As a fisherman with more than a quarter of a centuries worth of fishing experience, for me the answer to the question of when to fish used to be, “whenever I can”. Then, on a fishing trip with my Grandfather in Northern Ontario about fifteen years ago, something happened that made me question my answer to this often asked question. What’s interesting about this is that at the time of the fishing trip, nothing dawned on me other than the fact that I hooked and landed some very nice fish. It wasn’t until later, when I began to question if there were some times that were better for fishing than others that the realization came to me.
You see we had just gotten to our cabin and wanted to get some fishing in before the end of the day, so we quickly loaded up our boat and headed a couple of miles up river to troll one of our favorite bays, never even thinking about if this was a good or bad time to go fishing. As we were motoring down the main river channel I noticed a storm approaching from the north and wondered is we would get rained on before we got a chance to fish.
We didn’t, and withing five minutes had our #18 Rapala’s in the water and were trolling. As we made our first turn, we hooked and landed a very nice Pike. After letting our lures out again, within a few minutes I had hooked and landed a nice twenty or so inch Walleye. Within 15 minutes, we caught 3 more Walleye and had to head back, as darkness was approaching fast. I began to reel my lure in fast so that we could get the heck out of there, when I hooked something BIG. After a 30 minute or so fight, I landed a 42 inch Muskie. At this point it was all but dark and sprinkling rain, so we finally headed back to the cabin. It wasn’t until thinking about this fishing trip years later that I realized that the trip probably wasn’t just a “lucky day” as I had assumed it was for so many years.
You see I was researching a book about when to fish and trying to figure out if a “best” time to go fishing could be determined, when I started to put two and two together. I was learning that things like the weather, sun, moon, and barometric pressure all play a role in whether or not fish are likely to be feeding and when I applied these principles to that day in Ontario, I was beginning to see why we had caught so many fish.
First it was dusk when we were trolling. Second, a storm was approaching which means that the barometric pressure was likely falling. I have since learned that both of these things play a big role in whether or not fish are going to be feeding. I have also learned that the moon play’s a role as well, and although I don’t know for sure, I would bet that the moon was in it “new” phase for the month at the time of the trip as well.
The point here is that I now know that there is a best time to go fishing and “when to fish” has a lot more to due with controllable factors than simply relying on blind luck. All you have to do is educate yourself a little bit about the weather, the moon, the sun, and barometric pressure and how these factors influence fishing and you won’t have to wonder when to fish. You can get to a point that you almost know when.