June 3, 2024

Why You Want Cloud Cover For a Summertime Trout Bite

On Father's Day in 2017 I went on what could only be described as an epic fishing trip. Myself and two other members of my family rolled out to catch 100+ keeper speckled trout and left them biting!

It was one of the best, if not the best, summertime speckled trout bites I had ever seen! But there's an important detail about this fishing trip that sets it apart from others: there was a lot of cloud cover.

overcast speckled trout

A lot of the fish we caught were around this size. An epic fishing trip!

Why is this a big deal? How did these clouds impact the speckled trout? What occurred on this particular summer fishing trip that set it apart from other days?

To answer these questions we must first look at the best time to launch your boat during summer, when targeting speckled trout.

When is the best time to launch your boat to catch summer specks?

When it comes to speckled trout fishing during the summer, you really want to get out onto the water early.

How early? Well, I can be seen leaving the dock for as early as 5am, especially in June and July around the summer solstice.

The reason for this is because it will get hot which — in turn — causes speckled trout to feed in shorter windows. They will feed while it's still cool then take the rest of the day off to conserve energy.

And that's really the gist of it. If you want to learn more then I suggest visiting this guide to the speckled trout summer pattern.

The point I'm trying to make here is that if you don't get out there to your first fishing spot for the crack of dawn, then you are missing that short, but productive, window to catch them.

The General Rule of Summer is...

...you have until about 9am, maybe 11am to find the speckled trout bite.

Anglers who don't make it happen by then usually spend the rest of the day grinding without much to show for it.

Again, the reason for this rule is because it will get hot. But why does it get hot? Well, because the sun is out cooking the surface of Earth.

But what if that's not the case? What if the water we are fishing is shielded from the sun? This is where cloud cover comes into play.

Why Overcast Weather Is So Good For Speckled Trout Fishing

If there's a thick layer of clouds to shade the area you want to fish, then you can count on speckled trout to respond in a way that is wholly different than if the sky were clear and the sun shining.

While I could be wrong, I personally believe that speckled trout recognize this change in the conditions and take advantage of it by feeding for an extended period of time, possibly the entire day.

They know it's not going to get as hot as quickly as if the sun were out, so their feeding window opens wider.

That is what happened on that summer day in 2017: we got a late start, leaving Hopedale Marina for 8am, and didn't find the fish until 1pm!

It took some bouncing around, but once we found them the bite was on, fast and furious speckled trout action without a single throwback. We easily caught our limit of 75 specks, caught and released some more then headed back to the dock to clean fish.

overcast speckled trout hopedale marina

On a bright and bluebird day that fishing trip would have been doomed. But because it was hard overcast and never got hot, the fish were feeding throughout the day.

How Much Cloud Cover Do You Want?

You want all of it. Not partly cloudy. Not a thin blanket that the sun can peak through, you want it to be hard overcast.

hard overcast sky

In my experience, it must be hard overcast from the moment the sun rises. I have not found trout to feed through the day if the sun is out in the morning then overcast weather rolls in.

Why do speckled trout prefer overcast weather?

I think that speckled trout prefer overcast weather as a general rule, and not just because of its cooling effect described earlier.

I could be wrong, and am willing to accept that, but it's been my observation that these fish generally bite better when the weather is overcast.

This is especially the case for topwater action, and a great video where you can see that fleshed out is this one on YouTube.

Simply put: they just bit better when the sun wasn't shining. But there's more.

A Quirky Thing My Cameras Caught

I have spent a good deal of time shooting video in the marsh, and accidentally discovered something.

I found that it's much harder to see underwater when the sun is out, especially in shallower water. There's dazzling rays all over the place, like a disco ball that makes it difficult to see.

underwater shimmering

Sunny skies = underwater shimmering

But, when the sky is overcast, it becomes much easier to see underwater, at least for my human eye. There's no dazzling disco ball effect and it's much easier to look up in the water column.

no underwater shimmering

Overcast skies = no underwater shimmering

I can't say anything definitive about this, it's just what I've seen on camera. It's hard to say for sure, but if you've got thoughts on this, then I'd love to hear them!

You'll find the comments section below. Thank you.

What if you don't get on the trout first thing in the morning?

It's reasonable to expect that things may not go your way during a summer speckled trout trip, especially when considering how much has to go right and how much can go wrong.

It's possible that you could fail to locate a good trout bite and then you're stuck with bailing out your fishing trip.

So, what's a good solution?

I recommend rolling to Plan Redfish, since those fish are hardier and tend to feed longer through the day during summer.

My favorite way of doing this is sight fishing! This guide will get you pointed in the right direction.

Or, you can roll to Plan Triple Tail, and start checking anything that floats for that quirky fish. To get started, you should really check out this primer to catching triple tail in Louisiana.

Better Planning For Overcast Speckled Trout

So now that you have this little nugget of speckled trout fishing knowledge in your head, you may be thinking, "Well, how can I plan for overcast weather?"

My favorite way to do this is to use Windfinder. Below the wind forecast you will see a prediction for what the skies will be like.

Not familiar with Windfinder? No problem!

In my course Fishing Trip Planning Resources you will discover all the resources I use to plan epic fishing trips. Windfinder is only one of them, but it is the main one that I recommend to anyone trying to figure out where to go fishing.

This course is only available inside my membership LAFB Elite, which successful anglers recommend!

Inshore Fishing 101 transformed my fishing trips!

I grew up fishing Delacroix with my dad from age 8-14. I never understood what we were doing or why, and didn’t think to ask questions. Dad did all the leg work and put us on the fish, I just threw at 'em and reeled 'em in.

Today, Captain Devin's Inshore Fishing 101 helped me learn all the things my dad knew to make those fishing trips happen. I'm able to plan good fishing trips to find 'em and catch 'em.

This is much easier due to Devin's ability to "dumb things down" and make fishing concepts easily understandable.

Now 18 years later we are getting a new boat and getting back on the water. Looking forward to showing Dad what I have learned!

Jeffrey Stewart

Works Anywhere Specks & Reds Swim!

The knowledge, tactics and techniques that Captain Devin teaches in his courses will work anywhere on Louisiana's coast.

I fish Vermilion Bay and Big Lake and what he teaches has proven effective for me and my kids!

Jason Blanchard

What do you think?

Perhaps you have your own observations that you've seen on the water, or maybe you think I'm missing something else that ties all this summertime speckled trout behavior together?

If so, please comment below!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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