Is fishing good after a thunderstorm, or is it best to wait a few hours?
Fishing after a storm is always tempting, as once the danger has passed, what’s the harm?
But do fish bite after a storm, or have they all swam away to avoid the tumultuous weather?
Thunderstorms are highly common during the rainy and stormy seasons, but there’s no reason to let them ruin your fishing trip.
With the right protective gear and a keen eye on the moving weather systems, you’ll come to appreciate thunderstorms as an addition to your fishing trip.
Read on to learn about how a thunderstorm affects your favorite fishing hole.
Fishing is improved after a thunderstorm in some cases, as fish are more active. However, it’s better to fish before a storm, as many fish go dormant after a storm.
Is Fishing Good After a Thunderstorm?
Following a storm, fish are often more active than before. However, this depends entirely on what sort of fish you’re trying to catch, the type of storm, and the time of year.
Many factors affect this, so let’s focus on certain types of fishing to see how a storm affects the fish.
There are constant storms over the ocean, whether they’re far out at sea stirring up the chop or right up on the coast.
If you’re out on the open ocean in your boat, you’ll want to make sure you’re staying far away from these storms, as they can pose great danger.
That said, if you’re moving in the wake of a storm, you can often find the fish stirred up.
Some fish go into feeding frenzies immediately following a storm as the change in pressure and temperature urges them towards the top.
You can often find this same effect just before a storm.
In the case of some fish, they may delve deeper into the ocean for shelter and to avoid turbulent currents, making fishing more difficult.
Tip: Keep a close eye on storm radars to know the path of a storm so you know where to follow — and where to avoid!
If you’re near the shore, you can find some of the best fishing possible right after a storm.
Primarily, this is because fish will move towards structures for shelter from currents and choppy water.
Try going near a pier or dock, where you’ll likely find the fish congregating for shelter.
It’s an excellent time to drop a line and get an almost-guaranteed bite.
If you prefer fishing lakes and rivers, you might want to get onto the water soon after a storm.
Many fish will move to deeper waters during the storms, and the change in water temperature and barometric pressure keeps them there.
That is to say that freshwater fishing is somewhat lackluster following a storm.
You’ll need to get somewhere you can get your lure deep enough to find and attract these fish. They also tend to avoid structures during this time.
Tip: Consider using kayaks, small boats, or canoes to get to the deeper water instead of staying on the shore and hoping.
Like freshwater fishing, inshore fishing can suffer from a storm. Many fish go into hiding and lie practically dormant during this time.
It can be hours or even days until some species of fish decide to get out of the deep water.
That isn’t to say you won’t catch any fish during this time. Oftentimes, the weather immediately following a storm is immaculate, and there is still plenty of fish biting.
Just make sure you’re ready to move if you find your hook empty after a few attempts in what’s usually a lively spot.
Before or After?
Is fishing good after a thunderstorm, or should you expect a few hours of stagnancy?
It all depends, but one thing is certain — if you have the option, you should try to fish before a thunderstorm instead of after.
There are plenty of reasons for this, but the core of it is simply that fish are more active.
The change in pressure as a storm system approaches stirs up the water and leads to fish being much more lively than before.
Tip: Freshwater and saltwater fish behave differently in response to storms.
Why Does It Work?
What are the hazards of fishing after a storm, and why does a storm affect a fish’s behavior?
Read on for a quick bit of information on keeping yourself safe and understanding the fish’s behavior.
Types of Storms
Thunder isn’t key to the effect that changes a fish’s behavior. Though more intense storms have a more intense effect, any rainstorm will alter a fish’s behavior.
Hurricane-force storms will have a much stronger effect than your average afternoon rainstorm.
You also should note the depth and size of a body of water so that you know what to expect.
If you’re fishing a small inland stream, the fish simply won’t have as many places to go for shelter.
During the summer months, warm rain can greatly increase activity. More bugs may also come out, urging fish to the surface to feed and giving you a perfect chance to snag a few.
But if you’re fishing a large, deep lake, a strong rain will force fish deeper and farther away from you.
It’ll take a few storms to work out the exact details.
Tip: Compare the size of your fish before and after a storm so you can see what sort of specimens you can expect!
Storms heavily alter the behavior of a body of water just as much as they do a fish.
If you’re fishing before, during, or after a storm, keep safety in mind!
For example, storms can dramatically increase the strength of currents.
If you’re ocean fishing, a storm can lead to a strong riptide, undertow, and other hazards. Keep your footing sure and try to stay out of deeper water immediately following a storm.
You should expect higher water levels as well. A storm surge is a dangerous swelling of the water that can endanger you and your property.
More intense storms — and larger bodies of water — cause more dangerous storm surges.
What To Bring
What can you bring to make your fishing trip post-thunderstorm as successful as possible? Here are some of the necessities of storm fishing.
After a storm, there are still often scattered rains. Because of this, you need to prepare to get suddenly rained on.
If you’re in the middle of a storm cell, these rains are guaranteed. Make sure you aren’t leaving any valuable electronics or water-sensitive items out.
Bring an awning to keep these items under, or simply use a bag; whatever works to keep the water off of them.
Following a storm, you can usually expect a steep drop in temperature.
As the cold front moves in and the pressure rises, heavier, chillier winds will buffet you while you fish.
It’s this weather that can make most fish hesitant to come near the surface.
Because of this, make sure you’re preparing for the sudden cold. You won’t be able to enjoy your afternoon fishing if you’re shivering in your waders the entire time.
You also should wear something resistant to the sudden, scattered rains that will likely come.
If you’re in the south or somewhere tropical, the temperature change is less noticeable, but the rains are more intense and short-lived.
Read Next: Why Can Overfishing Lead to Ecosystem Collapse?
Is fishing good after a thunderstorm? Overall, yes, though it depends heavily on the type of fishing you’re doing.
A thunderstorm will affect small inland bodies, the open ocean, freshwater, and coastal saltwater all in unique ways.
The best thing you can do is experiment with your favorite fishing holes during the stormy season.
See how the fish behave and plan out your fishing trips accordingly when you know a storm is approaching.
Above all, stay safe and comfortable, and try to fish before a storm instead of after for the best results.