When fishing season arrives, I am anxious to get out there – it’s time for my buddies and I to get our line in the water and land a few trout. I’ve noticed the day before or the morning of a rain fall, a few of my buddies are reluctant to stick to our fishing plans. Some of them believe it’s not worth it and that getting any bites will be few and far between.
Trout feeding activity increases during rainfall and you can have great success during a day out in the rain. However, choosing the right bait, fly or lure, and selecting the right parts of the water to cast to among other variables come into play.
If you want to know all the ins and outs of fishing for trout in the rain, keep on reading!
Cloudy Rainy Weather vs. Sunny Weather
I’ve caught my fair share of trout on a sunny day but have had better luck on a cloudy or cloudy and rainy day.
I don’t wait for a rainy day in order to go fishing for trout but when the opportunity arises it get’s me even more excited and hopeful to land a personal best or just a beautiful looking trout.
Usually I can plan and know when I will have time to fish and will check the weather updates. If it’s going to be a nice day, I’ll go out in the first few hours of day light, or the last few hours of daylight. Sometimes both in one day. These are the best times to fish for trout on a nice day.
Whenever the rainy conditions are in store, I’ll go out in the morning but if time permits, I will stay out all day long.
Why is fishing in the rain more beneficial versus clear sunny skies?
Being someone who likes peace and quiet, my easy answer is that less people are out doing the same thing.
On a more reasonable perspective shared among anglers that has passed the test of time, in sunny conditions trout are able to see you or your shape moving along the bank and can also identify your fishing line or leader much easier, spooking them into cover.
In rainy conditions, the visibility is reduced with the rain hitting the water resulting in the trout feeling safer. The sun will expose them to predators such as birds, so they tend to play it safe and hide in certain areas, but with rain hitting the water they are likely to increase their feeding habits and expose themselves to do so.
Adding to the case that fishing for trout in the rain is as effective or more effective than in clear conditions, are that insects in which trout eat are more active or plentiful in the rain as they get washed into the water off the bank. Adding to this, aquatic species are also disturbed creating another appetizing dinner trout cannot resist.
Lastly, in months such as July and August when the weather has been extremely nice, and the water is low with no movement there tends to be a depletion of oxygen in the water. When the downpour starts, the oxygen amount changes, and the rainwater cools the water off – this can activate a stagnant trout.
Applying the thought process above for any type of rain condition won’t always be effective. Let’s look more into the different rain conditions we encounter as anglers:
Light Rain or Drizzle Conditions
Trout season can bring many rainy days and as mentioned above, the rain can cool off a rather warm body of water and increase trout activity.
However, if the rainfall is too light or is jus a mist, chances are this won’t reduce your visibility on the bank or reduce the ability of the trout to see your line. This also isn’t enough for a flying predator to stop hunting for prey and trout will recognize this by seeing the predator monitoring above.
The benefits of this situation are that if the rain increases, then your chances also increase. If the rain stops, then you also have a great window of opportunity to hook one on that was planning on feeding off a fresh insect introduced to the water by the rain.
Heavy rain conditions are great to reduce the trout’s visibility – that of you, your line/leader and predators from above. If the rain stops, just like in light rain conditions this is an even greater opportunity. Heavy rainfall means a BIG feast for trout.
Everything we’ve discussed here now applies – reduced visibility, better feeding and less chance for trout to be spooked.
Best Lures/Bait/Flies to Use in The Rain
If I’m using a spin reel, there are 2 different approaches I stick to that are dependable options. The first, is a traditional worm + spinner combo. Most, including myself prefer the Double Indiana Gold Hildebrandt spinner but any gold double blade spinner will do. The setup for this is to connect the gold blade spinner to the snap of the swivel and then latch a pre-tied snelled hook to the end of the spinner. I prefer to use a size 5 or 6 Mustad Pre-tied Hook Lastly, slide your worm onto the hook.
Here is a diagram on how this should look:
A second option when trout fishing in the rain is a spinner lure such as the Mepps Aglia below. If you’re casting in deep water or long distance, a heavier spinner will be your best. Shorter casts in shallow water a lighter spinner is the better choice. I always go with a gold blade attachment with a darker body and dark blue or brown dressing:
For more on trout lures, check out 7 Dominant Trout Lures That Increase Bites.
On the other hand, if I’m fly fishing in the rain I feel as though I have more freedom on which fly I should or want to use.
Worms come out in the rain and can be pushed into the water, so just like spin fishing worms are a great selection – go with the San Juan worm.
Another reliable fly is the nymph rig setup. During rainfall, darker colors are preferred to contrast against overcast skies but with the nymph rig and it’s sub level range, you can add brighter colors if you find the water clarity is reducing.
When I find I don’t have much action with these I’ll switch to a woolly bugger with a black bead head and finish off the day this way.
Where to find trout in the rain?
Since a lot of insects come off the bank into the water when it rains, this is one indication of where to find trout. This isn’t always the case though, as trout also like slow moving water in the rain. So it’s best to find a combination of the two. Look for pockets of slow-moving water.
Trout feel more comfortable moving around in the rain since predators above have reduced visibility, so it’s ideal to cover as much water as you can along the banks.
The Bottom Line – Trout Fishing In The Rain – Is It Worth It?
Trout fishing in the rain can be rewarding especially if you’re willing to put in the word of covering as much water as possible. You might even have so much success that rainy days become your favorite fishing days.
Using worms or the always popular spinner can increase your chances when spin fishing. Fly fishing can bring bites as well by trying different flies until you find what the trout are eating.
Remember, combine your bait, lure or fly choice with slow pockets of water for the best approach and send your buddies the pictures of your catch so they will make it out next time!