How Weather Affects Fishing

By KBJR News 1

May 14, 2012 Updated May 14, 2012 at 8:00 AM CDT

Pressure changes, wind, and cloud cover are all things every angler takes note of before heading on to the lake.
High pressure systems usually indicate sunny skies and calm winds, perfect for catching rays, but not so perfect for catching fish.

Chris Kavanaugh, the Grand Rapids Fisheries Supervisor said, "When we go into a high pressure system like that sometimes the fish will shut down a little bit, and tend not to bite as much, maybe they are just not as active."

Somehow fish are able to pick up on the air pressure and most anglers tend to agree that high pressure can turn the fish off of biting.

"When you think about it, we talk about these high pressure systems coming in and again, these fish have that sense, you can feel that in the water, that's definitely going to have an effect on if they are going to eat or not." says Jay Walker, the Director of Operations at the Duluth Aquarium.

Low pressure systems usually are associated with cloudier skies and stronger winds.
Predatory fish, such as the walleye, use darkness to their advantage during a hunt. On a cloudy day there is less light, which gives anglers high hopes of landing the big one.

Kavanaugh said, "Walleyes are very sensitive to intense light situations, so they feed best under low light conditions, so on a cloudy day or a windy day where there is a little chop on the water they tend to be a little more active."

Air pressure is directly associated with wind patterns.
In the atmosphere, air is drawn from high pressure to low pressure, creating the winds.

"As a kid growing up my dad always would say, when the wind's from the west fishin's the best, when the winds are from the east fishing is the least." said Kavanaugh.

There are two main weather patterns that give us an east wind. The first is the clockwise flow of air from a high pressure to our south.
The second is the counterclockwise flow of air from a low pressure system to our north.

Kavanaugh says"They must be able to sense something with that barometric pressure, which is kind of interesting when you consider the fish is below the surface of the water and they are under some pressure's there already so subtle changes in the air pressure to trigger a bite or movement is kind of a mystery."

It is also thought that the moon phase plays a role in fish activity.
This weekend moon conditions will be good for an active fishing opener.
But the best moon phase for active fishing will be May 18–22.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch for The Northlands News Center