If the early bird catches the worm then what worm catches the fish?
That’s a question with a highly contested answer among fisherman because it depends on a number of factors including geography, species and environment. The factor that has the greatest effect on a fish’s activity though involves its surrounding temperature.
All fish are cold blooded. That means they can’t maintain their body heat naturally and thus rely on the surrounding conditions to survive. Extreme water temperatures can reduce the amount of oxygen in the water dramatically altering their level of activity. It means that the best time of day to fish changes with the seasons and the weather patterns.
According to TakeMeFishing.org the best times to cast your line are as follows:
Afternoon to Dusk in the Spring between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
The sun is directly overhead and warming the water. This raises the metabolism of fish and brings them to the surface to feed.
Sunset to Early Evening in the Summer between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Warm water during the summer causes fish to dive deep to stay cool. As the afternoon starts to cool so does the water, bringing them back up near the surface.
Afternoon to Evening in the Fall between 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Fall is a good time to toss a line because fish are fattening up for winter. Like in other seasons, when the sun is overhead the fish come up near the surface. If you can find bait schools then you’ll find the bigger fish.
The Time of Day isn’t a Major Factor when Ice Fishing in the Winter
Ice fishing experts seem to agree that the main factor for getting bites involves future weather forecasts. Fish are able to sense changes in the barometric pressure and as it drops they begin to feed in preparation for the storm. Paying attention to these factors can give you the most success during the season.
The website fishing.info does a good job of laying out prime water temperatures for a variety of fish, but is quick to remind visitors that these temperatures vary dependent on the location. Water in Michigan is cooler on average than water in Florida, for example, which means the actual temperatures local fish prefer may fluctuate. According to their published information though, Salmon prefer colder water on average and Catfish prefer the warmest.
If you’re someone who enjoys casting a line in the water, or have ever considered it, then do some research on local stocked lakes. Knowing the kinds of fish that are out there can help you decide when it’ll be best to hit the water. After all, if the early bird catches the worm it’s the educated worm that catches the fish.