In times past, going fishing meant getting up at the crack of dawn so you could be fishing by the time the fish woke up and were looking for breakfast. Now, we know that you do not need to do this, unless you want to, because you can catch fish in the middle of the day with the right approach. It is true that fish are most active and looking for food at dawn, and even dusk, but fish do eat at any time of the day. During the middle of the day, they are more likely to seek cover, so it makes them easier to locate in these locations.
Fish Active During the Middle of the Day
During the midday heat, you are most likely to find trout, walleye, panfish, and bass. The warm, sun-lit water makes the fish more docile and the available oxygen is reduced in the warmer water. The trick to catching fish in the middle of the day is to locate where the cooler water is, which is where you will find the fish congregating so all you need to do is rev up their feeding activity. There are two ways in which to do this.
Fishing in Deep Locations
On sunny days, some would rather go deep underwater than stay in the shallow water. Some of these fish include walleye, catfish, and lake trout. To locate where these fish are hiding you will need a topographic lake map or fishing electronics to find their hiding spots. You need to find where the channels, plateaus, drop-offs, and boulders are located. The reason is that fish that congregate by these features will follow large shoals of bait.
- Walleye — during the middle of the day, you can use leeches, trolling, night crawlers, or deep-water crankbaits along a channel to catch them. Downriggers are not necessary unless you are fishing deep. You should use a 20-pound braided line to help prevent unneeded stretch.
- Catfish — for this fish, trolling would not be a good solution because sometimes they go very deep in the water. You should mainly focus on channels in a river or reservoir. Their bites can be subtle and many times you do not know you have a bite until your fishing line starts to slowly move upstream. Drop bait like bluegill or chicken liver to the edge of the channels. You will need to watch your line closely because of their subtle bite. For your rig, use a 3-ounce weight, medium circle hook, and braided test line between 25-40 pounds.
- Trout — this covers the lake, brown, rainbow, etc because all of them seem to love deep water rises and drops. They enjoy anything that will break up the current flow and can pass bait by them. Lake trout prefers channels or the bottoms, where you will also find browns and rainbow trout. They like the bottom as there they can follow schools of minnows and shad. To catch trout, use full dead bait like shad, heavy spoons, and plugs dropped 20-40 feet down. Downriggers may be needed to keep the bait deep enough but it all depends on the current and depth.
- Muskies — to catch these fish troll heavy bucktails, dead bait, or plugs through where they are. You should use plugs that have great color and are not smaller than six inches. You should choose colors like yellow perch, black, red, or silver. Do not use the monofilament line and use heavy tackle. Make sure that you use a strong wire leader when fishing for muskies. Drop your bait along the edge of a structure or drop-off at least 15-30 feet deep. Use trolling speeds of 5-10 mph. You may also catch lake trout or pike using this method.
Fish in Covered Areas
This means that the areas you should focus on to find fish midday are overt structures that provide fish safety from other fish and shade from the sun. This water will be cooler than the water that is sun-it. The baitfish will also seek cover, which in turn will draw in the walleye and bass. On sunny days, this will be your fishing hot spot of feeding activity.
You should also focus on sunken timber, boulders, weeds, rooted banks, and lily pads. Workaround these structures using spinners, plastics, and crankbait. To catch the bigger fish, use medium tackle. If you are trying to catch bass, use a braided test line of 15-20 pounds. With teeth like the pike and walleye have, you need to use a strong wire leader.
Another good spot to maybe catch these fish is the deep edges of cattails. Underwater though, they do not afford small baitfish very good hiding places so you may not catch too many there. The flat edges of reeds are more of a wall than a hiding spot but if there are no other hiding places the fish will use the cattails.
If you are using a boat to catch fish in the middle of the day, trolling is one of the best options. This is when you drag a hook and line through the water as your boat moves slowly across the water. When trolling you should use flashy or spin lures to get the fishes’ attention. Remember that during the middle of the day, the fish are trying to keep cool so they are going to be at least 10-15 feet deeper than they would be earlier in the morning.
Make sure that you are not going too fast because the fish might not have time to bite as the lure goes by or the fish are frightened away. If you go too slowly, you may not catch the attention of the fish so you may have to try different speeds until you find the one that works. Sometimes a strong drift is too fast for the fish!
Yes, you can catch fish in the middle of the day. It’s just a different mindset of how to fish and to remember that the fish are going to be deeper down in the cooler waters. It may take you a little longer to catch them but you can catch fish at this time.