Anglers can agree on the fact that there are a lot of natural elements that can come into play that affect fishing. This includes currents, water and air temperatures, winds, the level of light that’s available, and the clarity of the water. But, one element which is most critical for an angler to understand, but is often unrecognized, is the barometric pressure. So, how does barometric pressure affect fishing?
If you’ve been fishing for a long time, then you must have experienced days of fishing when bites are nonstop then they’re followed by a day where you just couldn’t land any fish even when you fish the same areas and methods.
The extreme flip in the fishing action can most likely be due to the change in barometric pressure or the air or atmospheric pressure.
Barometric Pressure and Fishing
Barometric pressure, simply put, is the atmosphere’s weight as it presses down on the planet. It changes from low to high constantly.
When observing how barometric pressure affects fishing, how low or how high isn’t as crucial as what speed the pressure is changing and which direction it’s moving.
Fish can feel the air’s weight as it pressures on water. It senses the changes in the barometric pressure through the air in their organs, most especially in their swim bladders which control their buoyancy. Species with bigger swim bladders like salmon and trout are more sensitive to changes in the barometric pressure.
You may be wondering, how does barometric pressure affect fishing for ribbon fish, bass, crappie, dolly varden and walleye? These species are more active when the pressure shifts. If the pressure is high, they will push deeper into the water.
For walleye, in particular, falling or rising barometric pressure is the best time to attack your spinnerbait, crankbait, or swimbait. You can target their prime feeding areas so you can connect with hungry fish.
How Barometric Pressure Affects Fishing
You may still be confused on how pressure affects fishing, particularly how fish such as tilapia act and feed when there’s a change in the atmospheric pressure.
Let’s break it down into different periods so you know how to use your barometer as the gauge on whether or not it’s the best time for you to head out into the water.
Falling Barometric Pressure
Fish can sense if there’s an incoming storm a day before the storm arrives. This is when fish become aggressive as they know feeding when there’s a storm or low pressure can be quite a challenge.
You’ll see the barometer dropping as clouds start rolling in and bad weather approaches. Should you fish in such conditions, the best to use will be fast-moving baits.
When trolling a lake of massive size, use plugs or bucktails as they can cater to fish that’s aggressively feeding. Fishing when there’s falling barometric pressure will be very enjoyable.
When there’s low pressure, fish retreat into deeper waters. A reason why they do so is because they need to equalize the air in their swim bladders. Fishing will be very slow as there’s a lack of interest from fish.
During low pressure, fish are very uncomfortable. Fish that are in shallow water feel the result of the low pressure the most. Effective fishing techniques will be finesse presentations in deeper water.
When trolling fishing gear, downsize the lures. Fish won’t want to exert a lot of their energy in chasing your bait. If you’ll be fishing a river, try the nymph pattern drifting off the bottom in the slack water that’s at a run’s tail end.
In a small mountain lake, make use of small flies or blood worms and suspend off the bottom in deep water as this encourages opportunistic fish to bite.
How does barometric pressure affect fishing, particularly when the storm passes? When the barometric pressure starts rising again, the skies will be blue and there’s little to no wind.
Fishing will most definitely be slow still. Fish are forced to adapt to the change in atmospheric pressure. The feeding habits of fish will take at least a day to get back to normal.
Colder water temperatures will also have an impact on how long fish can adapt. A great thing about a storm front passing is there’s a lot of food for fish that’s washed into the water and fish are encouraged to feed on them. For instance, rain pushes various terrestrial insects into a river.
When fish start becoming active again, they’ll have lots of food to forage on. Use a terrestrial fly pattern so you can be successful. You may find fish stacked up in the same zone within a water column when the pressure is rising and you’re fishing in a large body of water.
This is an excellent time for you to try irritating them into striking with a lure that vibrates. Use irritant scents like anise or garlic as they aid in getting stubborn species to strike. Fishing near the water surface, if you’re on a large body of water, won’t be a good idea during this time.
So now, how does barometric pressure affect fishing when the pressure is stable? As soon as the atmospheric pressure stabilizes, fishing will go back to normal.
It’s a good time for you to try your hand at different fishing techniques as this is when fish go back to their usual feeding activities.
When the barometric pressure is stable, anglers need to focus on other elements like current or wind to determine where exactly fish can be found.
Hopefully, we have answered your query about how barometric pressure affects bluegill fishing. Forecasting the barometric pressure can be harder in comparison to forecasting the weather.
But, pay close attention to weather trends like the aforementioned as they will lead you in the right direction.
Through weather forecasts, you’ll be able to predict the pressure in the air and you can then plan your fishing adventure accordingly.