My fishing experiences have included fishing before, during, and after the rain. I’ve experienced light rain, heavy rain, intermittent rain, and serious downpours.
So, is it worth your time and effort to fish following the rain? Believe it or not, there’s no straightforward answer to this question.
It depends on the situation – sometimes it’s a yes, sometimes it’s a no.
Results for fishing in the rain vary with location and often depend on various conditions. Importantly, rain success, or otherwise, can come down to local knowledge.
However, some rain-related fishing basics can add more certainty.
Let’s check the rain question out in more detail, including fishing before, during, and after the rain.
My Best Catch in 40 Years While Fishing in The Rain
Let’s start this with a fishing story – my fish of a lifetime.
I was fishing with my dad at a beach on the northeast coast of NSW, Australia. There was no swell, but it was a perfect summer afternoon.
It looked productive. And after the previous day’s success along the beach, we expected more of the same.
Despite our huge live worms and determination, 3 hours of trying every tactic we knew caught us nothing.
To add insult to injury, clouds as black as outer space rolled in. And we were a long walk from our cabin.
The rain hit like a tropical storm. We couldn’t see the end of our rods because the air was so thick with flying water.
Seconds before the downpour began, my bait was 20 yards from shore in 4 feet of water. We were targeting whiting, but this was no whiting.
I’ll spare you the fight details, compelling as they are, but I landed a yellowfin bream that weighed in at 6.8 pounds.
The Aussie record is 9.9 pounds. Had I left the internals in, I’m pretty sure I would have been close.
This was before smartphones, and we didn’t have a measuring tape. I’m just thankful my dad was there to witness it.
The only reason we got the weight is because we stopped by the local caravan shop for flour. She had scales. Happy days.
Considering generations of anglers won’t ever see a yellowfin bream anywhere close to 5 pounds…this is exceptional – fish of a lifetime exceptional.
My point in the story is this. The main reason I caught a trophy fish was because I had a bait in the water.
However, we fished this particular location 3 days before my trophy and 5 days after – before, during, and after the rain.
Interestingly, it confirmed much of what we and other experienced anglers understand about the impact of rain on fishing success.
Despite it being the only fish of the afternoon, I caught it on the back end of a significant atmospheric pressure drop.
Fishing Before The Rain
You’re fishing a beautiful summer’s day for pretty ordinary results. Looking up, you notice a storm front closing in.
At this moment, you also notice every cast resulting in fish.
Not only do you catch a lot of fish, but they attack your lures and baits as if its life depended on it.
The feeding frenzy results from a significant drop in atmospheric pressure.
For example, You were fishing in beautiful sunny conditions with a high barometric pressure of 120 Mb. As the storm approached, the pressure dropped rapidly.
During this drop, the fish go crazy before conditions under the water get too hectic.
The theory goes that fish, sensing the pressure drop, associate low pressure with much tougher feeding conditions.
Hence, they go hard, filling their bellies as the pressure drops before hurrying to more protected waters before the storm makes their life uncomfortable.
You can nearly bank on this happening. But here are a few things to be aware of.
- Approaching rain doesn’t always mean a significant pressure drop. Showers don’t really count. It usually needs to be a system change – a high pressure system moving out and a low moving in.
- The action can be very short-lived – even just minutes. Make sure you’re ready to take advantage. Conversely, if you’re lucky, it can be three hours of fishing madness.
- Once the front arrives and the pressure stops dropping, pack up. The fish have gone, and they’re not returning for quite some time – a day, days, or even longer, depending on a pressure rise and stability.
- Be aware. A big pressure drop can signify a dangerous storm is imminent. A pressure drop of 10 mb from 1009 to 1000 over three hours strongly indicates a dangerous storm.
My dad and I were fishing a high-pressure system the 3 days before the big
There’s a likelihood the pressure had already dropped significantly 24 hours before my prize catch, dropping suddenly just a couple of hours before my catch.
Fishing During the Rain
I love fishing in the rain, particularly when it’s not too heavy, and it’s summer rain. What’s more, it can enliven the fishing experience wherever you are.
Fishing in the rain is more about the feeling and experience. I’m not a fan when it’s super cold, but in the summer, it’s beautiful.
The air is ionized and freshened, and the sound of rain on a still pond or tree-lined river bank creates a wonderful natural atmosphere.
But apart from making you feel good and at one with nature, there can be fishing benefits.
Let’s take a look.
When rain hits the water’s surface, it breaks the surface tension and creates countless ripples. This impairs a fish’s ability to see beyond the surface. Fish then become a little less cautious as they’re oblivious to predators from above.
