Fishing in The Rain – 5 Top Tips You Need to Know! (Expert Advice)
We’ve all been there before:
After setting up camp with your buddies on your favorite lake, you check the weather report and learn that fishing is almost certainly out of the question with a consistent rainstorm rolling in.
You’ve been waiting for weeks for this trip and now you may not get a chance to fish at all!
Such a situation may make you consider fishing in the rain, if only you had a few rain fishing tips to guide you.
The thought of standing out in the cold summer rain doesn’t sound extra exciting, does it?
Perhaps not at face value, but with a little practice and planning, you can take advantage of such crummy weather to increase your fish catch rate.
In fact, there are a few tips for fishing in the rain that even some veteran fishermen and women are beginning to implement.
After I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I knew that I needed to learn more about fishing in the rain if I wanted any hope of taking advantage of this region’s constant downpours.
I’ve learned a great deal from experts online and now I’m ready to pass on what I’ve learned with these 5 rain fishing tips.
Try these out and you’ll be reeling in bass during rainy weather in no time!
Tip #1: Check the Weather Reports
Though it seems only natural, you should always turn to a trusted weather source before setting out to fish (especially if you plan on boating out to your fishing spot).
If rain is in the forecast, you’ll know that it’s time to suit up in your Gore-tex rain suit and review your several rain fishing tips.
However, rain itself isn’t the only factor at play when it comes to taking advantage of foul weather.
In fact, fish are more likely go into a frenzy during a rainstorm due to changes in barometric pressure.
Rain tends to bring in so-called “low pressure” that causes fish to feel more comfortable at shallower depths. This, in turn, allows you to more easily snag them without having to maintain a deep cast.
While checking the weather reports, be sure to check an hour-by-hour analysis of the barometric pressure in your area.
Barometric pressure may change even before rain leaves your area. As a result, more atmospheric pressure will be exerted on the fish below the waves, causing them to dive deeper and become harder to catch.
Also, be sure to always check your weather reports for thunderstorms. While these storms often bring the greatest dips in barometric pressure, they are not worth pursuing given the inherent risk storms bring to folks holding long, thin fishing poles.
Tip #2: Take Advantage of Natural Features
Rainstorms often bring some winds due to changing atmospheric pressure levels.
These winds can agitate waters both above and below the surface, allowing you to fully take advantage of newly-energized movement patterns among the sub-surface fish, most notably as they move towards certain natural features.
For example, winds can push tiny prey creatures towards shorelines. In turn, hungry fish are likely to move toward locations like shorelines and docks where the waves break and their food source settles.
The same goes for wave breaks away from the shore, such as downed trees.
Other natural features, both near and away from the shore, can become more active with fish activity during rainy weather.
In particular, I’ve found submerged grass beds and areas shaded by low hanging branches to be particularly fruitful.
When casting around these features, be sure to cast away from the natural feature itself and slowly trail your lure towards the featured area. This provides time for a prospective fish to spot your colorful, contrasted lure while also preventing you from snagging your line on the aforementioned feature.
One noteworthy exception to this rule involves runoff locations, such as culvert pipes and creek inlets, where fish are bound to congregate when seasonal rains roll in.
First and foremost, these runoff locations create activity above and below the surface, which attracts the attention of fish outright.
Runoff spouts also dump in a fair amount temperature-altered water. If the rainwater is significantly colder than the standard water temperature, such fluctuation may attract more fish – especially bass – to the location.
The same goes for warm rain in cooler water temperatures, if you live in a region where that is common.
Tip #3: Use Colorful, Noisy Lures
Despite the common misconception, most fish are not colorblind. That being said, most are not as sensitive to color as humans, for example, unless that color catches their eye and reminds them of their food source.
During rainy conditions especially, using a colorful or flashy lure may be the difference between a big haul and punt return.
While colorful lures can be effective, this factor can be doubled in some locations due to a decrease in visibility in lakes during rainstorms.
Much of this cloudiness is caused by water agitation and runoff, which has a tendency to drop dirt particles into the lake that cannot settle out until the rain ends. A colorful lure may help your bait cut through the underwater fog, bringing it to the attention of a prime catch.
Color alone may not be effective though, especially if there is a lot of rain and runoff at your fishing location.
On such an occasion, I recommend trying out sound-based lures to help your auditorily-sensitive fish track their prey by ear. In particular, I have found crankbaits and popping corks to be particularly effective in reeling in bass during a rainstorm.
Tip #4: Take Advantage of Increased Activity
Though it’s more of a general tip for fishing in the rain, consider how you can best take advantage of the increased activity that is bound to occur among your local fish population when rains roll in.
These efforts should be as targeted at your desired catch as possible, though there are some general trends among all fish in rainy weather.
First, remember that rainy weather can trigger many fish species to hunt for prey in their desired locations. In some cases, this can include closer to the surface due to a decreased atmospheric burden as well as a decreased likelihood of predators appearing from above the surface.
With regards to leveraging fish feeding times, be sure to provide some kind of bait or lure that will attract a fish away from all of its stationary, easy-to-catch prey. This may involve giving the fish a bit of a challenge, with an option like jerkbait.
This can lead to some powerful strikes if you play your cards right.
Also, keep in mind that an active, rain-speckled lake surface means that you have more leeway when it comes to casting out. Because of the constant bombardment, fish are less likely to differentiate your line hitting the surface from the rest of the rain.
However, this convenience comes with a drawback: active waters require fishermen and women to fish much faster than usual.
This is because fish are more likely to quickly lose their attention in their frenzy to eat or find more comfortable waters. As such, you should throw more lures out and retrieve them quicker. Also, you may consider moving those lures faster by keeping your rod point close to the surface.
Tip #5: Always Put Your Safety First
Whether you’re fishing from a boat or from the shoreline, there are always safety concerns you should keep in mind when choosing to rain fish.
Some of these safety threats can be obvious – like slick boat surfaces and exposure – while others require some extra planning to avoid.
While you may rain fish safely with children and young adults, be sure to review fishing safety procedures before doing so and reemphasize their need remain vigilant during adverse weather conditions.
Always be sure your rain fishing guests (and yourself) are dressed for the weather, including a full rain suit, hat, and rainproof shoes.
Under regular circumstances, rain itself won’t pose a direct threat to you beyond your comfort level.
However, an imposing thunderstorm can put you at a heightened risk for injury – especially if you are holding a long, thin rode up in the air. As such, be sure to check your weather reports in advance and keep your ears peeled for incoming thunder and signs of an incoming storm.
All in all, these rain fishing tips won’t do you any good if you are putting yourself and others in danger in order to snag a few extra fish.
Make safety a priority when you decide to venture out and catch fish in the rain.
If you’re looking for more information on rain fishing, you should check out the following video covering fishing before, during, and after a rainstorm:
The Bottom Line
In the end, fishing in the rain is well worth the hassle.
Though it takes some adjustment in terms of technique and level of comfort, these rain fishing tips can really help you make a breakthrough on your rain-activated lake.
As long as you prepare properly and take advantage of the altered fishing environment, you’ll be able to real in a great number of fish while the rain pours down.
I’ve had numerous great rain fishing experiences now and I would love to hear about your first rain fishing experience, as well. If you have any special tips or tricks for rain fishermen and women, be sure to include them in comments below.