should you fish in different spots when it rains?

A man fishing in rain

It’s a good idea to target different types of spots when fishing in the rain compared to normal sunny conditions. Focus on areas where baitfish and food sources will collect, like creek inflows, shallow beaches, and current breaks.

Also concentrate efforts around overhead cover like docks, overhanging trees, and bridges where fish will shelter. Moving baits slowly along the bottom structure also works well in murky rainy water.

What tackle and baits work best for rain fishing?

When fishing in the rain, use gear suited to murky, choppy conditions. Spinning tackle with simple bobber/sinker rigs and floating baits makes it easier to see bites.

Scented, noisy lures like spinnerbaits and crankbaits help grab attention. Soft plastic baits are presented slowly on jig heads produced in dirty water. Use darker bait colors like black, blue, and purple for cloudy conditions.

The Bottom Line: Do Fish Bite in the Rain?

Of Course, fish bite in the rain due to high activity. For experienced anglers, fishing in the rain can certainly be rewarding thanks to the increased fish activity it brings. Novice anglers may want to wait for drier conditions to have an easier time learning. With the right rain gear and preparation, wet-weather fishing can give your catch rates a healthy boost!

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