Weather and fishing

Why is weather important in fishing?

Weather is important for several reasons:

  • Comfort and safety: To some people, especially those fishing with the family, being comfortable and safe out on the water is the most important factor in determining when to fish.  Excessive heat, wind, rain, thunderstorms, and very high UV index levels can all make for a less enjoyable trip.
  • Fish behavior and location:  Fish react to weather, just like any other animal.  Certain weather conditions make them feed more actively.  Other conditions make them move to certain predictable locations.  Knowing how weather affects fish behavior can help you plan your fishing trip for when conditions are right to help you find and catch more fish.  
  • Fishing technique: Weather can influence what techniques and equipment are most effective.  For example, on very windy days, light-weight finesse style fishing may not be a very effective presentation for deep water fish.  If you prefer a certain fishing technique or using certain equipment, it is important to know if the weather will allow it.

What weather variables does Fishcaster include?

Fishcaster lets you select your preference across a combination of multiple fishing-related weather variables.

Variables and options include:

  • Temperature: range and recent trend (rising, falling, or steady)
  • Barometric pressure: range (low, normal, high) and recent trend (rising, falling, steady)
  • Cloud cover: cloudy, mostly cloudy, partly cloudy, mostly sunny, sunny 
  • Wind: speed range, direction, recent direction trend
  • Chance of precipitation
  • Chance of thunderstorms
  • UV index   

Alerts can be set up to warn you about certain dangerous conditions.  If an alert condition is met, the day/time period is automatically given a score of "0" indicating that you should not go fishing.  Alerts can be set up for the following:

  • Temperature above or below a certain degree
  • Barometric pressure above or below a certain level (in Hg)
  • Wind above a certain speed AND/OR from a certain direction
  • Chance of precipitation above a certain level
  • Chance of thunderstorms above a certain level
  • UV index above a certain level   

Multiple sets of preferences and locations can be saved to cover all of your fishing situations.  

Why are these weather variables important?

  • Temperature: Temperature plays an important role in fish behavior.  Not only does temperature affect feeding behaviors, it can also affect fish locations.  Fish generally tend to have more normal, predictable behavior patterns when the air temperature has been stable.  Sudden changes in temperature such as from a cold or warm front can impact feeding patterns and locations significantly.   During late fall, winter, and early spring, a sudden cold front can move fish deeper or down into the water column and make them less likely to feed aggressively. On the other hand, a warm front during these times can spark feeding behavior and movement into shallower water or up higher into the water column.      
  • Barometric pressure: Barometric pressure also plays an important role in fish behavior.  High barometric pressure, that sometimes occur after a front moves in, has been known to cause fish to become less aggressive feeders and to move deeper or into thicker cover.  On the other hand, a dropping barometric pressure is known to lead to more aggressive feeding.
  • Cloud cover: Depending on the time of year and species of fish, cloud cover can also affect fish behavior.  A sunny day in winter or spring can warm shallow water enough to attract fish and spark feeding.  During summer, however, sunny days may move fish into deeper water or deeper cover and make them less likely to chase your bait.  This may be an advantage to you if you like to flip or pitch for largemouth bass in heavy cover.  Some species, such as smallmouth bass, tend to feed best and be most active on sunny days.  
  • Wind: Wind strength and wind direction are two of the most important weather variables for fishing.  It can affect fish location and behavior as well as how you can effectively or safely fish.  Wind creates water currents that push plankton to certain parts of the lake, which attracts baitfish, which attracts game fish.  This can make structure on the windward side of the lake fantastic locations to fish. Wind also creates waves, which breaks up sunlight as well as your silhouette, creating a more comfortable environment for fish.  Fish are more likely to feed and chase lures if they feel comfortable in their surroundings.  On some lakes, wind out of a certain direction can be dangerous because the fetch of the lake allows large waves to form.   Under most conditions,  a light wind is most favorable for fishing.  
  • Chance of precipitation:  Possibly linked to barometric pressure and cloud cover, the chance of precipitation also affects fish behavior.  Fish do seem to feed more aggressively when there is a chance of precipitation.   But, probably just as importantly, precipitation can impact your comfort on the water.
  • Chance of thunderstorms: Being out of the water during a thunderstorm is very dangerous.  Accounting for the chance of thunderstorms is an important step in planning your fishing trips.
  • UV index:  UV index measures the danger of the sun rays against unprotected skin and eyes.  The higher the number, the higher the risk.  Fishing during periods of elevated risk can be uncomfortable and dangerous unless precautions are made such as the use of sunscreen, protective clothing,  and sunglasses.   

What are some examples of fishing weather preferences that I can set up?

Lake St. Clair smallmouth:  Lake St. Clair is a large but shallow lake.  One of the favorite techniques is to drift a tube.  Assuming we want to fish on the U.S. side, here is a potential preference that could be set up:  

  • Temperature between 70-85 (wife doesn't like to fish in the heat)
  • Wind between 3-8 mph out of the west, southwest, or northwest (a good speed to drift)
  • Automatic zero score if wind is out of the northeast, east, or southeast AND above 4 mph (dangerous waves if strong wind out of the east)
  • Cloud cover: Sunny, or mostly sunny (smallmouth like the sun)
  • Automatic zero period score if any chance of thunderstorms (you don't want to be out on a large lake during a thunderstorm).

Local largemouth bass lake:  Typical local lake with some nice points and weed beds on the east side of the lake.

  • Wind between 3-6 mph out of the west, or southwest (I typically like a light wind to break up the water surface)
  • Wind trend of west or southwest (fish will be stacked up on the points or weed beds on east side of lake since wind has been blowing that way for a while)
  • Cloudy or mostly cloudy (largemouth bass like cloudy weather and are more likely to be actively feeding outside weed line rather than buried in the weeds)
  • falling barometric pressure (fish may be very active)
  • Chance of precipitation less than 40%
  • Automatic zero score if chance of precipitation above 60%
  • Little chance of thunderstorms
  • Automatic zero score if good chance of thunderstorms.

Another local largemouth bass lake: Lake has some nice docks on north side of lake, and I like to flip/pitch to docks

  • Wind between <4 mph (wind makes boat control and detecting light bites more difficult.  These are important in flipping and pitching boat docks.)
  • Wind trend of southwest, south, or southeast (more plankton and prey fish on north side of lake)
  • Sunny or mostly sunny (largemouth will be more likely to be in the shade of one of those boat docks)
  • Chance of precipitation less than 40%
  • Automatic zero score if chance of precipitation above 60%
  • Little chance of thunderstorms
  • Automatic zero score if good chance of thunderstorms.

What are the built-in criteria?

We have built in criteria covering favorable weather conditions for spring, summer, fall, and winter.  The criteria are based on weather conditions known to promote fish feeding activity.

How do I download Fishcaster?

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