Rain creates movement and activity. Rain-induced activity and movement on the water act like a shot of electricity in the entire ecosystem. There’s a general uptick in wildlife activity.
Freshwater anglers will note that rain and runoff inject nutrients and other fish stimulators into the water – especially bugs and insects.
Cloud cover can cool things down on hot sunny days, encouraging fish-feeding activity.
Lunchtime is a terrible time to fish most days. But on a sunny summer day pushing 110, it’s too hot for you and the fish.
However, with cloud cover and rain, your fishing fortunes can change dramatically as the temperature cools.
Make sure that your reel stays dry or has water ingress mitigation technology. A few hours in a decent downpour will saturate the insides of an unprotected reel.
Heavy rain can make fishing uncomfortable. Without quality fishing gear, you’ll end up wet and cold – even in summer. It’s also sure to wet all of your gear.
The heavy rains that accompanied my trophy fish were terrible conditions to fish.
Firstly, you could barely see. Secondly, all of my kit was getting penetrated.
I often like fishing in heavy rain, depending on the location. Often you find only your close friends are prepared to fish in such conditions.
Also Read: Finding The Best Fishing Spots Near Me
Fishing After the Rain
Fishing after the rain requires some diligent research, observations, and experimentation.
Fishing productivity following the rain can differ from place to place, despite similar conditions across a broad area of fishing locations.
Heavy rain for days can turn a pristine waterway into a muddy soup in saltwater, rivers, estuaries, surf, or just outside the heads.
Heavy sediment flotsam and jetsam, as well as a huge influx of freshwater, can change the dynamics of fish habitat.
Saltwater Fishing Following Heavy or Extended Rain Periods
Here are a few tips for fishing success when the rain’s been about for a while. The biggest problem for saltwater anglers is the excess fresh water.
- Fresh water will always sit on top of the saltwater. A good tactic is to seek out deeper waters.
- When you’re fishing the salt rivers and estuaries, look for weed beds. The water around weeds tends to retain its saltiness when inundated by the fresh.
- Seek out areas where the water is cleaner – where it’s not so muddy and filled with debris and jetsam due to current movements.
- Look for areas where there’s an obvious change in watercolor. Often it’s a very obvious difference. It can indicate current differences and changes in depth. Food will often be channeled here. Predatory fish will congregate in these locations, looking for opportunity.
- River mouths present great opportunities. Endless tonnes of food and nutrient are washed through river mouths. It’s a classic feeding ground. Rocks and beaches on either side of the river mouth can be extremely productive.
- It’s a good tactic to approach a post-rain session with various tactics for various species. Sometimes, while one species is completely off the bite, another feeds readily.
- Having highlighted the fishing opportunities, we also must be aware that sometimes post-rain conditions turn off the bite completely. Sediment, fresh water, and general mess drive the fish away.
- When the salt’s off, hit the fresh. Obviously, the influx of fresh isn’t a problem here. Sediment can be a problem but look for cleaner water if possible. Swollen creeks and rivers can encourage fish to explore expanded feeding grounds fervently. Fish smaller creek mouths you wouldn’t usually consider for surprise monsters.
- Lure selection post-rain will be based on water clarity. The muddier the water, the darker the lure is a good rule of thumb. Adding scent in these conditions can make the difference between good fish and no fish.
Safety Tips for Fishing After Rain
A heavy influx of fresh water, particularly in salt river systems, can cause fish kills.
Runoff, particularly around industrial and rural areas, can significantly increase toxins in the water.
The biggest safety issue is the huge influx of debris and the danger it poses for boating. Keep your speeds well down and your eyes peeled. Big logs will sink a small boat in no time. That twig you see sticking up above the water surface may be attached to a massive log hidden beneath the surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Better To Fish Before Or After The Rain?
Fishing before or after the rain presents different opportunities. However, fishing before rain brings a drop in barometric pressure, which is perfect for anglers.
Do Fish Go To The Surface When Raining?
In the freshwater, fish do go to the surface, as they’ll take advantage of the bugs falling and washing into the water.
After rain, saltwater fish will land lower in the water column to avoid the freshwater that’s sitting on the surface.
What Is The Best Bait To Throw After Rain?
The best bait to throw after the rain is darker, scented lures for muddy water. Fish your usual baits, but natural baits with a stronger scent can work wonders.
What Are The Best Lures To Throw After Rain?
The rule of thumb is to go darker for murky waters. Use scent and lures with noise to increase attraction.