If you’ve been fishing for any period of time you’ve probably wondered whether or not fishing is better in low or high-pressure conditions. In simple terms, low pressure generally means rain is coming and high pressure means the better weather is rolling in. So, which is best for catching the big fish?
I’ve found that fishing is not good at super high or super low conditions. When it’s been raining for a few days they tend to be less active and when it’s hot they hide out in the shade. Somewhere in the middle is ideal but the best time, in my opinion, would be when the pressure falls and there’s a chance of rain.
It’s all going to depend on what fish you’re going after though and what type of fishing you’re doing. Bass will act a bit different than trout and trolling will be slightly different than casting. Let’s jump into things more in detail.
What Is High & Low Pressure?
I’m not going to get into the technicals of high and low pressure because you probably don’t care and I’m not entirely sure either. Let’s stick with the basics because it’s good enough for me.
When a high-pressure system is moving in it generally means fair weather is on its way. You should expect clearer skies, less wind, and more sun. I’m sure you’ve been out in the middle of summer and got skunked? When it’s been too hot for a number of days the fish tend to sit and hide in the shade and are less active.
When a low-pressure system is rolling in it generally means rain is on the way. You’ll expect clouds to start coming in, wind picking up, and even rainy weather. Too much rain though isn’t always the best in my experience because the fish tend to go to the bottom and aren’t too active. It is normally better than being super hot out.
Consistent Air Pressure
When the pressure has been consistently higher (but not too hot) the fishing will return to average. They’ll be done adapting to the new pressure and will start feeding again. This is the most common time people will be fishing.
Having a consistent air pressure is good for fishing because they’ll be in their normal state. When things change outside they’ll have to adapt and that’s when food stops being their number 1 priority.
Low Air Pressure
When the air pressure has been low for a number of days the fishing tends to die down. They’ll sink down to the bottom and won’t move around a whole lot. It’s still possible to catch them (the big guys) but you’ll have to go down low and troll pretty slowly.
You probably aren’t going to be out at this time anyway because nobody wants to fish in the rain (or maybe you do?).
Rising Air Pressure
This tends to be one of the worst times to go fishing. After you’ve had low pressure and things start to pick up, that’s when the fish have to adapt to the new conditions. They’ll normally take a day or two to adjust and biting will be at a minimum.
The fish get uncomfortable when the pressure changes and that’s why they focus on moving (and not biting). If you decide to give it a try then avoid fishing at the surface and make sure you go down deep.
Falling Air Pressure
This is my favorite time to be out fishing. This is when things start to cool off and the clouds start rolling in. The fish can feel a storm coming and they know they might not be feeding for a while. That’s why they get super aggressive at this time.
They’ll start jumping out of the water trying to get whatever they can and that’s when you have the best shot at landing the fish in the boat. From the time the clouds start coming in till the first few hours of rain, the fishing should be really good.
How Different Fish React To Pressure
I’ve found that most fish follow the rules we just talked about, except for trout. Trout seem to feed in pretty much all conditions and only seem to hide out in super low or super high conditions.
Salmon seems to be the pickiest type of fish when it comes to biting but as long as you have the right bait, I found Trout will bite most of the time.
Is High Or Low-Pressure Better For Ice Fishing?
This is still pretty similar because the fish will stop biting as the pressure increases. If you’ve had bad weather and things start to pick up, the fish will get uncomfortable and need to adjust. They’ll probably stop biting for one to two days. After that time passes and they become used to the conditions then they’ll go back to their normal feeding routine.
When the pressure decreases, the fish will move closer to the surface and bite a lot more. They might even be right below the ice surface.
Happy fishing. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
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