You decided to go fishing, prepared everything like you usually do, but the weather changed.
It is raining and you are wondering what to do?
Fishing in the rain can be done, and rainy weather can actually help you in some cases.
Rain affects river flows, it carries different insects and worms into the river from the riverbanks. That attracts fish which can feed on it.
The same goes for lakes too ...
Clouds, unlike sun, provide darker conditions during the day, and it can also be your advantage.
So, this is your opportunity to profit the best you can from that situation.
Except that, while fishing in the rain, you will also need to think about your needs and how to protect yourself from cold, rain and possible dangers.
Here we will see how rain affects on different fishes, what gear to use and how to prepare yourself.
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Is it good to go fishing in the rain?
Depending on the season, rain can be very useful for fishing.
In early spring, when the water is high and temperatures low, most of the time rain will not be your advantage.
But in warm months of the year, when water levels are lower, moderate rainfall will be the best situation for fishing. The same applies to times after strong and heavy rainfalls (storms).
Very important thing to mention is to avoid fishing during heavy thunderstorms and lightning because that can be very dangerous for you.
As already mentioned, rain carries small worms and insects into the water, but also causes commotion among small living creatures in the water. This occurrence attracts fish to feed.
Rain can also cool the water, and/or blur it and darken it. In those conditions large fish can move around more than usual.
In rainy days it is good to use bigger spinners because they are more visible in the absence of sunlight. We will mention different approaches for different fish species later on.
In lakes with clear water rain will cause darker conditions and make fish more active which is good for fishing. Unlike rivers, lakes are prone to lack of oxygen in warm and dry months of the year. Rain will cool the water, restore some oxygen and create lower visibility for fishes, so they can't see you and your fishing equipment.
Rain can make the water very muddy and "dense". As rain carries living creatures into water, it can also carry large amounts of mud. Those conditions are not desirable for fishing. In that situation you should find the clearest possible spot, away from obvious mudflows from riverbanks. This problem is much bigger if you are not using a boat.
You can predict this problem if it has been raining for days prior to your fishing trip. That way you can consider possible locations before and not to use your precious fishing time for location searching.
Is fishing better before or after rain?
When talking about rainstorms, fishing is better before.
Before the storm, the atmospheric pressure lowers which is good for fish activity. Feeding frenzy can occur among fish and that's the best time for you to present your bait and catch a fish, or more than one.
During the storm the fish activity will slow down but that is not a problem because it is not advisable to fish in that conditions. In the end of the storm there is a very short time window in which pressure increases and fish are active. When the storm is over, fish will act the same as usual, or even be more inactive.
During summer and early fall you can benefit greatly from fishing before the storm. Also, at that time of the year very hard but not long-lasting thunderstorms are more frequent. If you want to try, and use the weather for your advantage, bass is one of the fishes that will react the most on weather changes.
If your weather predicting skills are not that good, there are numerous internet websites and mobile apps which are highly accurate and easy to use. Or if you prefer, you can buy a simple barometer and have it with you while fishing.
Fishing in the rain for trout, carp and bass
Trout, carp and bass are among fish which are the most sensible on weather conditions. Trout reacts the most to lower light, carp to oxygen level and bass to water movement, everything caused by rainy conditions. No matter which one you prefer to catch, rain will be your best friend while fishing for them.
Fishing in the rain for Trout
Absence of sunlight will make trouts more active.
In darker conditions they lurk on their prey because they are less visible to it.
Fly-fishing for trouts in the rain will work the best ...
Usually, the best time to catch trouts is low light condition like early morning or evening. Clouds and rain produce similar conditions during the whole day. Rain washes insects to the water and attracts trouts, so this is the best time to present your bait. Although this time is the best for dry flies, it is also good to try fishing deeper. Small water invertebrates are also stirred up at this time, and they are important food for trouts. Sinking flies are very useful here.
Fishing in the rain for Carp
Fishing in the rain for carp can be beneficial but also it depends on of the season.
In warmer months quick rain showers affect carps activity. They are more active before the shower. While temperature of the water is lower, like in spring, rain will cool it even more so carp will be less active. Apparently, carps are more sensitive to wind than other fish (bass for example), so if the conditions are windy try to find a sheltered spot. Carp is also very sensitive to low oxygen levels so that is the main reason it reacts to rain.
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Fishing in the rain for Bass
Although fishing in the rain is good, it affects the moving patterns of fish, so in the beginning it can be hard to locate it. If you find baitfish in those conditions, there is a high chance bass is close.
Wind is also important because water motion carries small fish, so its better to go on a downwind side of the water. You can also look for natural hiding places for small fish in harsh weather. Bass will be active and look for them.
When fishing for bass in normal conditions it is important to keep your distance from the fish. While fishing in rain you re not that visible to the bass so you can be closer. That way your casting will be more precise and your lure will not make a big splash while hitting the water surface.
Try topwater baits as bass is now more active than usual. They are aggressively biting in rainy conditions so if you are using spinners they can move faster, if you are using worms, don't keep them in one place for too long as the bass is swimming around, not lurking from its hiding place.
Be prepared for rain - must have fishing rain gear
Fishing in the rain requires an investment in good rain gear.
Imagine yourself being wet and cold and not being able to use most of your fishing day.
You will need a suit and footwear which will keep you dry and warm, even in the storms.
Cheap coats or "emergency" rain suits will not do the job. You will have to visit a specialized store and pick a jacket, pants and boots or boot covers.
It is easy to stay dry while standing in place, but while moving, walking and working with your equipment you need clothes which can handle it.
Fishing rain suits
There are numerous brands that you can choose from but make sure you invest in quality products.
Prices can vary but make sure it is comfortable, you can normally move in it and that it has easy accessible pockets.
The more waterproof and heavy it is the less breathable it will be, so you decide what option is the best for you.
Light ones are usually more comfortable but less durable. If you don't care about the prices there are high-end options that combine durability, comfort and are breathable.
If you are a beginner the best option would be multi functional rain suit you can use for other outdoor activities too. Make sure that zippers, buttons and sleeve edges are tight and fit properly.
Fishing in the rain can be more productive than fishing during nice and sunny days.
Most of the fish species react to rain.
If you use proper gear and know your locations, most certainly you will end up having one of your best fishing days.
AND don't forget your safety and avoid lightning and thunders.
Fishing in the rain is very similar to dry conditions from the technical aspect but much more productive because of how rain affects the fish behavior. So during summer and fall don't think twice when the forecast is "bad" because fishing is one of the rare activities which are better in rain.