As anglers, we’re more or less subject to the whims and fancies of the weather. In other words, we don’t get to pick what the weather does when we’re out on the water trying to get fish to bite.
So, what happens when we’re out fishing, and it becomes cloudy? Will overcast skies prevent fish from biting, thereby dampening our fishing experience?
These and more are questions we’ll help you answer in this article. In addition, we’ll also share some tips to help you get the best out of fishing on cloudy days.
So, let’s jump into it!
Is Fishing Better on Cloudy Days?
A cloudy day will mean less sunlight to work with while you’re angling. This can make finding fish much more challenging, not to mention they’d be less predictable.
But there’s a plus side too.
Overcast skies can make fish more likely to enter a feeding frenzy, improving their chances of biting your bait.
However, you’d have to find them first.
Figuring out which spots to fish on cloud is one of the essential keys to successful fishing when there is an overcast. This is because most fish will usually be out and about looking for food under cover of minimal sun. In light of this, moving baits or trolling are two of the most effective strategies to help you attract the scattered fish.
But, if you don’t get any bites in shallow water, you’ll typically enjoy a more rewarding fishing experience if you try the nearest deepest hole close to shallow waters.
Why Are Cloudy Days Good For Fishing?
Many anglers would argue that cloudy days are the best for fishing. However, while such claims have more to do with personal preference than hard facts, overcast skies offer some advantages for anglers.
Here are some benefits of finishing on cloudy days:
A Wider Variety of Fish Species
Since overcast skies mean less sunlight and reduced visibility, more fish are likely to be active and trying to feed.
The haziness makes them feel safer from predators.
You Can Usually Cast in Any Direction
Since more fish will be swimming around and looking for food in the water, you can cast your lines in any direction and expect a reasonable number of bites.
In other words, you’re more likely to catch more fish since you can cast lines in every direction.
Lower Chances of Fish Detecting You
Since there will be less natural light in the water and its surroundings, it will be more challenging for fish to see, much less detect your presence.
So, you can troll and send your lures without worrying about fish spotting you. But, of course, it is still an excellent idea to make yourself and your baits as hidden as possible.
While fishing in the summer can be exciting with all the brightness and colors, it can also get uncomfortable very fast due to heat and sweat. However, you wouldn’t have to worry about excessive sweating on overcast days as there is no hot sunlight.
This means you can stay on the water for longer and snag as much fish as possible. But, remember, it is still a good idea to always wear sunblock when you’re out fishing, even on cloudy days.
Do Fish Bite During Cloudy and Overcast Conditions?
The answer is yes!
Regardless of the time of day and weather, fish will try to feed as long as there is available food within reach. So, even on cloudy days, chances are several fish will bite your baits.
Besides, the more comfortable temperature encourages fish to roam freely, making them even more likely to bite.
However, cloudy conditions also make bass and several other species more challenging to see and locate. So, you may have your work cut out for you. But, not to worry, as long as these fish can see your lure, they will likely bite.
Pro tip? Use moving baits to draw out roaming fish rather than just fishing shady locations. This way, you can cover more water expanse and draw bites from fish that are trying to ambush other fish themselves.
Useful Tips for Overcast Fishing
If you find yourself on the water during cloudy days, most of the general fishing strategies will likely get you several catches. However, some more weather-specific tricks can help get the best out of fishing in cloud conditions.
Here are some tips that can come in handy when finishing under overcast skies:
Try Topwater Fishing
As the name implies, top water fishing refers to a method of fishing where your lures float on the water surface. Like swimbait fishing, topwater lures are also designed to resemble baitfish and follow a snake-like swimming motion when you reel them in.
Some topwater lures can come with built-in batteries that power LED lights, and other models can even make baitfish-like sounds.
Since the lower temperature and reduced visibility will encourage some gamefish to move higher in the water, topwater lures can provoke bites. However, you should note that some fish species are bottom feeders and will rarely come up for food.
Use Lures with Distinct Colors
One of the perks of fishing on days with overcast skies is that you can use colored fishing lures freely, as long as their colors are similar to water.
Pro tip? Darker-colored lures may be best in lower light, while baits with natural colors may be more effective when the water is clear.
That said, the type of lure you use and its color also depends on the fish species you’re targeting.
For instance, spinnerbaits always yield impressive results when fishing bass. On the other hand, square-bill crankbaits are the most popular choice for fishing on overcast days, regardless of the type of fish. This is because they work well in shallow waters and can bounce well in water, encouraging more bites.
In addition, lures that rattle or make noises are worth a try if you’re fishing in muddy waters. In such cases, sound can also draw your target fish in even when they can’t see well.
As a rule of thumb, moving baits usually work best when fishing on cloudy days.
Vary Your Retrieval Speed and Cadence
One of the more proven tricks for fishing in cloudy conditions is getting your target fish to respond to your baiting attempt. Remember, fish are opportunistic predators. In other words, when they detect an easy meal within reach, they almost always go for it!
Therefore, if you can make your fishing lures look like a wounded fish or appealing free meal, they would be unable to resist it.
An excellent way to do this is by varying your reeling speed and throwing in random jerks. Such motions resemble a struggling, injured fish and are very likely to get a reaction from your target fish.
You’d be surprised how well this trick works!
Use Dry Flies
Like topwater lures, using dry flies as bait at surface water level is a sure-fire way to get yourself more bites.
You see, dry flies resemble insects that land on top of the water and are a prime food attraction for fish. However, fly fish does require a lot of casting finesse from the angler as you’d be using heavier lines to throw much lighter objects. So, take the time to learn proper casting techniques so you can fish more effectively.
On the bright side, once you figure out how to cast dry-fly lines correctly, you’ll find that your fishing becomes much more rewarding, even in cloudy conditions. After all, many fish species will be closer to the surface and more than willing to bite.
Use Trolling Method
Trolling can also be a super-effective fishing method, especially in overcast sky conditions.
Here is a short description of trolling.
An angler practicing trolling will attach several baits to the rear of their boat and pull it along at varying speeds and motions. This way, the movement of the lures will resemble multiple possible injured baitfish swimming in the water.
Aside from making your lures more appealing to fish, a trolling motor alongside multiple baits will help cover more water expanse faster than a single rod can.
Pro tip? Try to maintain some distance between each lure of your troll line such that they are close enough to entangle a bit but not far enough to look artificial.
Also, varying the depths of your lures can make them look more natural and create a greater appeal to gamefish. Regarding your trolling speed, we recommend staying between 1.5 and 2.5 mph.
Target High-density Areas
One of the best ways to catch fish on cloudy days is to target areas with a high percentage of fish. In other words, set your bait in locations of the river or lake you are fishing where you are most likely to find the fish species you want.
An excellent strategy is to target where there is a lot of natural food and ample cover.
Here are some proven high-density fishing spots to consider:
- Creek channels
- Rock piles
- Tree sides or vegetative covers
Consider the Wind
Cloudy skies usually mean windy days too. However, there’s no telling how these winds will affect your fishing experience.
On the one hand, windy conditions may induce a feeding frenzy in some fish species. Furthermore, winds may also stir the water up and reduce visibility, which brings out the predator fish (your targets).
However, steering your boat and casting your lines may become too challenging if there is too much wind.
Pro tip? If you’re out fishing when it’s both cloud and windy, try to fish close to the river bank if the wind is blowing into it.
Often, the wind will pin baitfish and other foods against the bank while the larger fish will lurk around trying to take advantage. So, fishing there will likely get you more fish.