Double the excitement, triple the success. If you haven’t yet gone fly fishing after dark, you are missing out on an absolute treat of adventure.
As strange as it may sound to some people, fly fishing is even more exciting and rewarding at the night. When the sun goes down, the real game begins.
We understand the doubts that may arise in your head. The danger of encountering snakes, the risk of losing visibility, a possible boat accident, or just not finding your way back.
This is why we have brought you hacks and tricks that’ll help you experience the most surreal fishing expedition while keeping you safe. The best things do happen after midnight and fly fishing is proof.
Why Must You Go Fly Fishing After Dark?
Your mother may not agree with this. And don’t tell ours. But every reason is better than the other. If you are a lover of adventures, this should be on the top of your list as you just cannot miss out on action meditation in the moonlight!
You Ought to Fish When the Big Fish Come Out to Party
Do you know why you cannot spot the biggest and most desirable fish in the daytime? Because they tend to come out at night!
In fact, you’ll find more numbers of fish of all varieties casually shopping around in the moonlit waters. Also, The biggest fish complete most of their feeding activity in the nighttime.
This is because big fish feel more comfortable in dark waters where there is less chance of being hunted down and more probability of available prey.
Bigger fish need bigger food which comes out only under the night sky. Mice, snakes, and frogs appear like delicacies in a ray. It is but natural for the big fish to put their best action in these hours.
Note that such big fishes will also need flies of a bigger size to be adequately enticed.
The Summer is Kind at Midnight
Summer may be considered the best season for anglers, but this sporty season has its own drawbacks. The biggest disadvantage of summer is the heat.
At times, the daytime temperatures could skyrocket and make fishing a hard exercise. It is easy to get uncomfortable with the hot sun shining overhead and the inconsolable heat-up.
The evenings are cooler as the sun goes down and the water temperatures fall. A cool and refreshing breeze accompanies the water flow and makes for an ideal setting for fly fishing.
Thus, fishing at night is great if you get exhausted by the high heat of the summer months.
Even the fish tend to be more active in the cooler waters. Hot days are when the fish look for cooler spots and hide to relax.
Increased Possibility to Get Closer to the Fish
Maybe not emotionally, but for certain physically. It is true that you cannot spot much fish due to low visibility in the dark, but the fish cannot see you as well. Moreover, unlike daytime, you do not cast a shadow on these cautious swimmers.
However, you could still cast a shadow at night time because there’s a bright moon overhead. There are chances that you scare off a fish which would then run off to make all the surrounding fish scatter. But if you are careful, you might take a bountiful home.
The Fish is More Casual and Less Alert
The best time to fish is the time when your prey doesn’t expect you to be around. Cooler water temperature along with no shade requirements render the fish free to roam about in the waters. They are no longer confined to the shady or the cooler portions of the water body.
This means that you don’t have to confine your activities to the usual daytime fishing spots. Fish is now available in the shallowest and the most accessible areas of water. This removes a ton of effort on your part. Now you don’t need to hunt in areas uncomfortable for you and your flies.
There’s No One to Disturb
Popular fishing spots are full of anglers during the day. As much as you want peace, the people bring the city along to the most isolated spots. Fly fishing at night is the appropriate solution to this problem. Moreover, there are no irritating jet skiers and boatmen at night.
You can experience your best zen moment along with the fish and the stream.
Less Wind Blows at Night
In the more windy regions of America, it becomes almost impossible to fish during the daytime. The strong and hefty winds do not allow you to perfectly throw your cast or to keep your field of vision clear.
Fortunately, this does not happen during the night. There is usually only a soft wind that does not interfere with the moves of perfect anglers. Hence, casting a fly and boating becomes easier.
This is The Best Time for Topwater Fishing
If you are a fan of topwater fishing, there is nothing else you’d rather want than the calm that these hours of darkness offer. Shallow waters host the most predators because all their meat is often floating around. Without engaging in backbreaking efforts, you can take an ample amount of big fish home.
How to Make Sure Your Night Time Fly Fishing Expedition Turns Out Successful?
Fly fishing at night is a very exciting idea and it is true that catching big fish is easier at this time. Nevertheless, it is important to prepare yourself for fly fishing. There are some things you need to note beforehand and others that will be actively required on the field.
Look Before You Leap
Going anywhere in the dark of the night is more or less a leap. There are certain things you need to keep in mind before you head out. It is essential to choose your fishing spot wisely. Not every location is meant to be used at nighttime. Many of them may not be safe.
Make sure that you have fished in the selected area during the daytime. It shouldn’t be the first time ever you are hitting the spot. When the area is tried and tested, you can be well aware of its safety and danger parameters for yourself.
