I know with many types of fish, fishing early and late are the best times to fish, with mid-day being much less productive. I think I remember Lefty Kreh relating a similar story from his childhood in one of his books. I think that story referred to Bass though. I really can't remember
Are trout the same way or is their feeding activity based solely on water temperature? I've been told a few different things and would like to have some good common sense rules I can follow. Be on the water or off the water by..., or wait for the water temp to warm up to..., etc.
The best time to fish............when your line is in the water!
Sorry I couldn't help it, but seriously, the experts all say that dawn and dusk are very productive times to be on the water fishing, but in reality most fishermen have jobs or family responsibilities that doesn't make that possible so we tend to fish say 8 am to 5 pm.
Your question reminds me of a story Seth (qacwac) was relying to my the other day, he had hiked into this stream and fished all day and into the evening. As he was hiking out he said the trout were all up top feeding like crazy, it was a sight to behold, but very few on the water except for one group that was just hiking in, but they were there to chuck big streamers at the Browns.
First daylight will for the whole always be the best as the trouts natural predators (birds) will not be active yet. That is why fishing during the rain can be so good during the day as the rain shields the fish from their predators. During the winter in very cold water mid-day fishing can be better due to a slight increase in water temp. I am sure others will reply with more detailed info but this is a good start for you.
I keep getting told it's when they're biting. I've read a lot on water temps and when their food source is most active but my schedule doesn't allow me to only fish at ideal times. Like most fish if it's hot or really, really cold they aren't too active so I aim for air temps in the 30's to 70's and hope the water temps are cooperating. If they are higher I focus on other species. If they are lower I just keep casting and hope for the best.
It varies from day to day based on weather patterns, temperature and other things. I have had countless trips on the water pre dawn that was time wasted as the fish really got going around 10am. I have had pretty consistent action from 2pm on.
I've always gone on an early morning and late afternoon fishing schedule with other species. With trout, I know that water temperature plays into it more so than some other species.
One guide I know tells me to stay off the water early morning when the weather is cooler. This seems to sometimes go against my experiences. I'm also told that with trophy trout, early and late are always better. Lefty Kreh says the best water temps (depending on the type of fish - Brook, Brown or Rainbow Trout) are 52-65 degrees. Then I guess to complicate matters, the amount of sun and how clear the water is also affects the quality of the fishing.
So, is the answer to my question, Yes, with the caveat that colder temps, and bright sun with clear water can slow things down? And... overcast days and possibly rain (stealing info from another thread) can improve my fishing success?
Does this sound like a good set of basic rules to follow for deciding when is the best time to hit the water?
Location: beside the AuSable River in northern Michigan
Re: Is there a "Best" time of day to catch trout?
Most good trout streams/rivers are a lot like people-- they each have their own personality. My "home waters," for example-- northern Michigan's AuSable River --can be a fickle river to fish. As Flygrain mentioned, weather, water temps and the like can change the rules of the game within an hour's time, bringing off hatches where there were none an hour or two before, or shutting things down in a heartbeat.
I still love to fish the "first-light" hours and the peaceful twilight time of day. There's a great deal to be said for watching a river come to life with the sunrise, and then retire for the day as the sun settles into the western horizon. And, in both instances, you often have the river all to yourself, for as far as you can see...
Unless, of course, the "Hex" hatch is on, or we're in the midst of the infamous Flotillius Aluminus hatch. Then, all bets are off, fish or no fish...