If you buy via a link on this page, we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.Learn more
Catfish will bite and target almost anything. It doesn’t matter if it is day or night. They will bite almost every time you present them with something edible. But, what happens during rain? Do they still bite?
The short answer is yes, catfish still bite before, during, and after rain. In fact, sometimes they turn more aggressive with rain. This happens for a wide range of reasons like:
- More food sources
- Temperature changes
- Water clarity
It might seem a little contradictory. We tend to think that because water temperature and turbidity change during rain, it makes fish dormant. While it might be true for some species, it is not for catfish. But, what’s behind this strange behavior? Join us and discover it.
Why Do Catfish Bite During Rain?
Rain has many effects on lakes, rivers, and creeks. First, it changes the water temperature. But it also changes nutrient distribution and water clarity. So, it is only logical to say that rain influences catfish behavior. But, why?
Well, catfish rely more on their sense of smell than vision. Plus, they can also feel vibrations, which helps them to target their next prey. What do these two things have in common? That rain doesn’t impair either of them. In other words, catfish can still eat and hunt even if it is raining heavily.
Rain Bring More Food
Nutrient distribution mainly depends on the river or creek current. When it rains, the current instantly becomes more aggressive. As a result, many catfish’s favorite snacks get washed away by it, making them more accessible to eat. Worms, snails, lizards, and other insects are some examples.
But rain often brings smaller fish too. Some get dragged by strong currents. Some others are simply pursuing their own food. Either way, they will likely end inside a catfish mouth.
As you can see, rain, especially heavy rain, is like a dining bell for catfish. It is only logical for them to start feeding aggressively.
Rain Changes Water Temperature
Rain has the potential to change the water temperature. Most might think that rain only cools down. But during the winter, it has the potential to raise the water temperatures. And, if you don’t know it already, water temperature affects fish behavior.
Before explaining how water temperature affects catfish, you need to know that fish can’t regulate body temperature on their own. Thus, they require external heat sources to do so. In addition, cold weather slows their metabolism, turning them lethargic.
On the other hand, they become more active as the water temperature rises. But to a certain point. You see, oxygen concentration depends, among other things, on water temperature. The higher it gets, the less oxygen the water has.
So, in a nutshell, as the water temperature rises, fish will swim to deep water. During colder times, you will find them in the shallows.
But what does this have to do with catfish? Well, we already talk about how rain is a ringing bell for them. If the water is cold, and it starts raining, you will know that catfish will become more active, which translates into more bites.
In contrast, if the water is too hot, and it rains, fish could migrate to the shallows, making them more tempting to catfish.
Rain Changes Water Clarity
While some fish might feel disoriented in murky waters, catfish are on their game. Because they rely on smell and vibrations to hunt their prey, they care little about how clean the water is. So, as long as you cast something that they can smell, you should have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, because panfish get disoriented in opaque waters, they become an easy meal for any hungry catfish. As a result, it is no surprise to fish that catfish activity rises as the water gets darker. Besides, because most competitors rely on vision, catfish have a notorious upper hand in the contest.
How Far Catfish Smell?
Like we said before, catfish have a keen sense of smell. Better than most other fish. That’s why water clarity cares little for catfish fishing. But how good is it?
Well, to give you an idea, catfish are able to smell and taste prey 15 feet away. They use their acute sense of smell to find prey, detect predators, and find a suitable mate.
Rain Increases Water Level
Water level increases with rain. Naturally, this also has an impact on the current. Typically, the more it rains, the stronger the current gets, which means that catfish don’t even need to move. They only need to identify those areas where the current breaks and wait there. Mother nature will do the rest.
How To Fish For Catfish During Rain
Typically catfish move from the depths to the shallows. Catfish love to lurk near underwater structures that break the current, as here is where most small fish and other meals get dragged.
So, it is only logical to think that these areas are where you ought to place your lure. But be patient. Even though catfish are still active during rain, you must still compete against other food sources. What you want to understand is that you need to do everything within your power to make your bait/lure stand out from the rest of the food.
Here minnow-like lures or fatty baits work like a charm.
What About Floods?
Many times rivers and lakes get flooded after a huge downpour. As a result, many nutrients get washed away from the ground to the calm sections of the river or lake once the rain stops.
You will find plenty of catfish in calm water where all nutrients and food will settle down. The only problem in flooding scenarios will be finding a good spot where you can cast safely.
Catfish Fishing Before Rain
If you can catch catfish during rain, it is only logical to think that you can do it before it starts raining as well. You see, fish react to changes in barometric pressure. Rain and storms are among the events that cause changes in atmospheric pressure. Thus, they also influence fish behavior.
As the pressure lowers before the rain, many baitfish start to swim towards shallow waters seeking refuge. Consequently, catfish will feed aggressively because there is so much food available. Shad-like lures and worms are the best bet in this situation.
Can You Catch Catfish After the Rain?
As the rain settles, the water remains with the same temperature, nutrient concentration, and clarity for a transient period of time. So, yes. Catfish still bite and feed after the rain is long gone. Use the same lures that we suggested on the flooding and during rain scenarios we talked about before.
Fishing for Catfish During Rain: A Total Win
Catfish bite all year. It matters little if it is raining or snowing. They will surely bite. Because catfish don’t rely on vision to find their prey, they have an obvious advantage during rain and storms. The water can get as dark as it wants. Catfish won’t even care.
The important thing here is to know that catfish use vision and vibrations to target their next meal. Therefore, you must choose lures and baits accordingly. Remember to cast your rod over those calm sections where most nutrients and small fish get. Make sure to make it stand out from the rest of the available food. Work it slowly. Allow the acute sense of smell of catfish to do its job and find your bait or lure.
Catfish still bite before and after storms since the pressure and temperature changes turn fish active. As a result, catfish will start to hunt moving prey. Some anglers even say that they’ve caught their biggest catfish during or after heavy rain! What are you waiting for?