Best Time To Fly Fish For Trout: Complete Guide

Trout are an extremely fun, but challenging species to try catch.  They have many different feeding patterns and are picky eaters at times.  There are definitely times that are better to fly fish for trout than others, so that’s the topic of this article.

Now, being that I enjoy trout fishing, I spend a lot of time on the rivers and streams.  I’ve also learned that having somewhat of an understanding on trout feeding habits and other key knowledge on trout can really help you out on the river.

Best Time To Fly Fish For Trout

The best season to catch trout in is late spring.  The best water temperature for trout fishing is temperatures in the ranges of 55 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.  The best time of day to catch trout is in the morning or afternoons t0o late evening.  Weather-wise, overcast and rainy days are great days to catch a lot of fish. 

Fishing for trout is probably the most exciting adventures for an avid outdoorsman.  But if you can only get out a couple times in a month, or you don’t want to waste time on the river, you can actually pick and choose really awesome times to try and catch trout!

Best Season For Trout Fishing 

Trout can be caught throughout the entire year, but the best season to catch trout is in the spring.  Right before the summer wave of anglers hit the fishing holes.  The water temperature is just heating up to the right point where you can actually time your trips to the river, and the trout aren’t necessarily spooking when they see flies and hooks.  When the summertime comes, a lot of fly anglers will rush to get out to the water and the trout then become weary.

Depending on the type of trout that you are fishing for, some species such as the Rainbow Trout are spawning in late spring and early summer.  If you can get out in late spring and try nail some Rainbows on flies, your chances of success are going to increase compared to going in the middle of the summer.

Bottom line, early to late spring is the best season to fly fish for trout because the trout are going to be less pressured and the water temperature is going to be right for timing trout feeding times.

Water Temperature

There is an ideal water temperature range for fly fishing trout.  You don’t want the water to be too cold or too hot, but just right in the middle.  Most species of trout are going to be eating and moving around in the temperature range from 45 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit…  This is when you should get off your butt and get out to the fishing hole!  If you have the right flies and know some of the basics to fly fishing, you’ll most likely end up with a bucket full of fish!

Now, if the water temperature are way cooler or hotter than the average feeding ranges, your chances of catching trout are going to significantly decrease.  But that’s ok, sometimes a little practice on the river never hurt anyone!  And who knows, maybe something snatches your fly up!

This graph shows what the best water temperature ranges are for trout fishing.

Related: The Ten Most Popular Brook Trout Flies of All Time

Best Time of Day

The best time of day to fly fish for trout is going to be in the morning or evening, typically.  That’s because trout eyes are very sensitive to bright lights so they would rather just chill during the bright hours of the day and feed in the dimmer hours.  This is so they can actually see what they are eating.

That being said, if you are fishing throughout the entire day look, for areas of shade to find the trout hanging out in.  Especially if you are stream fishing, find a pool of water in the shade with a current flowing past it.  Drop a fly in current and watch the trout gobble your fly up as it floats past.

Best Moon Phase  

Fly fishing at night can be very lucrative for you, if you enjoy fishing in the dark!  The trout will still be biting if the water temperature is in their preferred temperature range for feeding.  It quite honestly might actually be one of the hottest times of the day to fly fish for trout.  The only issue is that you can’t really fish with a headlight because the fish will spook very easily.

That’s where the moon phase comes into play.  The best moon phase for trout fishing is during the full moon, or days of the month within a couple days of the full moon.  This is because it gives you the best natural light to see what is happening, since you don’t want to wear a light while you are actually on the water.

There isn’t necessarily a best moon phase to fly fish for trout because of gravitational pull or anything like that.  The full moon phase is only the best because it provides the fly fisherman or woman the most natural light.

Best Weather for Trout Fishing

As a simple rule of thumb in the fishing world, overcast days are popular for trout fishing.  Whether that be rainy or cloudy weather, both will be great days to catch fish.  Because trout don’t like to be feeding when the sun is in their eyes, if the weather is overcast the trout will be more apt to eat your fly at any point of the day.

Fly fishing in the rain can be very profitable if you are fine with getting a little wet.  When the rain falls the water becomes filled with bugs and other insects that the trout will go crazy for.  Throw on a Parachute Adams or Elk Hair Caddis while the rain is pouring down and you’ll most likely find yourself with a bag full of trout!

However, just because the weather is bright out still grab your rod and get out on the river!  You’ll just have to find shadier areas to catch your fish, but what’s the saying “a bad day of fly fishing is still a better day in the office!”

Related: Tacky Fly Box Review 

Optimizing the perfect trout fly fishing trip based on trout patterns can be difficult.

But just because the stars aren’t aligning for the perfect conditions to catch trout doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get out!  You surely aren’t going to be catching any fish sitting on your butt, waiting for the perfect day!  Get out there and have some fun!

Better yet, take someone out who hasn’t been fly fishing before out.  It’s all about sharing the passion and love for the outdoors with others!

I wish you the best of luck on your trout fishing endeavors and tight lines my friend!

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