Fishing in the Rain

By Jim Root May 11, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Rainy Day On the Water

Fishing in the rain isn’t a guaranteed fishing success. Truth is, there is never a “golden hour” in any particular weather pattern that offers the best fishing. However, rain does eliminate some of the things that prevent fish from biting. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you hear a rain storm is coming. 

A Noisy Fishing Opportunity

Trout anglers probably understand the need to be quiet better than any other angler out there. They move in total stealth mode covered in their green and brown clothing, disguised like the true fishing ninjas they are. Every movement is premeditated and done effortlessly. The quieter you are, the more at ease big fish will be, and rain is some of the best noise reduction you’ll find on the water. It’s also great at masking what’s going on above the waterline, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll be seen. These two factors are a couple reasons why reaction baits are so effective during the rain. Baits that take bass by surprise are very likely to generate reaction strikes. Bass feed heavy in the rain because they can ambush their prey while they’re frantically swimming (or darting in the case of crawfish). If nothing else, bass are opportunistic and they take advantage of easy meals when they can.

Necessary Gear for Rain

Gear, believe it or not, is the single most important part of fishing in foul weather. When you’re drenched you lose your focus. You start thinking about being cold, forgetting about the action of your bait. You slow down, make mistakes, miss bites, and that leads to the end of a frustrating trip. Be prepared to not just survive in the rain, but to thrive in the rain. Buy the best suit you can afford. We recommend the Simms Challenger Bib or the Gill FG2 Tournament Jacket for the really rainy and chilly days. If money is tight you can buy a shell system and get one that leaves you with enough room to layer up underneath for the colder months. It’s also best to get a suit that’s designed for fishing. These tend to be tailored to the movements anglers make when they’re on the water. Others may leave you vulnerable during casting or while scooping fish. Remember this, “Some people fish in the rain, and some people just get wet.”

Fishing in Northern Michigan

Placement for Fishing in the Rain

Whenever you have a hard rain it’s key to find transition areas. Creek mouths, points, shoals, reefs, and channels are all great areas to find moving fish. I’m not saying it’s impossible to catch a fish under a dock during a storm, but it’s likely. Remember that fish look for cover like that to avoid sun and predators. Rain gives them the confidence to roam, and they’ll cover a lot of water. Most people won’t play in the rain, so if you can stick it out you’re likely to find you’ll have large areas all to yourself. Targeting the transitions with search baits like squarebills, lipless cranks, and big spinnerbaits with a Colorado blade are great options.

Safety During a Rain Storm

I will never forget a story I was told about a guy who got caught in a really bad lightning storm.  The guys in the boat next to him started screaming for him to put his lifejacket on. He did so, and felt this huge sigh of relief as he laid down in the boat. When the storm passed he couldn’t wait to tell the guys all about how thankful he was that they’d given him that advice, that he didn’t know wearing his lifejacket would protect him in a lightning storm. The guys looked at him and said “It doesn’t protect you. It’s so search and rescue can find your corpse if you’re struck by lightning without having to call in a dive team.” I still laugh when I remember that story. But I don’t laugh about fishing in electricity. If there’s lightning during a rain storm, get off the water. You shouldn’t even be fishing from shore. If you’re crazy enough to try it and you see your line starting to float, get ready to see how Ben Franklin felt.

Fishing After a Rain Storm

This is perhaps my favorite time. The days following the rain are the best, especially in rivers.  Fish are easy to find, gorging themselves to replace the energy they spent fighting the increased current, the water is murky, and again you’re probably alone. Don’t get me wrong, fishing floods can be downright dangerous. That being said, it does create some really amazing conditions. Wherever you find slow moving water or eddys that are near a current, you’ll find stacks of fish setup on the current break just watching for an easy meal to pass by. Position your boat downstream and cast above you. Fish will be positioned with their nose into the current and this will present the bait to them. Tubes are your best bait for smallmouth.

Fishing on Cayuga Lake

Fishing in and after a rain storm can present you with some of the best fishing opportunities you've ever had. Be prepared for the weather and have fun! If you have any questions, contact us!

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