Sound Reasons for Bait Fishing During Rainstorms

Quite a few fly fishermen know that fly fishing tends to be great just after the beginning of a late spring or summer rainfall. This stands to reason since the rain can and does often knock flying insects out of the air and into the water, so the fish are more apt to bite a carefully presented fly during that time. Did you know that a rainstorm is also a superb time for a bait-fisherman to catch fish?

At first thought, this might go against conventional wisdom. Food floating on top of the water should cause the fish to feed at the surface, after all. Indeed it does cause them to surface-feed and that is the reason for the elation of fly fishermen. However, it also puts the scent of food in the water.

Active feeding fish, those that primarily use sight for procuring food, are affected by the scent of food in the water even though they hunt by sight. Sharks aren’t the only fish that can go into feeding frenzies. Trout, bass and many other fish also have the drive to feed intensively when food suddenly becomes available.

Add to this the fact that the trout, bass, and others often take food off of the surface and then return to the relative safety of the bottom and the scene is set for some great success for bait fishermen. The fish are hungry and they are in the right kind of mood for feeding. They smell food and even if they’ve been taking surface insects, they are returning to deeper water after each capture.

If the rain persists, the food can also end up on the bottom. This is yet more reason for the fish to take bait lower down in the water. Additionally, they aren’t likely to be particularly picky because it probably isn’t just one kind of insect that is getting swept into the water. Presumably, they all smell and taste different, so whatever bait is being used will probably be taken as being natural and normal by the fish.

It is somewhat surprising how many bait fishermen will pack it in if there is more than a brief sprinkle, and wait until the air clears. In essence, they are missing out on one of the most productive fishing times that there is. By the time the rain finishes, the fish could very well be completely sated. If this is the case, the bait fisherman who decided to wait until after the rainstorm could find themselves waiting for hours for the fish to get hungry again. Meanwhile, the person who kept fishing despite the rain might be sitting back, relaxing and admiring the fish they caught by that time.

There is something to learn from this. If your goal is to catch fish and you are serious about it, don’t fail to fish during rainstorms.

What do you think?

4 points

Written by Rex Trulove

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    • When I’m bait fishing with worms or such for trout, bass, perch or crappie, I like fishing right after the rain starts. That is in rivers and lakes. It is good fishing, usually, in mountain streams, too. In mountain streams, I think the reason it usually is more successful then is that the rain hitting the water disturbs the surface so it is more difficult for the fish to see the fishermen.

      You’re right; it can differ. It can also differ with different kinds of fish and even between different water systems. I know of several streams and lakes where I have always caught fish just after it started to rain. Yet, a few miles away, in a different stream or lake, I’ve never caught fish right after it started to rain.

      It can also vary, depending on the amount of rain. A sprinkle or even a brief but heavy spring cloud burst can yield different results than a few hours of heavy rain.

      • Very true!!!

        When out on the Bay, there are times you really have to be careful. When you wander from the fresh into the salt water and are fishing, you have to watch out for Dorsal Fins (bull sharks)

        They, sharks, tend to scare the fish out of shallow water where they can’t maneuver.

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