When you visit the spot during the day, make sure that you note all the potential dangers like pits and falls. Also, note down the areas with ample vegetation that may harbor more fish at night.
Most anglers land themselves in trouble by hurrying into expeditions. Be careful enough to check the stream flows for the day. Be alert if there are hydroelectric dams that may release excess water into the stream unexpectedly. This could make fishing at night extremely unsafe.
Go for Shorter Casts
Considering the fact that visibility is lesser in the nighttime and that it is possible to remain closer to the fish, you should undoubtedly go for shorter casts. Ensure that you cast no more than 30 feet in length. Mark specific targets and don’t aim more than that. If you are lucky, you’d land every big fish you lay your eyes on.
It is also important to make more casts than you would in the daytime. The fish is ever-present in the night waters. Make sure you cover a large portion of water instead of sitting in one spot all the time.
This may fatigue your arms and shoulders as throwing a fly cast is not a kid’s play, but it is worth it. You get the biggest fish and the best compliments.
The Heavier the Rod the Better
This is because extra-heavy rods offer extra casting power. A travel fly fishing rod may work well enough during the day. But you need to be prepared for bigger targets at night.
Bigger fish need bigger files and bigger files need heavier rods. It will be easier to make the move with a fishing rod that offers more potential energy.
Make your Leaders Short and Heavy
It is important for the leaders you use at night time to be short. The ideal length ranges from four to six feet but it can be longer. Some fish may be able to see more clearly in the dark than others.
This category includes the brown trout but even they are more confident and casual at night. A heavier leader and tippet will make it easier for you to cast and catch the fish.
Go for Glow in the Dark Fly Lines
Fly fishing at night becomes much easier with a glowing companion. Remember to charge this piece with a bright light before bringing it along. Although expensive, this fly line is worth the investment. It will render all your dark fishing trips successful by reducing the strain on your eyes.
If possible, you could get a glow-in-the-dark indicator too. This strike indicator makes sure you know exactly where your rig is positioned in the water. It will be helpful if you also add safety sunglasses to your essential equipment.
Polarized sunglasses may seem to be another option but they aren’t as effective for nighttime visibility as safety glasses are. On top of that, they are quite cheap.
Cautiously Adjust your Files to the Right Depth
If you aim to fish in transition zones or known deep waters, it is advisable to be prepared to modify your rigs. This is essential so that your files are always placed at the right depth.
There are many ways to make your files go deeper. Some of them are split shots and weighted putties. Beads, barbells, and wraps of weighted wires can also be tied to streamers to make them heavier.
Put Maximum Effort at the Bank
We promise that the banks will pay you well. Big fish like trout tend to relax and lounge at the banks of the lake rather than in the center. They could all be hovering under a log or skimming through a ledge. Your position at the bank is ideal for getting the most out of the night.
It is common sense to make the most effort where the results are ample. Take a solid foothold and aim by delivering your fly to every fish that seems hungry. All of them usually are.
Confidence is the Key, Cast Straight at Your Aim
Fly fishing at night is successful when you take all the chances you can take. Make sure to not hesitate while throwing a cast whenever you see a possibility. You’ll get as many catches as you’ll take.
Experienced anglers say that it is beneficial to make a splash landing for your flies. This draws more attention from the fish who might otherwise sleepily go past.
Your splash could even ignite a school of fish to compete for the new attractive food item. Let the fish be fooled. This technique is most effective in the case of mouse flies.
Choose Your Flies Wisely
Experts rely on particular flies for nighttime fly fishing. These include hex mayfly imitations, mouse flies, and articulated streamers.
Hex mayfly imitations are large in size and appropriate for the big fish you are aiming for at this time. There may be a variety of options. Think like a fish and choose the one a hungry fish would definitely go for.
Mouse flies are very effective in attracting the biggest monsters we dream of. The largest trout will not give it a second thought before aiming for it. Take note that your mouse fly doesn’t have to look exactly like a real mouse. A resemblance is enough to get the fish pouncing.
Streamers in dark colors with lots of wiggly action will definitely attract more big fish than you think. These pulsating flies are the one thing big hideous fishes cannot resist at night. That’s exactly what they have been looking for on the menu.
For most things, the best action occurs at night. Fly fishing, when taken seriously and attempted cautiously, may turn the lakes into your new party place. Head forth, and make the best of what the calm nights have to offer.
References and Further Reading
- In The Dark of Night | Fly Fishing
- Night fishing: choosing the right fly
- Tips for Late Night Fly Fishing
Last Updated on August 31, 2022 by Captain Chuck Dudley.