Are Fish Attracted to Light at Night?

Use underwater green glow light to attract fish.

Right off the bat, the answer is yes. Incorporating artificial lights when you can fish at night can significantly improve the chances of getting fish to bite your bait.

You see, some fish possess physiological wiring that attracts them to light (much like moths to a flame). So, by creating a light source in the water, you can make your fishing so much easier and more productive as the fish will come to you.

However, sometimes it is not about you attracting the fish you’re trying to catch with the lights. Not to worry, we’ll explain.

Even if the specific fish you’re hunting does not have as much attraction to lights as others, fishing lights always draw plankton and smaller baitfish, which are food for larger fishes. So, the large gamefish you want may come seeking food and bite on your hooks if they offer a greater appeal.

Regardless of your fishing routine, using underwater LED lights will work to attract fish to your bait and hook. Even ice anglers can use them!

But, you should note that fishing lights are more effective for saltwater species as they are more likely to move towards light sources. Nevertheless, underwater LED lights can also improve your chances when you’re fishing in freshwater.

How Does Light Attract Fish?

The attraction of fish to light follows the natural order of the aquatic food chain and is very straightforward.

When you introduce artificial lights into the water at night, the lights will first attract tiny microorganisms such as plankton and even bacteria. Then, smaller baitfish will follow to feed on the little foods swarming around the light.

Next come larger schools of baitfish such as mullet, shiners, shad, squid, alewives, and herrings — depending on whether you’re in saltwater or freshwater. After some time, the congregation of these large baitfish will call the attention of bigger gamefish (your targets), and they’ll move in to try and take some food for themselves.

However, gamefish will usually not come directly into the light as they don’t want to expose themselves. So instead, they’ll hang (or swim) around in the shadows around the light and try to pick out baitfish swimming in the illuminated water.

This is where the appeal of your fishing baits comes into play.

What Color Light Attracts Fish?

The natural color lights with higher contrast will more likely attract fish than the colors. 

One size does not fit all when it comes to underwater fishing lights. However, many anglers swear the green lights work best for night fishing as they always seem to do the trick.

That said, underwater LED lights for fishing usually come in three common colors — blue, green, and white. While green is by far the most popular choice, the other colors have some specific advantages.

For instance, blue light usually works well in much deeper waters and can even be effective during the day too. Furthermore, placing white lights directly under your boat may do the trick if you’re fishing in the ocean.

However, we should also tell you that white lights can sometimes spook the fish you’re trying to catch. But on the plus side, it can also disorient or temporarily blind some fish, making it easier to catch them. 

Interestingly, red underwater lights also have some advantages for nighttime fishing.

Experts have found that some specific fish — such as mackerel and sardines — really like lights with the color red. Besides, red light can also make some fish less active and quieter, which can be a massive advantage if you’re fishing with nets.

That said, not all fish are phototropic. In other words, some fish are not attracted to lights and may even go out of their way to avoid them. So, depending on the fish you’re trying to catch, using lights may not do the trick.

Which Fish Are Attracted to Lights?

Most fish are instinctively curious about lights that suddenly appear in otherwise pitch darkness. So, if you’re using underwater fishing lights during your nighttime fishing, there is no telling what you’ll attract.

However, if you’re fishing in saltwater, some popular fish that will fish towards your underwater LED lights are snook, redfish, grouper, drum, mahi-mahi, flounders, and sharks. On the other hand, some easy freshwater targets include crappies, carp, bass, catfish, walleye, and trout.

That said, the gamefish that come towards your underwater lights primarily depend on the smaller baitfish that first arrive on the scene. After all, they are what draw in your target fish.

Can Light from Glow Sticks Attract Fish to Bute? 

The answer is yes — using glow sticks will attract some fish if you’re fishing at night.

However, glow sticks may not be as effective as larger artificial lights as those can light up a more extensive water area and penetrate deeper into the darkness. 

Nonetheless, glow sticks are worth trying if they are all you have. They’ll improve your fish chances by some mark but will not get you the more impressive results of a dedicated underwater LED light.

Do Lights Attract Fish During Winter Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing is usually a more significant challenge as fish generally dive deep into their wintering holes to search for warmer water. As a result, you’ll have to do a lot of hole-hopping to locate fish holes.

However, fishing on the ice at night is even more demanding as fish slow down after dark and may dive even deeper until sunrise.

But, if you set up your fishing rig in a good location and throw some underwater LED lights into the mix, you can significantly improve the catch you come up with when the night is over. This is because the lights will help you draw in some fish and eliminate the hole-hopping part of the operation.

Some fish species that respond well to underwater fishing lights when you’re ice fishing at night include crappie, trout, perch, walleye, and catfish.

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