The following is a very interesting article written by Kamloops Fly Fishers Association member, and long time BC interior fly fisherman, Ron Newman. Ron has been fly fishing rainbow trout in our province for over 30 years, during which he has done a great amount of research and data collection which has enabled him to acquire a vast degree of knowledge on the subject. Thanks Ron for sharing some of your invaluable fly fishing expertise with us!
Barometric Pressure & Fishing ……. by Ron Newman
Over the years, folks have said that fishing was better when the barometer was either high, low, rising, falling, or steady. I even went on the Internet to see if there was a consensus and there wasn’t. About the only thing that seemed certain was that there was no known scientific reason that the barometer should affect the fish.
So I finally decided to get the pressure readings for my 974 recorded fishing trips and see if there was any kind of correlation. I couldn’t get readings at each lake so I used the readings from Kamloops Airport which is essentially the epicenter of my fishing trips. I got readings for 24 hours and 3 hours in advance of each fishing day. I also got readings for the time I started fishing and 4 hours after that for to give a total of four pressure readings for each fishing trip.
Here is a summary of the findings:
|Success Prior to and During Fishing|
|Pressure in Millibars||Strikes per Hour (S/Hr)|
|Greater than 1030||2.84|
|1027 to 1030||2.37|
|1024 to 1027||2.23|
|1021 to 1024||2.08|
|1018 to 1021||1.99|
|1015 to 1018||1.81|
|1012 to 1015||1.71|
|1009 to 1012||1.91|
|1006 to 1009||1.99|
|1003 to 1006||2.00|
|Less than 1003||2.38|
The average success rate for all trips is 1.91 strikes per hour. And for those who care, 10 millibars equals one kilopascal. Either is accepted for barometric pressure readings in Canada.
I had expected numbers to bounce all over the place and was surprised to see consistency as the data for barometric pressure changed. The trend held true for readings prior to the start of fishing as well as readings during fishing and so the table shows the average of these readings. Thus, the answer to the question about barometric pressure is that fishing is BEST when the barometer is high. But it is also above average fishing when the barometer is low. It is in the middle pressure ranges (1012 to 1018 millibars) that the fishing is below average. I also checked out rising and falling barometric pressures. Prior to the start of fishing, it is best if the pressure is rapidly rising or rapidly falling. While fishing, success is best if the pressure remains steady.
Following is a summary of these pressure changes:
|Barometric Pressure||Rapid Rise S/Hr||Rise S/Hr||Steady S/Hr||Fall S/Hr||Rapid Fall S/Hr|
|Prior to Fishing||2.14||1.88||1.89||1.78||2.09|
Those are the results of my investigations. Make up your own mind about how barometric pressure affects fishing but remember that according to the
scientists, air pressure isn’t supposed to affect fish. If a trout moves up or down the water column by more than three feet it goes through more pressure changes than can be exerted by changing from the highest to the lowest barometric pressures.
* Thanks again Ron and stay tuned folks as we will soon be reviewing Ron’s book – Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing: A Guide for Still Waters! In the meantime please check it out here!
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