What is the Best Time of Day to Fly Fish for Trout

best time to fly fishi

Imagine standing on the edge of your favorite creek or river first thing in the morning. You have butterflies in your stomach as you prepare to cast your fly rod for the first time of the day. There’s so much anticipation leading up to that first cast, you want so badly to start the day off on a high note.

This is how every fishing trip starts, high expectations, and a desire to land fish fast. In this article I will tell you the best time of day to fly fish for trout.

Fly fishing for trout can truly be one of the most rewarding fishing styles out there. It requires the perfect approach, the perfect cast, and an even more perfect presentation.

In order to give ourselves an advantage over the fish, we have to take advantage of the best time of day to fly fish for trout.

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No one of these fishing times will guarantee results, but they will most definitely increase your chances.


What is the Best Time of Day to Fly Fish?

The best time of day to fly fish is sunrise and sunset. Fly fishing during an insect “hatch” will produce great results as well. A “hatch” is when insects mature into adulthood on or near the water’s surface. During summer months, cloud covered days and night fishing can be advantageous as well.

Fly Fish During First Light

Have you ever heard the expression, the early bird gets the worm?

Well fly fishing is no exception. Trout are actually very aggressive predator fish. As the sun first begins to rise the fish inevitably have better visibility.

This increased visibility allows fish to see and track food easier. These fish have not been able to see well all night (unless it was a full moon).

Another advantage to first light is the increase in temperature. As temperature rises insects become active as well and we know what eats insects.

FLY SELECTION TIP: As you are walking to the waters edge form your vehicle, keep an eye out for what insects may be flying or hopping around.

Are the grass hoppers out?

Are there mosquitoes buzzing your face?

Look for large ants scampering over rocks or flying near by?

These are all clues to what fish maybe be eating.


Start Fishing Before Sunset

As the day goes on and the fish have filled their belly’s, the warmer and hotter weather will may turn the bite off for a while.

This is normal when fishing. The trout typically will not eat all day long if food is plentiful. Just like humans eating dinner, trout need to eat dinner also.

The sun is about to set and they will not get another meal until the it comes back up in the morning.

I like to start fly fishing heavily about two hours before the sun goes down. This is when the temperatures start to cool down and once again the insects become active.

Just as we did when fly fishing at sun rise, we want to again observe our surroundings for insects.

Usually this is a great time to use caddis flies, stimulators, or hoppers.

A hatch happens when larvae, usually midges or stones, hatch near the surface and begin to fly around.

“Match the Hatch” During the Hatches

Hatches are typically very noticeable if you are paying attention. Hatches can occur at any time of the day.

mayfly fly hatch

It is vital to always be watching the surface of the water scanning for trout busting the surface. I can’t tell you how many times I have been fishing midge patterns or stone flies when I notice there are hundreds of small flies buzzing the surface.

FLY SELECTION TIP: When you see the hatch start, pay close attention to the size and color of the insects. Do your best to “match the hatch” for best results.


Fishing with Cloud Cover

Cloud cover can be a good thing when searching for the best time to fly fish. The Clouds offer protection form the sun, and in turn, lower temperatures.

A slight fluctuation in temperatures can turn the bite on if the weather has been consistently warmer.

Conversely, if the weather has been cold and we get cloud cover, this could cause a negative effect.

Often times when cloud cover presents itself during warmer seasons, I find sub surface flies work best.

Night Time Fishing

On occasion I have tired my hand fly fishing at night. Although I have not had much success personally, I do have friends that have done quite well.

Night fishing can be effective when the temps have been above normal, and, when you have good lighting form the moon.

The moon place a huge role in the feeding cycle of fish. Some species of fish have been known to feed at night more than others such as trout.

You can find lunar tables for best time of day to fish here.

best time of day to fly fish for trout

Closing Thoughts – Best Time to Fly Fish

Keep in mind that the best time of day to fly fish is when you can. Anytime you can sneak away and get a line wet is a perfect time to fly fish. That being said let’s recap some of the key points we covered in this article.

  • While an Insect Hatch is Occurring
  • Fishing at First Lite
  • Fly Fishing at Sunset
  • Fishing with Cloud Cover
  • Night Fishing

The most important tip is worth repeating again,


The best time to fly fish is when an active hatch is happening. Keep your eye balls pealed and on the lookout. Not all hatches are huge swarms of bugs.

If you have enjoyed this article let me know down in the comments. I would love to hear from my readers…. assuming people actually read this far.