Full Moon and Trout Fishing [ What is the Big Deal]

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

full moon and trout fishing on bank at night

Have you ever been fishing when there is a full moon? Many anglers swear that the moon influences fishing. Let’s take a look at the full moon and trout fishing to see if the moon has any effect on our favorite game species.

Is There a Moon Phase that is Good for Trout Fishing?

Full and new moons affect different types of fish differently. A full moon makes it easier for trout to see prey and predators, while a new moon gives them less visibility. Let’s find out the relationship between the full moon and trout fishing.

Whether you’re fishing salt water or fresh water, the best fishing time for trout varies. Steel­head trout, a saltwater trout, can be more active at full and new moons because of the tidal waves of the oceans. However, freshwater trout aren’t affected by the lack of tide in fresh­water bodies of water.

What if you’re still going out after dark to fish for trout? What else is there to know about the moon phases? Here we’ll look at some additional considerations when choosing lures and baits for night fishing and which moon phases affect trout fishing.

Do Trout Sleep?

Trout don’t sleep, but they do dream. It’s more of a daydream than the sleep we’re used to. Trout are opportunistic

However, if it’s a full moon and bright outside, fish may be able to see their prey better than usual, so they might eat more during these times. Trout usually don’t need light to see colors, but if there isn’t enough light, they use their eyes’ ability to distinguish between shades of gray.

Nighttime fishing for rainbow and brown trout is a great method for landing some large fish. They’re usually found near the banks at night, especially when they’re bigger than average.

How Different Moon Phases Effect Trout Fishing

There are many theories about why people love fishing on full moons. Some believe it’s because there’s less light pollution, while others say it’s due to increased fish activity. But what does science tell us about the effects of different moon cycles on fish?

In general, the Moon affects the ocean temperature. When the Moon is nearly full, the temperature of the oceans drops slightly. However, this doesn’t happen consistently throughout the year. Instead, it varies according to the season.

During the winter, the Moon is closer to Earth and casts a long shadow over the ocean’s surface. As a result, the temperature of the seas drops. Conversely, the Moon is farther away during the summer, and the shadows cast by the Moon are shorter. Therefore, the temperature of the sea stays warmer.

The Moon also influences the amount of sunlight reaching the ocean’s surface, particularly in areas close to shore. For example, if you’re fishing off the coast of California, the Moon will make the water seem darker during the day. On the other hand, if you’re fishing in Alaska, the Moon will make it easier to spot fish in the shallows.

Finally, the Moon affects the visibility of marine animals, including fish. At night, the Moon makes objects look smaller and dimmer. Fish use vision to detect predators, prey, food sources, mates, and rivals. Therefore, they tend to hide under cover when the Moon is up.

So far, research hasn’t found much evidence to support the idea that full moons cause fish to move toward the surface. One study did find that steelhead preferred deeper waters when the Moon was full.

However, the researchers suggested that this could be caused by the fact that full moons tend to occur in fall and spring when fish migrate to spawning grounds. Another study found no difference in fish movement patterns when comparing full moons to new moons.

full moon in clouds

Full moon

Every month (or every 29½), there is a full moon. It’s when the moon is at it’s brightest. It can sometimes affect fish fishing positively.

When there is a full moon, the tide pulls harder because the sun and the moon pull at opposite sides of the earth. Saltwater trout are more active at night due to the high tide and increased activity. Rainbows and browns aren’t likely to be affected by the tide, but they may increase their activity levels because there is more visibility and they’re searching for food.

New moon

During new moon, it is usually completely dark.


A new moon can cause a strong tide. However, like a full moon, steel­head trout would be among the few fish affected by this phenomenon. Unlike a full moon which provides lots of light, a new moon doesn’t provide any light at all, so fresh water fish don’t get an increase in their ability to see and feed.

Do Trout Feed After A Full Moon?

Trout are most active at night, under a full moon. If you fish at night, it’s likely that you’ll catch some. You might even find yourself catching them during the day, too.

However, this depends heavily on a number of environmental variables, including food availability and season, which means that you shouldn’t allow this to stop you from going out and fishing during the day. Try fishing at night if you’re not sure whether the fish are active during the day.

Is it Possible for the Moon to Change Your Trout Fishing?

The effect of moon phases are often discussed by trout fisherman. Trout fishermen aren’t any different from other fishermen; however, they’re less concerned about it than their counterparts who fish in saltwater. When I leave for a day of hunting, I don’t consider the phases of the lunar cycle. If I have free hours available, and if the conditions are good, I go fishing.

There is evidence that certain species of fish are more active when there is a full moon. Trout are visual hunters who can easily spot their quarry because they can use their eyes to help them track down their meals. Bait fish are also more active during the full moons because they can also see better. On bright nights, all fish become more active.

If they’ve been eating all night long.If the trout are feeding all night, you can expect them to eat less during the daylight hours.

Trout will be much less likely to chase an inline spinner or hit a fly on the surface if they already have a full belly from the night before. If you fish after a full moon just be prepared to work a little harder to get those trout to strike.

Can the Tide Affect Your Trout Angling?

The tides are one of nature’s most powerful forces. They shape our lives every day, whether we realize it or not. The word “tide” actually comes from the Old English term “tyde,” meaning “the flow of the sea.”

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the earth. The full moons create the biggest tides. Tides also influence all bodies of water. There will always be tides from large bodies of water to smaller ones. The ocean tidal range can be huge, but in ponds, it is impossible for us to see with our eyes alone.

The tides aren’t really important for trout fishing unless you fishing near a river that empties into a bay or ocean. The largest lakes in North America, the Great Lakes, have a small 2-inch tidal range. Lake levels are influenced by air pressure and winds.

When fishing in the tidal zones. A full moon will often cause bait fish to run. Trout, like all predators, follow the food. The trout will wait and ambush the bait as they get near.

You should be aware that some species of bait are active during the full moon or during the peak of high tide. The bait will run, and the trout and other predator game fish will follow them.

If the bait runs, opportunistic trout will wait for them to try and get an easy meal during these low light hours. It is easier for someone to bring you food than to go out and get it yourself.

fishing at night with headlaml

Which Trout Lures to Use Where There is a Full Moon?

When there’s a full moon, fish tend to be attracted to brightly colored and glowing lures. If you’re using baits, a bright color PowerBait is a popular choice that usually works well. Buy a scented one to help the fish feel it in the dark. Garlic corn makes an excellent scenting and natural baiting material.

Buy a good quality surface lure that is effective. Even though trout can only see in contrast, it still helps to have brighter lures, making the contrast even better. Don’t worry so much about the color of the lures; just focus on making them attractive. If there is any kind of contrasting colors between the lures and the body, they should be effective.

If you are fishing for trout in the dark, it is a good idea to try fishing on or near the bank. Trout are usually surface feeders and are found in shallow waters. Make sure not to scare them by moving too much in the water keep from splashing around in the water too much since it might alert the trout to your presence and spook them. You can stand on rocks or the bank to hide the line and use a leader to make the line less visible to the trout.

Here are a few examples of lures that could help you catch more trout:

  • Blue Fox, Rapala, or Kastmaster Spoon
  • Inline Spinners by Mepps and BlueFox
  • Rapala Original Minnows
  • Spook Jr’s and Hula Poppers

Does the Full Moon Effect Trout Fishing

The moon can affect trout fishing, but not in the tidal sense that most freshwater anglers might think about. The moon affects trout fishing by making the trout feed more at night, which isn’t great for our anglers, who have a 9 -5 that we have to go to each day. A full moon could be your ticket to angling success if you feel like trying your luck at some nighttime trout fishing.


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