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How does barometric pressure affect fishing?

Dear Captain "
How does barometric pressure affect fishing? "

Mr. Mann,

They say a moving pressure is always the best. Not a very high one or a very low one is good, but one that is moving. But barometric pressure is the measure of the weight of the atmosphere above us. It exerts pressure on the waters we fish and even on us. How the pressure directly effects the fish is still not fully understood.


Barometric pressure changes as the weather systems change. When you look at a weather map that has those blue "H"s and red "L"s, this is indicating the areas with high and low pressure. It is worth noting that the areas with high pressure are the areas with good weather, and the areas with low pressure are the areas with bad weather. It is important, however, to note that the effects of barometric pressure is greater in fresh and shallow waters, than it is in deeper waters. This is probably due to the fact that the pressure of water is so much greater in deeper waters making the air pressure above it no longer having any significance.

pressureDoes a changing barometer truly affect our fishing success? Let science answer that question.
Read more here, The Pressure Myth by Dr. David A. Ross.

I attached a chart with some recommendations from Lee Adams. He had written a few papers on the subject and I have read all of them. He came up with this chart to use. Just before fronts or bad weather, thunderstorms etc. arrive, falling barometric pressure seems to be a time when the fish get active, that is my personal experience.

Pressure Trend Typical Weather Fishing Trends Suggested Tactics
High Clear skies Fish slow down, find cover or go to deeper waters. Slow down lures and use baits more attractive to fish. Fish in cover and in deeper waters.
Rising Clearing or improving Fish tend to become slightly more active Fish with brighter lures and near cover. Also fish at intermediate and deeper depths.
Normal and stable Fair Normal fishing Experiment with your favorite baits and lures.
Falling Degrading Most active fishing Speed up lures. Surface and shallow running lures may work well.
Slightly lower Usually cloudy Many fish will head away from cover and seek shallower waters. Some fish will become more aggressive. Use shallow running lures at a moderate speed.
Low Rainy and stormy Fish will tend to become less active the longer this period remains. As the action subsides, try fishing at deeper depths.

Captain David M. Rieumont

The Online Fisherman

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