December 3, 2018

Why do speckled trout love overcast weather?


Speckled trout love overcast weather, but why? Let’s dive in and take a look at this unique behavior.

First of all, everybody knows that a great speckled trout bite is dependent upon more than one condition to happen.

You may have your favorite, which could be one of the following:

  • Good Tide Range
  • High Salinity (during the spawn)
  • Water Temperature (stable)
  • "Trout Green" Water Clarity 
  • And more...

But if there is one condition that should give you a lot of confidence, it's overcast weather.

My best speckled trout trips had this condition, just like in the video below.

Take time to think about your own, and you may realize this has been the case for your best speckled trout trips as well!

Why Do Speckled Trout Love Overcast Weather So Much?

It's a good question for which I have several theories you may enjoy.

Let's go over them one at a time, saving the most plausible for last.

Theory #1: Summertime Heat

Summer can be a tough season for speckled trout.

This is because water temperature rises to a level that is an extreme for a trout's metabolism.

After all, they're cold-blooded creatures, and their body temperature matches that of their environment.

So when the sun warms the water they become sluggish and less active, and will even take a break from feeding if needed.

Think about it:

Imagine standing in a large parking lot in the dead of July. The sun is beating down on the black asphalt around you as sweat is clouding your eyes and soaking your shirt.

Would you want to eat a hamburger right then and there? Yeah, didn't think so!

That feeling is pretty much the same thing for speckled trout during summer.

But what if it became overcast?

The sun couldn't warm the water, and water temps would stay down.

This can prolong a speckled trout bite well past the morning, like what happened on this June fishing trip in the video below.

WARNING: Please excuse any language in the video, as everyone was very excited.

Typical summertime trout trips see an early launch, putting you at your first spot as early as 5:30am!

But on that day we didn't launch the boat until about 8am, and didn't find biting trout until about 1pm.

Perhaps the overcast weather kept the trout biting!

Theory #2: Bad Weather Indicator

Buck Perry (the father of structure fishing) theorizes that fish know when a cold front is coming not because of changes in barometric pressure, but because of changes in light conditions.

Yes! This flies in the face of conventional knowledge, but when you listen to what the man has to say, it all makes a lot of sense.

Buck claims that fish can tell a cold front is about to come because of the overcast weather. 

According to him, fish really can't tell the difference between high and low air pressure (no more than we can), so instead they know a cold front is coming when preceding overcast weather dims the ambient light.

It's time to eat up!

Once the cold front has swept through, the "blue bird" skies signal for fish to seek deep water in order to recover from unstable temperature and dropping water levels.

Theory #3: They Can See Better

The two previous theories are plausible, but this third one is my favorite (and may become yours as well).

I believe speckled trout love overcast weather because it allows them to see their prey easier.

Try This Simple Exercise

On a bright and sunny day, with no hat or sunglasses, go outside, hold your eyelids open with your fingers and look up at the sky.

Hurt, didn't it?

It's tough to see when the sun is glaring in your eyes!

But we humans wouldn't know, because we spend most of our time indoors.

And even when we are outside, we are usually looking at the horizon or down at our hands, most often with a hat and sunglasses on.

But speckled trout don't have these luxuries.

Speckled Trout Love Overcast Weather

They are almost always on the bottom of the water column, where it's safe and comfortable, and won't leave unless they can see their prey 100%.

So, if you did my exercise, it's easy to understand how a bright sky could make for tough feeding.

Overcast Weather Is A Different Story

Try the exercise when it's super cloudy and you'll experience the obvious difference: it's easy to look up.

I feel this is the same experience for speckled trout, and that overcast weather makes it easier to see their prey and more comfortable to feed.

In fact, overcast weather has become such an important factor to my trout fishing that I'm not as optimistic on bright "blue bird" days.

This doesn't mean trout are uncatchable, it just means the best action of my life all came on overcast days.

What do you think? 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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  • I still don’t think it’s a significant factor, because fish can regulate the air in the swim bladder.

    Instead, I think it’s something that happens in conjunction with overcast weather and anglers blame the pressure change instead of the change in light conditions.

  • Thought that about overcast days but surprised about barometric pressure. I thought fish can feel changes in pressure.

  • If they stopped biting it’d most likely because they moved or went inactive.

    I don’t think there is much you can do, save fish somewhere else.

    That’s pretty much the theme song of inshore fishing: moving to stay on biting fish.

    They are not bass.

    I say again: speckled trout and redfish are not bass.





    Go back and read that one hundred times.

    You will pretty much never get a true reaction bite from trout or redfish.

    You’ll see it all the time sight fishing: plenty of schools up swimming around, but not eating.

    Hitting them in the face won’t produce a strike. Instead they usually run away.

    The same goes for speckled trout. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen them on the graph and the little F’ers wouldn’t bite, usually because the tide was slack.

    So they were inactive, and dropping a jig directly in their face did zilch. Nada. Nothing.

    I tried so many times that I even snagged one by accident.

    The solution? Go somewhere else.

    It’s worth repeating: they’re not bass and cannot be force fed like bass.

    It has also been my experience that, with everything being equal, speckled trout will bite best in the morning on a blue-bird day and then the bite slows down once the sun is over the horizon.

    If a bite is like that, then…well…you’re screwed.

    Go home with what you got or spend the rest of the day trying other spots, or go fish for redfish, or whatever.

  • Sorry to get a little off blog subject!

    It would not stop me from trying, I’m looking more at if fish were biting in a location and the bite slowed down due to “sun light”.
    I would be looking to change something simple before moving to another area like maybe fishing a bit deeper or making the fish react to a lure. What are your thoughts from your experience?

  • Justin, I wouldn’t look too hard for something that’s probably not there, something we anglers are prone to do.

    This blog post is merely stating that speckled trout trips have been best on overcast days, and the plausible reasons as to why.

    If it’s sunny, it would make sense to fish deep or somewhere shaded (like bridge pilings), correct?

    So let me ask you this, because I am all about critical thinking: if it’s a sunny day, and you do fish deep water or bridge pilings, but don’t catch anything, would this prevent you from trying shallower water, like an oyster reef?

  • I’d be eager to know how you think speckle trout react to these sunny or cloudy conditions, as in how they would position themselves in the water column or how they relate to structure, and even shade.
    Do you fine fish to be more predicable in sunny or cloudy conditions?
    How would you approach sunny conditions as far as presentation?

  • Thanks, Dru! That’s the answer I was looking for (realize more people than just us are watching this conversation). Yeah, you hardly see shrimp boats pushing during the daytime, just dragging.

    I think the shrimp they drag for are pretty much there year-round.

    I’m also pretty sure the majority of the shrimp we see in the fall are the ones leaving the marsh to spawn in the Gulf, otherwise we have them year-round.

    At Campo’s Marina they hardly ever go further away than the MRGO right outside their canal, whether it’s summer or winter.

    I think shrimp are also very sensitive to light. Their eyes look light they’re built more for nighttime than daytime.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • To hide from predators. That is why shrimp trawlers pull tickle chains in front of there nets, to beat the bottom and get them out the sand and mud.

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