Fishing in the Rain: Is It Best Before, During, or After?

Your quest for fishing shouldn’t end prematurely just because it starts raining. Some people prefer to take a U-turn and head back home, other anglers prefer to wait it out.

But you may not know that fishing in the rain can have plenty of rewards for those dedicated enough to brave the elements.

Clouds, for instance, mean you can see right through the water almost to the bottom of a shallow river or lake. What’s more, the rain washes many insects down the river banks, attracting hungry fish.

Using these conditions to your advantage could lead to more impressive catches. Keep reading to delve deeper into when it’s best to fish in the rain: before, during, or after.

Fishing Before the Rain

If you’re already at the fishing spot, clouds gathering shouldn’t be your cue to start packing. Before it rains, atmospheric pressure fluctuates, helping fish to tell that a storm is coming. That triggers increased activity as the fish start aggressively filling up on food.

Before the storm hits, you’ll have time to fill your fish buckets and row away to safety if you’re on the lake. With that in mind, set your fishing gear and bait properly, throw your fishing line into the water, and get to work. It’s going to be busy.

You’ll want to start fishing 12 hours or less before an approaching storm. At that point, plenty of fish will be on the surface, and it will take you less time and effort to get your catch.

Do Fish Know When There’s a Storm Coming?

Fish instinctively know when the weather is about to get worse. While humans use their eyes and instruments, fish use frequencies.

They have an inbuilt weather monitor in the form of a swim bladder. This organ facilitates respiratory function but also aids the fish in sensing changes in atmospheric pressure. It allows fish to sense even the slightest changes in weather.

Although it is accurate and precise, they still don’t know how long it will be before the storm calms, so they start filling up on food to be on the safe side.

Fishing During the Rain

Some anglers prefer perfect conditions, but fishing during the rain can be fruitful if you have the right gear and are safe. Indeed, if you’re an experienced angler, you’ll know that rain can often produce excellent catches.

Light rain means thousands of little droplets are hitting the surface of the water. That attracts curiosity, encouraging fish to come to the surface to discover what is happening.

Moreover, light rain can oxygenate, darken, and blur the water. When that happens, even large fish might move around close to the surface. They’ll want to swim in the water that carries more air but may struggle to tell how close they are to the surface because they can’t see clearly.

This development is your chance to thank the heavens and cast your fishing lines. Sure, you’ll get rained on, but the results could be enough consolation for your trouble after an hour or two.

Can You Fish During a Storm?

You can fish during light rain. But, it’s not advisable to do so during a storm. Thunderstorms, lightning, and heavy rain pose several challenges:

  • Some fishing rods are made from graphite or carbon, which may work as a lightning rod and leave you exposed to potential electrocution.
  • The fish avoids the rough surface of the water and shifts further down where it’s calmer.
  • Your health and well-being are at risk if you do not have the appropriate gear. You could also suffer complications from prolonged exposure to the cold.

Fishing After the Rain

You were able to tough it out, and the rain has passed. So what next? Well, fishing right after it rains can be fruitful, too.

The rain creates movement in the water, adjusting the current and increasing sediment runoff. So, more microorganisms and insects end up swimming around freely in the water. Their appearance is a welcome opportunity for the fish to feed, assuming it’s been raining for quite some time.

To increase your chances of success, find a spot on the lake or river where there’s plenty of runoff, near the creeks, spillways, and inlets. These locations are where the fish like to gather.

Tips for Fishing in the Rain

It may sound easy, but it takes a certain level of mastery to fish in the rain. Below are some tips to help you out.

Put on Weather-appropriate Gear

High-quality gear is not only waterproof but also durable and comfortable. The proper attire for fishing in the rain can keep you warm regardless of how long you’re in the elements.

Use Noise, Color, and Contrast in Your Favor

Rain turns the water muddy, reducing visibility and meaning fish can’t see the bait. With that in mind, choose brightly colored artificial/plastic bait that makes noise when it hits the water.

Crankbaits and popping corks are superb options. The fish will follow the sound and aim for what they can see.

Be Quick

You’ll need to be fast if you want to see results on your next trip.

Rain washes up many worms and insects down the river/lake, leading to fish getting super excited at the sudden abundance of food. Their feeding frenzy makes them particularly slippery to catch.

Fish in Shallow Water

When it rains, fish like to congregate on top water where their food is. Given that, stay on the river banks or in areas where the water is shallow to maximize your chances of a prize catch.

Adjust to the Circumstances

There are days when it rains, but the temperatures remain warm. In these cases, you can use routine fishing procedures. However, when there’s a sudden drop in temperature, consider using live bait and electronic devices to find fish.

Look Out for Birds

It can be challenging to figure out where the fish are when it’s raining and very windy. A simple trick is to look out for birds flying above the water. More likely than not, the spot where a bird dives will be where the fish are at.

What To Wear When Fishing in the Rain?

Fishing in the rain requires skill, but your efforts might be for naught if you don’t have the right gear and clothing. In this scenario, you have the skill and the right gear. But do you have the appropriate attire? Here’s what to wear when fishing in the rain.

Fishing Rain Suit

It’s not hard to find suitable protection, but with so many brands, how do you know which is better than the other? The trick is to look out for comfort, price, and quality.

The best fishing rain suit to tough out many rainy seasons should be made of quality material that doesn’t tear after one or two uses. The ideal material is going to be PVC, but Gore-Tex is also popular with anglers.

In addition, make sure the suit you get has enough zippers, buttons, and other fasteners that accommodate several purposes.

Boots or Boot Covers

Boots or boot covers keep your feet from getting wet or too cold in case you are fishing in the shallow areas of the lake or river where you’ll be standing.

Appropriate footwear also protects you from bugs and other harmful elements in and out of the water. You’ll want something lightweight and easy to get on.


Emergency coats or jackets are designed to protect you from the rain for a short period and can only be used a couple of times before they need to be replaced.

You’ll want to find a specialized rain jacket made from durable and protective material. Popular choices include Gore-Tex, eVent, and NeoShell, all of which offer excellent breathability.


The ideal pants for fishing in the rain should not be snug. Instead, they should be something easy to walk, stand, and bend on. There are many different types of pants, including waders, quick dry, and offshore. Waders and quick dry options are well-suited for lake and river conditions.

Whatever brand you choose, fishing pants should be breathable, durable, have accessible pockets, and multifunctional. Indeed, the best options will likely have various outdoor uses, including gardening, constructing, and painting.

Final Thoughts

Fishing in the rain: is it best before, during, or after? The answer varies based on experience and how prepared you are for the weather. How rain impacts fish behavior is what makes fishing on a rainy day better. Instead of getting frustrated when the weather is terrible, get excited because you might be about to make your biggest catch.

Just be sure to follow the tips and insights above to be best prepared for fishing in the rain. Dress appropriately, bring the right gear, and stay observant of the fish and weather patterns. Otherwise, you could ruin your trip if you underestimate the bad weather or fail to identify the right fishing location.

Tommy Bull
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