We receive a fair amount of inquiries and it seems that over the last little bit many of those inquiries have been in reference to night fishing tips. Not that I – or we – are pros by any means, but I’ve been wanting to add a “tips and tricks” section for a long time so that we can address some of the common questions we get and hopefully contribute some helpful info to those that visit our site. I figured night fishing tips would be a great topic to kick things off for those that wanted more of a look at what we do and how we do it.
I legitimately have a hard time reading due to a longtime battle with ADD so although I’ve done some reading on the subject, I’ll write mainly based on our own experience fishing in the dark. I’d also like to open this (and all future posts) up for discussion as far as what other people have experienced. We definitely don’t profess to be know-it-alls and would love to get more input from others. So what I’m trying to say is if you have some helpful info to share please leave a comment for future readers!
Night fishing. What a fun time to fish – it’s definitely a completely new fishing experience altogether. It’s hard to explain but I’d definitely recommend it if you haven’t tried it.
Why do people fish at night?
So to begin with, there are a few reasons why fishing at night can be productive. One of the main factors in determining where fish spend their time during the day (and night) is security. Fish need the sense of protection from prey. Among other things, light, structure, water depth and clarity all play a role in this. This is a big reason why bigger fish feed largely early and late – they’re more secure straying from their lies in search of food! Big fish didn’t get big by being dumb. So in a nutshell why do people wander out in the dark and fish at night? Cause that’s when the big fish come out to play! These night fishing tips can mostly be applied to both stillwater and moving water. Here’s a few things to consider/remember when thinking about fishing at night:
Big fish behave differently than smaller fish.
While it’s common for smaller fish (lets say somewhere around 21″ and under) to feed actively at various given times throughout the day, the larger fish are typically laying low during the day and coming out early and late to feed…browns especially. Browns more than any other trout are nocturnal.
Don’t focus on the “money” water you would during the day.
When we look at a given piece of water that we just know holds a fish we usually reach that conclusion based on a few different factors: an area where food is easily accessible, a calm area where they mustn’t expend too much energy to hold their place, a level of security due to water depth and structure, flow of oxygen, etc. Are there better places that food is easy pickings that you never seem to see fish in during the day? Of course. Why aren’t fish always in the optimal spots for feeding/hunting? Again, it comes back to security. Everything changes in the dark. One night this summer we spooked a 26″+ fish that was chillin’ in a 12″ riffle. They’ll move from their lies and are known to travel even long distances each night only to return to their holding spots by morning. In stillwater, water temperature also plays a factor. Food may be more plentiful in the shallower/more exposed areas of the lake or pond but in addition to being too sketchy for them to venture into those parts during the day, it may also just be too warm.
Keep moving and cover a lot of water.Again, bigger fish are on the move at night. You may need to stick to stretches of water that you’re quite familiar with or go out on night when the moon is big. Both on rivers and lakes I would suggest working a spot and moving on.
Fish black!It may seem counter-intuitive but dark colors are always a good idea and black is especially important on nights with little/no moon. The silhouette of your fly is important during the day but because there is even less to go on visually when hunting at night, silhouette becomes especially important. Darker colors have a more defined silhouette.
Don’t just focus on nights with a big moon.While there are all sorts of lunar fishing calendars and fishing when the moon is big can be effective, don’t ignore those nights when it’s black out. It makes it tough to fish, but there’s nothing like getting a heart-stopping take when it’s too dark to see anything!
Push water.Fish flies that will displace and push water. In addition to fishing flies that have a good shape and cast a good silhouette it’s also a great idea to fish flies that the fish will FEEL. It rings the dinner bell. This is why a lot of people like to fish mice at night too. That’s a whole other topic but if you haven’t tried that either – do that too!
Don’t be afraid to fish SLOW!Some of these rules may seem (be) contradictory – but there’s a time and place for everything! I’m not gonna lie and say I have any idea why fishing a black bug…slowly…at night would be productive other than it works! This fish was caught on a slow strip on a black bug on a dark night. He’s not the only reason either.
I hope that these tips are helpful for some and maybe provide enough clarity to get any of you that have been wanting to get out and try fishing at night. Anyone have any other feedback or success stories? While without a doubt my favorite time to fish at night is in the summer, there’s still time in the season to get out and give it a try. Who knows? Maybe you’ll hook into the beast of your dreams!night fishing, tips and tricks