Fishing at night has some great advantages! No crowds, plenty of open water, quiet and peaceful, oh and HUGE FISH!
Most fishermen fish from 10-4. This way they can get their breakfast and be on time for dinner. If they are on vacation, these meals and bedtime are important. Other fishermen target certain times. Morning fishermen like being first to the fish or the morning hatches. Evening fishermen speed to the river after work for some stress relief and the evening hatches. This is why 10% of fishermen catch 90% of the fish.
Night fishermen are not afraid of the dark. Bank fishermen can spend the entire night chasing catfish or nocturnal feeders. Walleye fishing can be great at night in shallow water. Ice fishing at night is the best time to load the cooler with Ling.
Fly Fishermen are rarely on the water after the sun goes down. Ironically, the best part of some hatches, like Caddis, happen after dark. You can have amazing fishing well into the wee hours. Bigger fish are more brazen when feeding at night. There are no raptors or other predators to interrupt their feeding frenzy.
Fishing at night requires some extra gear. Only use a red or green flashlight. Headlamps or clip on lights come in these colors. They are also useful when tracking a blood trail at night. A blue light is especially useful to see blood. Red or green do not disturb critters as you travel to your stand in the dark. A bright white light will ruin your night vision. The human eye secretes a chemical called Rhodopsin onto the rear cells of your eyes. This improves your night vision. A shot of bight light will blind you for at least 30 40 minutes.
Be organized. Know where your gear is. Pre rig any lures or flies so that you only need to tie one knot. If you must search for your net, forceps, or tackle, you are wasting time. Fish tend to be in shallower water at night. This bait sanctuary is now vulnerable. Cruising BIG fish are hunting them.
Shallow pools, gravel bars and edges, or structure like bridges are good places to target. You all know these spots where you can see HUGE fish all day but never catch them. These fish didn’t get huge by dieting. They just feed at a safer and darker time.
Use large flies tied black. I tie my caddis in size 8 and 10. Big Black Sedges can be seen easily on a moonlit night. Position yourself to see the glare on the water. If you can see the reflected glare, you can see your fly. You need to also hear the strikes.
Black plastics, crankbaits, and streamers are also the way to night fish. Fish do not see color but can feel vibrations ad see light and dark patterns or movement. Fine tippets or line are not critical at night. Beef up your line strength.
Join the Night Train!
For more Montana Grant, catch him in the dark at www.montanagrantfishing.com.