Trout do bite mid-day, but it’s not their prime feeding time. Usually, they spend the middle of the day in deeper water, waiting for lower light and cooler temperatures. They’ll eat if you can get your flies and lures in the perfect spot. Catching trout mid-day is not always easy.
Like most fish, trout are particular about when, where, and what they’ll eat. Numerous factors determine their diet and preferences. As anglers, we must learn what the trout want and how to target them. One of the main things to consider is the time of day you go after them. When you predict when they want to eat, you give yourself the best chance at success.
Mid-Day Trout Bite
While mornings and evenings are the primary feeding times for trout, mid-day doesn’t have to be when you give up and spend a few hours inside. With the proper techniques and time of year, you can have plenty of success landing trout in the middle of the day.
In the spring, you’ll find a solid trout bite in the middle of the day. The cold temperatures and challenging winter conditions slowed the trout’s metabolism, so they weren’t eating as much as they normally would.
As a result, once spring rolls around and temperatures get more comfortable, the trout are eager to eat.
Plus, spring temperatures aren’t as warm as the summer or fall, so hatches usually happen later than normal. You can find hatches starting around noon that trout are more than willing to eat.
Fishing the first few weeks of spring can be challenging because of runoff and inconsistent weather, but those calm windows usually mean perfect fishing. Plus, if you can get to the water before runoff begins, you’ll have even more success. Trout eat all day long right as those spring conditions start.
I still like to fish the deeper holes and cover and structure throughout the middle of a spring day. Whether drifting streamers through a pool or bouncing nymphs along a seam, I start at the bottom of the water column and work toward the surface.
The spring is the best time of year to catch trout during the middle of the day. Enjoy the change in weather and spend the entire day on the water.
Summer is the most challenging time to find a spring trout bite. Usually, the temperatures are warm, the sun is bright, and the fish are sluggish. Their metabolisms slow, and they retreat to the deepest, coolest water they can find.
Trout don’t like water over 65 degrees, so if the water near the surface stays too warm, they move deeper.
Plus, trout do not have eyelids, so they don’t like excess sun exposure. Their eyes are sensitive to the sunlight, and the deep water provides the necessary protection. They’ll hide under rocks or logs away from the bright sun.
If you can get your flies into the areas where the fish are holding during the middle of the day, you can catch them. Don’t use anything too large, but a simple drift of a nymph in the deep water is often exactly what the trout want.
As those temperatures warm late morning and throughout the afternoon, you must work hard to get a consistent bite. Focus on natural drifts and perfect casts. Also, use wet flies or lures unless you know the surface patterns work. A dry-dropper rig is an effective mid-day setup for fly anglers.
Fall, like spring, is another time of year when trout feed in the middle of the day. The summer temperatures have resided, and trout understand they must fatten up before winter strikes. The closer it gets to winter, the more trout feed throughout the day.
Usually, water levels are at their lowest in the fall, so trout don’t have as many areas to hide. If you can find a perfect holding area, you’ll find multiple fish in the same spot. A solid drift and proper bait will likely entice the fish to strike.
If the temperatures are especially cold, wait to go to the water until later in the morning. The hatches won’t start until the temperatures and surface of the water warm.
Early in my fishing career, I treated the fall like the summer. I’d head back to my truck, grab lunch, and nap from around noon to 4 p.m. It wasn’t until I decided to fish my way back to my truck instead of leaving the river that I learned trout feed throughout the entire day in the fall.
You’ll have to use finesse fishing methods, but you have a great chance of catching fish in the middle of the day in the fall.
The winter is tough to predict. Growing up in Minnesota, the trout streams didn’t freeze, but all the lakes did. When I was ice fishing for trout in the northern lakes, I could never predict when the trout would bite.
I’d catch trout in the morning, afternoon, evening, and the middle of the night. I learned that if trout find a food source, they’ll stay on it and feed regardless of the time. Trout sitting under the ice aren’t as eager to follow a routine as during warmer months.
Yes, the mornings and evenings are generally the most consistent fishing, but you don’t have to avoid the middle of the day when ice fishing for trout.
I found the middle of the day to be some of the best trout fishing in the streams and rivers. By the time midday hit, the hatches finally started. The feeding window was small due to the amount of light and warmth, but they happened. Sometimes, a hatch would start and end within 20 minutes. I’d catch four or five fish and then catch nothing until the middle of the next day.
In the winter, fish in the warmest part of the day. You’ll find that the bite is the most consistent, and they’re eager to feed during those small windows.
Trout are cold-blooded, so their body temperatures match the water temperature. In the winter, the water temperatures dip into the 40s, so trout’s blood hovers around their internal organs. They don’t move around as much as normal. You have to do more work to find them.
Once you do, you’ll catch fish as long as you fish slowly. The trout aren’t going to act as aggressive, so let your fly drift naturally. The less movement, the better.
The midday trout bite is a tough one to predict. I find that midday trout fishing is when I have to use all of my skills and techniques. Some days, I put little to no movement on my flies, which works like a charm. On other days, I must strip and move my flies around to coax a trout out of its hiding spot. With some patience and willingness to fail, you’ll find that trout fishing in the middle of the day isn’t as bad as many anglers say it is.