Why Is It Better To Fish at Night? 6 Reasons

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info

Sure, most recreational anglers are going to fish during the day because after all, this is when we’re awake. With that being said, you might also see a lot of recreational and professional fishermen doing so at night.

Of course, these professionals probably know something that you don’t, so why is it better to fish at night?

Fish are a lot more active during the night and tend to move closer to the surface, so your chances of catching are generally a lot higher. You can also avoid getting sunburnt, and most importantly there is usually a lot less competition on the lake/fishing spot as the majority of fishermen will generally go during the day due to family/work/life commitments. 

Is It A Good Idea To Fish At Night?

ice fishing at night

What we can say here is that in terms of being able to catch fish, yes it is a good idea to fish at night. As you are about to find out from the section below, there are actually a great number of reasons why fishing at night can be much better than fishing during the day.

Yes, most of these reasons have to do with being able to catch more fish at night than during the day, but there are also a few other reasons that you will want to consider.

Now what you do of course need to keep in mind here is that fishing in the dark is not exactly the safest activity you could engage in, especially if you are sea fishing.

Therefore, if you plan on going fishing during the night, especially if you are out on a boat, you absolutely must follow all proper boating procedures in accordance with lighting and headlights. Moreover, you must also wear a lifejacket.

You must also have an emergency radio on hand, a set of flares to signal for help, and a lifeboat wouldn’t hurt either.

A whistle and some flashlights are a good idea as well. The simple reality is that fishing at night can be dangerous, especially if something goes wrong, because it can be very difficult for emergency crews to locate you in the pitch black.

If you plan on fishing at night, you do need to take all of the proper precautions to keep yourself safe. 

6 Reasons Why It Is Better To Fish At Night

OK, so as mentioned above, there are actually quite a few reasons as to why fishing during the night time is actually better than fishing during the day.

Let’s take a look at all of these reasons right now.

1. Fish Are More Active During the Night

What needs to be said here is that the time of year, the tide, and the moon do play a role in how active fish are at night, but in general, fish do tend to be more active at night.

During the daytime, fish tend to dive into much deeper waters to keep cool, but during the night, the surface water cools off greatly, thus attracting fish.

Right at twilight, when the sun goes down, fish tend to be the most active, as they have spent all day down in the cool depths, and are now coming up closer to the surface for cooler waters and a spot of dinner.

In general, catching fish in relatively shallow water is fairly easy to do during the night. In this sense, fishing right as the sun is going down and nighttime is starting can be very beneficial. 

2. Avoiding Sunburns

The simple reality is that you have more to worry about than just the fish. One of the main concerns that many fishermen are faced with is that of sunburns.

Yeah, being out in the sun all day long will cause sunburns, and this effect is only amplified by the reflective qualities of the water.

It’s not unheard of to get a sunburn after just 30 minutes of fishing out on the water during a very bright and sunny day.

Let’s face it, most of us probably don’t even remember to bring along sunscreen half of the time.

3. Fewer People on the Water

Although many fish are nocturnal and very active, during the nighttime, the simple reality is that people are not nocturnal.

People either work during the day and sleep at night, or if they have night jobs, they do the opposite.

Therefore, fishing during the night means that there will be minimal competition out on the water, and chances are pretty big that you won’t see a single other person out there.

Whether you are out in a boat, lake or on a pier, the simple reality is that if you are alone, you have as much space to work with as possible, and much less hooks in the water.

The less people there are fishing, the better the chances of you catching something.

4. It Can Be Cheaper

In many places, it will actually cost you a lot to fish off of a pier. These daily fees can be quite hefty.

Now, although not always the case, many peers will become free once the sun goes down and tackle and bait shops close up for the night.

So, if you are looking to save some money, depending on where you live, fishing at night could help you do so.

5. You Get to See Cool Things

Something else that stands out about fishing during the nighttime is that the night provides you with a glimpse of the world that you just don’t get during the day.

There are tons of bioluminescent fish and other creatures in the ocean, or in other words, creatures that glow in the dark.

Obviously, during the daytime, you won’t see anything glowing in the dark because it’s not dark.

Going out on the water during the nighttime is the only way to see this bioluminescent show. 

6. Less Noise

The other reason why fishing during the night is a really good idea has to do with the fact that there is less competition out on the water.

The more people are out on the water, the more boat motors and engines are creating noise, the more people are talking and the more heavy hooks and lures are splashing down in the water.

Of course, most fish are very skittish and frightful in nature, which means that loud noises will do you no favors in terms of being able to catch any of them.

The less people there are, the less noise there is and the more likely you are to catch a fish.

Tips to Increase Your Chances of Catching Fish at Night

Now that we have covered all of the reasons in terms of why it is a good idea to fish at night, let’s talk about some of the best tips for you to follow to increase your chances of catching something. 

1. Movement is Key

One of the biggest tips that you can follow when fishing during the night is to keep moving. Nighttime fishing is not the kind of fishing where you just want to throw bait into the water and let it sit there.

During the nighttime, because fish can’t see that great either, they rely heavily on their sonar to find food, or in other words, they try to feel the vibrations in the water to feel where their food is.

Therefore, you have to make sure that your bait or lure is continuously moving and making vibrations in the water.

Yes, brightly colored and large lures do make a difference, but the simple reality is that fish may not be able to see them if it is pitch black. Movement is key.

2. The Right Lure

As mentioned above, yes, the right lure can make a difference, and this often means using something fairly bright and flashy so that fish can see them from far distances during the night.

Most night fishermen will recommend using big, bold and bright lures.

However, remember what we said above, which is that during the nighttime, vibrations and sound are much more important than visuals, which means that you want to use something like a spinnerbait, a crankbait, or a buzz bait, something that makes a lot of noise and creates a lot of movement in the water.

3. The Right Line

The next tip to follow here is that you need to use the right kind of fishing line when nighttime fishing.

Now, some people really want to be able to see their line at night, which is why they may use a fluorescent line, a very brightly colored line, or even a type of line that will glow when hit by a blacklight that is cast from a boat.

While this is great for being able to see your own line, it certainly won’t serve you well in terms of catching fish. Long lengths of glowing and bright line may very well scare fish away.

4. The Right Location

Something to remember here is that during the nighttime, as it gets darker and as the surface waters cool off, fish will often come to the surface, both for the cooler waters and for the other fish in the shallow waters that make for tasty snacks.

Therefore, if you are fishing during the night time, it’s a good idea to stay close to a pier or to the beach. 

5. Using a Light

Fish are often attracted to light and an old but awesome trick that tends to work quite well is to use a flashlight.

All you have to do is to shine a flashlight in the water and then have your lower right there illuminated in the light. This is sure to attract fish from far and wide.


Is it Legal or Illegal to Fish at Night?

Technically speaking, fishing during the night is not unlawful or illegal. However, do remember that this depends on where you live, and some areas may have restrictions on the exact times when you’re allowed to fish.

Therefore, the official recommendation is that you check the rules and regulations for exactly where you live.

Can You Go Saltwater Fishing at Night?

There are no laws stating that you cannot go saltwater fishing during the night, but you do of course need to be very careful as the ocean is already a dangerous enough place as it is, let alone during the night time when you cannot see anything.

Can You Go River Fishing at Night?

There are also no laws or rules saying that you cannot go river fishing during the night, and in fact, if you plan on fishing for trout, this is one of the best times to do so.


The bottom line here is that although you do of course need to be careful when fishing at night due to the increased risk, the simple fact is that it does increase your chances of catching something, at least if you do it right.

If you have not had any luck catching fish during the day, it might be a good idea to try fishing during the night.