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How Weather Effects Fishing in Wisconsin Lakes

With more than 12,000 freshwater lakes and ponds dotting its landscape, Wisconsin is known for its great fishing. When it comes to setting your sights on that big catch, however, Mother Nature can make things a little tricky.

Anyone who’s spent time fishing will tell you that there are good days and bad days. The same is true for any outdoor activity. But did you know that weather is a major factor in fishing success! It may sounds strange, but changes in wind, temperature, barometric pressure and water turbidity (clarity) play a much bigger role in fish feeding behavior than you might think.

While this isn't a surefire guide to when you're more likely to catch fish, it can certainly give you some insight as to why the fish might bite one hot summer day, and not the next. And the good news is that you don't have to take ownership for a "failed" day on the lake. You can now blame the weather!

Side note... If you'd like to try your hand at catching the big one in Amber Lake (previously known as Squaw Lake), a semi-private lake known for its excellent Musky fishing, give Birch Trail Resort a call today at 715-588-1962. Located directly on Amber Lake, our resort not only offers ideal access for the avid or beginner fisherperson, but cozy accommodations after a day on the lake!

What Affects Fishing in Wisconsin Lakes?

Everything! Weather conditions can affect everything from the recommended fishing equipment to use and the type of fish available to catch. In fact, weather is so important that fishing experts suggest that you can’t truly predict what a day of fishing will be like until you’ve checked the weather forecast.

It’s important to note that not all weather conditions are created equal when it comes to fishing. Two different days with the same weather forecast can have a completely different effect on fishing. For example, a hot, sunny day with no clouds and a light breeze blowing might be great for spending time on the water in a boat, but it would likely be poor for fishing from the shore. By contrast, a cloudy day with a light breeze or no wind might be the perfect day for fishing from the shore.

But for all intensive purposes, here are a few weather factors to consider and why...


Wind can influence fishing in two ways. One is fairly obvious - waves. Waves create turbidity, or a clouding of the water. When the fish can't see well, they are less likely to be out seeking food. Or if they are, they may not respond to the same colored lures you might be used to. Red lures, for example, become almost camouflage in cloudy water; opt instead for neon lures if you're out in the wind. The second way wind can influence fishing is blowing temperature changes across the lake (see below).


As most of our fish here in Amber Lake are cold-blooded (if not all), they must regulate their own body temperatures. Cooler weather forces fish to slow down, requiring less food to survive. Therefore, they are less likely to take your bait. Warmer temperatures allow the fish to move about freely, requiring more food to feed their active day (great day to fish!). With that said, if the temperature is too high, they're likely to hang out in deeper waters to gain access to more oxygen-rich waters.


Storms present their own list of challenges for the ready-to-go fisherman. Thunder, lightening, high winds and heavy rain are all reasons to not go out on the boat that day! fishing as you sense the storm rolling in, might be your best opportunity! So long as it's a slow moving storm and you can safely get back to the cabin before the rain starts, fishing before the storm tends to be quite productive. One theory is that because of the changes in barometric pressure (that the fish can sense), fish tend to want to "stock up" on food, going into a feeding frenzy.

On the contrary, fishing right after a storm, tends to be one of the most unproductive times to go due to the barometric pressure rising, cold air fronts and higher winds. However, when the pressure, temps and wind even out (24-72 hours after the storm) the fish are more likely to be out and hungry after the lapse in feeding time the storm caused.

So, what's the best time, day, temps, wind and weather to fish in...the word is still out on that! Expert fishermen become experts through regular experience and paying close attention to the weather conditions. Take mental notes, use your natural intuition, and keep trying!

Looking for plenty of opportunities to built up your fishing experience? Birch Trail Resort is truly the ideal resort for all day fishing! With pontoon and fishing boat rentals, direct access to Amber Lake, and one of the most beautiful, natural settings around, Birch Trail is perfect for learning on your own how the weather effects your fishing success! Call today to book your stay! 715-588-1962.


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