8 Reasons to Try Fly Fishing at Night
Updated: Apr 2
Have you ever tried fly fishing at night? If not, you may be missing out on some of the very BEST action. From limited visibility to encountering snakes and other critters you'd probably prefer to avoid, being out in the dark brings its own set of unique challenges—but it can all be well worth it. While daytime anglers are getting their shut eye, you can be out sticking more and BIGGER fish than them! Here are 8 great reasons why you should try fly fishing at night:
Bigger Fish: Night time can be the right time to catch not just good numbers of fish, but much larger ones, too. In fact, some of the biggest fish may actually do most of their feeding strictly at night. Fish simply feel more secure in the darkness and can more easily hunt down unsuspecting prey. Additionally, larger forage that fish feed on like small snakes, mice, and frogs often come out and roam around more after the sun goes down, thus attracting heftier predators. Try a larger, bulkier fly to help the fish find and feel it easier and attract those bigger bites.
Beat the Heat: Summertime can be an awesome time to fish at night. On those hottest days of the year, daytime temps can go sky high which makes it uncomfortable for both the angler and the fish. When the sun gets lower in the sky and eventually dips below the horizon, air and water temps cool off which can activate both forage and the predator fish you are after.
Using Stouter Leaders: If it makes sense to do so, leader poundage can generally be increased since visibility is reduced in the dark. Also, feel free to save that expensive fluorocarbon for daylight fishing and just use regular mono. Personally, I do have one exception to this, and that comes when fishing around bright lights for species like snook. In this case, I typically use the same setup that I use during the day since I feel the fish will still be leader-shy under those direct, bright lights.
Get Closer to the Fish: As long as I'm quiet, I can get much closer to the fish in the dark. The fish can't see me as well and I'm not casting a heavy shadow from the sun (but beware of your shadow from a bright light nearby or even a bright moon). I've fished for super-spooky rainbow and brown trout in small water during the day with very little action, only to hit the same spots in the dark with much more success while nearly standing right over the spots they were holding.
Fish are More Accessible: At nighttime, cooler temps and less of a need for cover/shade means the fish often roam up shallower and break away from areas that are hard to get a fly into. For the fly angler, this means the fish can be far more accessible since they are in more open areas or just on the edges of cover/structure where a good presentation is easier.
Less Competition: Who enjoys fishing in a crowd? I don't! Not only are there less anglers at night, but also less boat traffic, jet skiers, and other people and things that can get in the way.
Less Wind: I grew up in Northern California where there was a modest to strong wind most every afternoon for much of the year. Like many other places that often get blustery, it generally calms down or completely goes away at night time making waters calmer for boating and casting a fly even easier. While wind is often a very good thing, it can be too much at times.
Topwater Fishing: Since the forage and predators are often more active and in shallower water, this can be a great time to throw a topwater fly. From dead-drifting foam beetles for small rainbows to throwing poppers and mouse patterns for largemouth bass and brown trout, this type of fishing can be super exciting and productive!