July 7, 2022

When Is Fishing Season?

Scott Kimball

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Scott Kimball

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Different anglers start fishing and stop fishing at other times of the year, with some people fishing even in cold weather. When is the fishing season?

You can fish at any time. If you want to go hunting, you have to go at a specific time, or it is illegal. It doesn't work that way with fishing - you can legally fish any time of the year. When the season starts and ends is up to you, and may be different every year.

Many anglers start fishing in April and stop fishing in October, but there's no exact answer to when fishing season starts or ends. The fishing season can be longer or shorter, depending on the climate. However, some places have laws about when you can catch certain fish.

While you can go fishing more or less any time of the year, it is not as easy to catch fish in colder weather. If you do want to catch fish outside of the usual fishing season, you need to do it the right way to have much luck.

Since I go ice fishing a few times a year, the fishing season never really ends for me. However, I find fish easiest to catch from April to some October. You might have a longer or shorter season in a warmer or colder climate.

When Is Fishing Season? | Today I'm Outside

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Fishing Season vs. Hunting Season

Hunting season is "real" - it starts at a certain time and ends at a certain time according to laws. For example, deer hunting season in California starts on August 14th and ends on November 7th. For archery, the hunting season starts on July 10 and ends on Oct 2.

Different states have different laws, and the hunting season is also different for different animals. There may be separate hunting seasons for people who use bows, or people who use muzzle-loaders. With hunting, there are a lot of laws.

Fishing is also restricted by laws and licenses, but not restricted to a certain time of the year. You can usually fish before the beginning of what most people consider fishing season legally. Check your local laws, because each state has different restrictions.

Do You Need a Fishing License in Most Places? Why?

Yes, you will quite likely need a fishing license to fish wherever you are. Fishing licenses help pay for environmental restoration and conservation projects. There are also taxes on fishing equipment to help pay for conservation.

Fishing licenses help pay for:

  • Species and habitat restoration
  • Fish management
  • Public access for fishing and boating
  • Species and habitat restoration
  • Research and education
  • Habitat protection
  • Land acquisition

Thankfully, fishing licenses are usually very cheap, less than $20 for the whole year. If you don't like having to get a new license every year, some states let you buy lifetime fishing licenses. Children can usually go fishing without a license.

A fishing license is good for the whole year, not only for a specific season like a hunting license is. There is no fishing season according to the law. However, different states have different rules and may sometimes restrict catching certain species during part of the year.

Can You Fish in Any Season?

Yes, if you really love fishing, you can fish the whole year around. Even in a cold climate, you can fish any time of the year.

Ice fishing can be fun - you can drill a hole in the ice with an auger, and stay comfortable with an ice fishing shelter and a heater. You can also fish in cool but not cold weather. You can enjoy fishing the whole year around.

When Do Anglers Start and Stop Fishing?

A lot of anglers go fishing until they find it much harder to catch fish. Fishing season ends when the fish stop taking their bait.

This is sometimes around October, but it is a different month in different places. Sometimes, it can be much earlier than October.

What are the Best Months for Fishing?

It depends on where you live and what you are trying to catch. For example, the best months to catch trout are:

  • June in the Northern US and Canada
  • March to June in the eastern US
  • July to September in the western US
  • December to March in the southern US

If you are trying to catch trout, you need to fish when the temperature of the water is just right. Fish (with a few exceptions) are cold-blooded, so they are much more sensitive to heat and cold than humans are.

Fish are Less Active in the Winter

One thing that makes fishing in the fall and winter more difficult is that fish are way less active in cold weather. If the fish are hardly moving around, they aren't going to swim by and take your bait. However, some species are more active in cold weather than others, and there are strategies to catch fish in cold weather.

How Can You Catch Fish in Cold Weather?

During colder months, it is easiest to catch fish between 10 AM and 4 PM, not in the early morning or evening. You may have to do a bit of research first. The Department of Natural Resources site has frequently updated information that can help you.

I always use different gear in cold weather, as I run into too many problems otherwise - for example, the line might freeze. Live bait is also more important in cold weather because the fish you are trying to catch are less active. Take safety seriously, as you definitely don't want to fall into a cold river with a current.

Is Summer the Best Time to Fish?

Yes, summer is usually the best time to go fishing. The weather is the warmest, everyone wants to get out in the sun, and the fish are the most energetic. Fish you use as bait will also have more energy, helping to attract larger fish you want to catch.

Part of why fish are much more active in the summer is that there is more oxygen in the water. Later in the year, the oxygen level goes down, making fish much calmer and harder to catch. Some species are very hard to catch outside of the summer months, others are catchable any time of the year.

Does the Time of the Day Also Matter?

Yes, what time of the day you go fishing also matters. During the morning and evening, you can catch the most fish because they are attracted to the cool water near the surface.

Many species of fish are the most active at night, so that can be the best time depending on what you're catching. The middle of the day is not exactly the best time, but you may still catch plenty of fish then.

When Should You not Go Fishing?

The only really bad time to go fishing is when the weather is terrible. If it is cold, wet, windy, or hailing, you'll have to reschedule your fishing trip.

Obviously, you should go home if you see lightning, especially since your metal rod can attract it. Because the water level is not predictable, it may also be unsafe to go fishing right after a storm, and you probably won't catch many fish then.

Can You Fish When it is Windy?

Yes, although you probably won't enjoy it. Sometimes, it can be easier to catch fish on a windy day because of how the wind affects the water.

The wind puts oxygen into the water, and oxygen makes fish more active. The wind can also affect the current in the water, which affects fish. However, most people won't have fun fishing on a very windy day.

When Is Fishing Season?

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About THE AUTHOR

Scott Kimball

From a young age I was introduced to fishing, hiking, camping, snowboarding and more through family, friends, and scouting. After 20 years of learning and participating in these outdoor activities, I share what i've learned (and continue learning) with you.

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