is high or low pressure better for fishing

Is high or low pressure better for fishing? A change in atmospheric pressure can lead to a change in weather, which will directly impact your fishing trip.

It is therefore important to understand what characterizes low or high pressures.

This, in turn, will put you in a better position to identify barometric pressure good for fishing.

The truth is that your options of tasting real success would increase if you know about the best barometric pressure for fishing.

Ideally, the best conditions for fishing are when the pressure is falling because fish are likely to be more active in this weather and go for any food you offer. 

A Bit More about High Pressure and Lower Pressure Systems

The ideas of high-pressure and low-pressure systems are cornerstones of meteorology.

They identify spots where the air pressure is higher or lower than average. 

High-Pressure Systems

a high pressure system

Often called anticyclones, these regions have higher atmospheric pressure than the surrounding areas. 

The descending air in high pressure systems prevents cloud development and precipitation.

That is why the high-pressure area is characterized by dry weather, calm winds, and blue skies. 

Low Pressure Systems

Also called cyclones, these systems are regions with lower than average air pressure.

Cloudy, stormy weather is typical during low-pressure systems because the rising air in these systems produces clouds and precipitation.

Fact: High pressure is considered at 30.50 and that is when fishing becomes slow because fish move to deeper water. 

More about the Effects of Weather on Fishing

It is essential to consider how the weather will behave to determine how your fishing trip will go.

For instance: 

Fishing Success

fishing success

If you want to increase your chances of catching fish, you need to know that the weather has a significant impact on how they behave.

Some fish species, for instance, may be more active in cool, cloudy weather, while others may prefer bright, warm weather. 


Anglers might benefit from knowing the weather prediction in order to better prepare for their trips.

If rain is predicted, anglers could decide to wait for better weather or seek shelter while fishing. 


conservation of fish

Your conservation efforts can benefit from an increased awareness of the weather’s influence on fishing.

To give just one example, fish may experience increased susceptibility to disease during periods of high-water temperature.

To help preserve the fish population, fishermen may opt to release their catch rather than retain it in these circumstances.

Fact: Low barometric pressure is around 29.60, and when the pressure is falling and the weather is degrading, fishing becomes easier.

Is High or Low Pressure Better for Fishing?

Even a novice knows that weather and barometric pressure affect fishing as the fish respond by moving up and down the water column.

In times of high pressure, fish retreat to the comfort of the depths.

However, as a low pressure system moves in with reduced light, they move up into the shallows and feed.  

fishing affected by high and low pressure

Our atmosphere presses down onto the surface of the earth exerting pressure and creating wind currents.

In times of high pressure, descending warm air reduces cloud cover to produce settled sunny weather conditions.

This triggers changes in fish behavior as the accompanying changes in water temperature and light penetration exert their influence. 

Effects of High Pressure on Fishing

The effects of high pressure on fishing conditions include clearer water since sediments drop along with slower reacting fish. 



Fish seek cover in areas of faster, deeper water but become lethargic in rising temperatures.

Although this makes locating where the fish are hiding easier, to catch them means adopting slow fishing techniques

Therefore, the lure has more time to fall through the deeper water allowing more time for the fish to react. 

Improved Feeding Opportunities

Times of rising and falling air pressure create feeding opportunities that trigger greater fish activity.

Larger fish with larger swim bladders are better equipped to handle the variation being used to peruse prey up and down the water column.

Their food, zooplanktons and phytoplankton, are slower to respond to these changes and take longer to move to cover.

These are optimal times for hunting and fishing, but as the high pressure stabilizes, all activity slows

Improved Appetites

improved appetites

Fish appetites are driven by stimuli in their environment, affecting the fish physically and psychologically

Knowing how fish react during times of pressure rises and falls helps make their behavior more predictable.

In familiar clear waters, fishermen discover the most favored areas of retreat and with good visibility can note the typical feeding patterns of the fish.

