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Do Weather Changes Affect Fish Biting?

Updated on August 18, 2022
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Nolen is an avid kayak fisherman and has used Solunar tables to catch more fish over the years.

How Weather Affects Fish Biting

I've been a bass and catfish fisherman for several years and ever since I was a youngster I've heard stories told by the old-timers about how fishing was better right before a cold front or thunderstorms. As I grew older and began to notice how weather really affected fishing, I realized how spot on those old stories really were. For years now there has been a general consensus among anglers that weather changes affects fishing.

How do Fish Sense Weather Changes?

Fish of many species, from catfish to bass and even saltwater species living in bays seem to bite more before a big weather change, but why is that? Nobody really understood the connection between weather changes and fish biting activity until recently.

Recent studies have shown that when the barometer is falling, or when atmospheric air pressure falls, tiny bubbles of methane and other gasses are released from the bottom of lakes and streams. These upward traveling bubbles disturb tiny organisms and food in the water, causing smaller fish, and then larger ones to begin feeding.

While we don't see these micro-bubbles so much on the surface, fish toward the bottom do, and this helps to start a feeding cycle. That's one reason why you might do better catching fish some days rather than others. Another cycle that affects fish feeding is that of the moon. When lakes and rivers are bathed in late-night moonlight, fish may extend their feeding activity longer.

When this also coincides with a change in the weather, you may have some of the most ideal times to catch fish that are possible. Some of us have had those lucky days when just about any lure in the tackle box could catch something or another, followed by long dry spells. Now there are fishing charts, tables, and strategies that can help take the mystery out of just why fish go so crazy for food at some times vs. others.

A redfish or red drum. The large swim bladders in these fish may be affected by changes in barometric pressure.
A redfish or red drum. The large swim bladders in these fish may be affected by changes in barometric pressure.

Solunar Tables

Another Resource, Solunar Tables

A popular resource for fisherman who are interested in how lunar cycles affect fishing are the Solunar tables. You can often find these fish biting activity charts for free online. in 1926 John Alden Knight proposed a list of 33 factors that affected fishing, including sun, moon, weather, spawning and nesting, tides, etc., and began to formulate a table of ideal fishing times.

These same techniques remain in use today and when combined with local weather changes, (something no table can accurately predict), may be used to help find the perfect time to catch fish.

Keep a Fishing Logbook

I personally use the Solunar tables to plan my own fishing adventures, but I also consult the NOAA weather forecast to find out when the barometer will be rising or falling. I prefer to fish during a falling barometer, but this also sometimes coincides with the arrival of foul weather.

One good way to use both the Solunar tables and weather forecasts together, is to keep a logbook. I keep a simple logbook that notes the fishing forecast, along with the actual weather conditions that I experienced, and how many fish I caught (or not).

Often I find that what works in one body of water, such as on the Gulf Coast, may not work in a freshwater lake where I'm going for a different species of fish. Different species of fish seem to react differently to changing temperatures and barometric pressure changes.

Good luck and happy fishing!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Nolen Hart


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