What Time of Day Are Trout Most Active

Trout fishing is a rewarding sport that you can enjoy outdoors with your friends and family. However, finding the best time to go trout fishing can be challenging. Different trout species live in other water bodies, and optimal times for catching them vary. With this, planning your fishing trip can make it more successful. Do you wonder what time active trout goes out? Read on to know better.

Most anglers choose to go trout fishing from late morning through mid-afternoon. But doing so can only give minimal catch. Now, you might ask, “what time of day are trout most active?”

The short and simple answer is early morning and late afternoon. Yet, there are also other things that you should consider if you’re planning to go trout fishing, including water temperature.

With this, you must keep these things in mind to make your fishing trip more enjoyable and successful. In today’s article, we’ll discuss the best time for trout fishing. We’ll also include some tips to help you plan your fishing trip better. So, if you want to know more about the best time for trout fishing, continue reading.

What Time of Day Is Best for Trout Fishing?

As mentioned earlier, the best time to go trout fishing is from early morning and late afternoon. There are specific time frames that you should remember. The first best time for trout fishing is early morning, from dawn through 2 hours after sunrise. So, you can also enjoy a successful catch during the late afternoon, from three hours before sunset through dusk.

Keep in mind that the success rates for trout fishing will also depend on the season. Here’s what you have to remember if you’re fishing for trout during different seasons.


Fishing during the spring is one of the most popular activities you can enjoy during the season. Fish are hungry because of the winter and are very eager to eat. More so, water temperature also warms up during the spring. Which increases trout’s metabolism. In turn, trout are more actively feeding.

Now, trout fishing during the spring has high success rates in midday, especially during the early-mid spring seasons. Since the water is still cold, trout will be more active during the warmest times of the day.


Besides swimming, another outdoor activity during the summer is trout fishing. Because summer promises warm waters, insects become more active. As a result, trout are very actively feeding during the late spring and early summer. But, keep in mind that trout also feed during the summer mid-day.

With this, the best time for trout fishing in the summer is at dawn and dusk, especially on warmer days. Besides, nighttime fishing is excellent for catching big trout, so we recommend it if it’s legal where you are. 


If trout fishing during the summer and spring gives you a big catch, fishing in fall guarantees even more trout. One reason for this is because trout feeds again to prepare for the long winter. The water temperature is also excellent for this outdoor activity.

Now, the best time to go trout fishing on a fall day is at dusk and dawn. On the other hand, the time slowly shifts as you go into the late fall season. The best time for fishing is midday during the late fall, from mid-October to the season’s end.


Generally, trout aren’t that active in the winter. Because trout are cold-blooded, the water temperature in the winter slows down their metabolism. Thus, trout don’t actively feed during the winter and will find a safe place to hide during the season. Yet, some trout species are active in the winter, including the steelhead.

If you’re asking the best time for trout fishing in the winter, the answer is midday to the afternoon. Of course, fewer cold days give you more catch because the weather is not as cold.

Can You Catch Trout in the Middle of the Day?

Catching trout in the middle of the day is possible. However, other things affect the success rate of trout fishing in the middle of the day. Like we’ve said, the best time to go trout fishing depends on many factors. Thus, your catch during the middle of the day may change, depending on these factors.

If you want to trout fish in the middle of the day, here are the things you have to remember:

  • Trout are most actively feeding when the water temperature is comfortable for them. Generally, these temperatures range from 34 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Trout are also feeding as the temperature rises one degree from 40, 45, and 49 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, checking the water temperature every hour can help with trout fishing.
  • Because trout don’t have eyelids, they look for shade to avoid bright lights and sunlight. If you can, go trout fishing where it’s cloudy. This way, the water is a little cooler, and the trout don’t hide from the sunlight. 
  • If the temperature is uncomfortable for you, the same goes for the trout. So, avoid going fishing if the temperature is below freezing or too hot.

Can You Catch Trout Anytime of the Day?

The short and simple answer is yes. You can catch trout any time of the day. But, don’t forget that there are other considerations you have to make. For instance, the body of water you’re fishing in plays a significant role in your success.

Depending on where you’re fishing, here are the times of day you should go fishing for trout.

Lakes and Reservoirs

Big bodies of water, like lakes and reservoirs, have cool and deep water. Because of this, you will be successful in fishing in these waters during the summer, and depth doesn’t matter. Trout are actively feeding in cool waters during the summer, so they’re easier to find.

Summer can be an excellent season to fish in lakes and reservoirs, particularly during the morning and evening. Generally, the worst time to go trout fishing in these waters is at night. This is because they won’t be able to see food as clearly as daytime. 


The condition of the pond water changes throughout the day because it’s affected by changes in temperature and sunlight. As mentioned, trout like cooler water with more dissolved oxygen and less intense sunlight. So, the worst time for trout fishing in ponds is midday. On the other hand, the best time to do so is early morning and late afternoon.

Trout fishing can also be great at night when there’s a full moon when there are many insects.

Streams and Rivers

Unlike lakes and ponds, streams and rivers have cooler water. Trout in these bodies of water are generally inactive during the middle of the day. Direct sunlight can be harmful to trout’s eyes, so they look for a place where there’s less brightness.

Because of this, midday can be an excellent time for fishing, but only if there’s cloudy or rainy weather. The best time of day to fish in streams and rivers is early morning. Additionally, you can also do this in the late afternoon.

Are Trout More Active at Night?

During the nighttime, trout have more difficulties seeing prey. While their eyes work great during the early morning and late afternoon, they don’t see enough light at night. Though this is the case, trout still actively feed during the night as long as they can sense their food.

If you’re planning to fish for trout at night, the best time to go is when there’s bright moonlight. Generally, these nights occur when there are ¾ and full moons, as these produce the most moonlight. This allows the trout to see better at nighttime, allowing you to catch more fish at this time of day.

Besides this, here are some tips you might want to use for your nighttime trout fishing trip:

  • Remember that your safety is a priority.

Whether you’re fishing in the day or nighttime, keep in mind that your safety should be your top priority. If you’re planning to go fishing at night, ensure that you’re wearing a PFD, wading belt, and a wading staff. Additionally, inform your friends and loved ones of your itinerary.

  • Bring a lamp with red and white lights.

One tool that you shouldn’t forget to bring to a night fishing trip is a headlamp. You can find these at Home Depot, but you can also use a mountaineering headlamp if that’s what you have.

So, why a red light? Red lights don’t emit a blinding flash as white lights do. This way, you’re more comfortable and don’t get shocked by a blinding light.

  • If possible, use a glow-in-the-dark fly line.

Yes, there are glow-in-the-dark fly lines. While they can be expensive, they’re worth investing in, especially if you go night fishing often. Not only that, but these lines also make it easier for you to monitor your line.

  • Use heavy fly rods.

While a 5-weight helps you catch trout during the day, a heavier rod is beneficial if you’re catching larger fish. Generally, nighttime anglers use 70weight fly rods, especially for rainbow and brown trout. However, you can also use an 8-weight or 9-weight if you’re aiming to catch true monsters.

Final Thoughts

Trout fishing is an enjoyable outdoor activity, no matter the season. However, the amount of fish you catch can be affected by a variety of factors. With this, it’s best to plan your fishing trip thoroughly, depending on your situation. Also, remember the tips that we’ve provided so that your fishing trip can be successful and your catch is hefty.

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