Fishing is not a purely meritocratic exercise. That is to say that the combination of the best skill, the best equipment, and the best location doesn’t always mean the best catch. These factors are important, but there are others that, unfortunately, are beyond your control. Luck still plays a role in the fishing game, and it usually comes in the form of weather. And while you can’t control the weather, it is useful to know how weather affects your fishing to adjust your strategy accordingly. Let’s face it, sometimes you pick a day to fish because that is the day available to you, and very few of us have the luxury of planning our lives in perfect accordance to the weather forecast. Whatever weather you will face, here is all you need to know about how weather affects your catch. These will be general rules of thumb, not universal truths. Fish are all different, exist in different environments, and behave in those environments differently. But all fish have similar general patterns of behavior depending on environmental conditions.
Most fish that you will encounter in the lakes of North America are considered cold-water fish. Of course, it is cold relative to water temperatures us humans consider warm. Fish are cold-blooded. They don’t have the biological mechanisms that would allow them to adjust their body temperature in response to their environment, so they have no other choice but to adjust their behavior. Each species will have a temperature range where they survive most comfortably. That range is determined by two main factors: food and oxygen. Water temperature has a direct effect on the metabolism of fish. The colder the water, the slower the metabolism. Fish become generally less active, reducing energy expenditure and thus reducing the need for food. So if you are fishing at a lake on a freakishly cold day, the waters may be rife with fish, and your bate may be positively succulent, but the fish you’re looking to catch might be largely dormant, and you’ll come back empty handed.
The other extreme is also to be considered. Yes, we want fish to be in the kind of warm water that boosts their metabolism, but this activeness also requires oxygen. Most fish never surface for a quick gulp of fresh air, and rely primarily on dissolved oxygen in the water. Cold water generally contains a higher concentration of dissolved oxygen, and as temperature of the water rises, the oxygen content tends to fall. This represents the upper limit of water temperature for fish where if the water becomes too warm they can’t breathe and die. So when you go out fishing, it is good to know the general preferred temperature range of the fish you’re looking to catch. Additionally, it is good to know how certain weather can change the temperature of the water. One such factor is rain. Rain can rapidly change temperature in the water, depending on the size of the water body and the amount of precipitation.