From there, they prepare their lines, baits and lures accordingly.    

The Pros and Cons of Fishing in High Pressure

Fishing in high-pressure conditions has advantages although some may find the slower pace frustrating.

There are different technical challenges to overcome first. For instance, you will have to consider:

  • Which line, lure or bait to use
  • Where to cast
  • When and how to jiggle
  • How to reel a catch in
good water clarity

With good water clarity, fishermen are able to study the fish in a location and even target a specific fish.

They can see where it prefers to station itself and what it does or does not react to. 

An Important Consideration

Fishing in high pressure is often more to do with the challenges of catching one certain fish. The catch rate can be low.

In the clear water the fish can see the fisherman and understands them as a threat. They become even less willing to respond to the lure.

Fact: In high pressure with the fish activity low, it could take trying a variety of baits before they are lured in. 

Fishing and Low Barometric Pressure

Low air pressure is associated with windier weather and cooler temperatures.

In the atmosphere, the air is in constant motion rising and falling as the temperature and humidity change.

Descending air results in low pressure at the surface whilst rising air and water vapor condense to form clouds and rain. 

The Effects of Low Pressure on Fishing.

With the murkier water come better feeding opportunities for the fish, although the fish are harder to see for the fisherman.

planktons as part of fish diet

The bait fish feed on the lifted plankton and phytoplankton, the bigger fish feed on them and so on.

Therefore, the level of activity in the water increases overall.

This makes securing a catch more likely and less challenging than in clearer water even when the fish could be at greater depths.

So, is high pressure or low pressure better for fishing? Now, you know the answer, don’t you?

Reasons Why Falling Pressures are Suitable for Fishing

why falling pressure are suitable for fishing

A change in pressure is always going to have an impact on how fish reacts.

And falling pressures are usually more suitable for fishermen. And that is for many reasons.

For instance: 

Lower Pressures Causing Discomfort

Fish can sense changes in air pressure and become uncomfortable as their swim bladders compress when the pressure is falling.

With more food available, feeding becomes more erratic and the fish more aggressive to optimize the abundance before conditions make feeding difficult.

Experienced fishermen use fast-moving baits and increase the speed of their presentation until the discomfort in their swim bladder slows the fish down, and now disinterested in food, they settle into deeper water. 

Low Pressure Bringing in a Cold Front

low pressure bringing in a cold front

The shallower the water, the more the fish are affected by the air pressure.

When a low pressure brings in a cold front, the water temperature falls and the light penetration is reduced.

In such a situation, the fish simply shut down.

They retreat to the depths and are reluctant to waste energy chasing food.

However, when the lowering pressures affect only the surface temperature of the water, the fish are reinvigorated, their appetites increase and their activity level spikes.  

The Pros and Cons of Fishing During a Low Pressure System

engaged in fishing while in low pressure

Fishing in times of persistent low pressure brings its own challenges.

Sediments are lifted off the bottom and rise to the surface, making individual fish harder to target.

Sediments sometimes rise further than they would normally do, particularly if the low pressure is accompanied by:

  • Rising water levels
  • Run off
  • A faster water flow

The result is murkier, fast-moving water that reduces visibility for both hunter and prey.

Fish are highly in tune with their environment and have special sensory organs.

The lateral line is a good example, as it helps them respond to changes in the air pressure, temperatures, currents, water clarity and light.

This gives them the best chance to hunt and successfully find food and ultimately, makes them fit for reproduction.

Fact: How high, or how low the air pressure gets isn’t really a factor, what is important to the fish is whether or not the pressure is moving and how fast it changes. 


Is high or low pressure better for fishing? The best pressure conditions for fishing are when the pressure is falling.

Although the low pressure will eventually slow the fish and reduce the rate at which they are feeding, this can take a couple of days.

There is good fishing again once the pressure is stable. Interestingly, fish will bite even in rainstorms.

All it takes is finding just the right bait.