Remember this. It doesn’t rain on fish, just fishermen.
Instead rain affects water surface conditions, making it almost opaque when viewed from below. This affect can be either positive or negative on fishing. Light rains seem to help fishing, while heavy rains turn-off the bite. Here is what seems to be happening. The darkened skies associated with rainy conditions tend to cause the bass to feed, light rain breaks up the surface making our lures more effective, and rain adds oxygen to the water. But as the rain gets heavier and heavier, it gets more and more difficult for the bass to see, so they suspend and quit feeding.
If there is freshwater flowing into the lake from a feeder creek or ditch, the place where this water enters the lake is an excellent place to fish. Nutrients are flowing in, shad are drawn to the nutrients and bass are drawn to the shad.
The bass know the shad will be there so they instinctively migrate to a source of fresh water flowing into a lake. Our experience suggests that bass fishing improves in a light rain, but it tapers off as the rain gets stronger.
Heavy downpours, thunderstorms (and the resulting high winds) make for extremely poor fishing and miserable fishing conditions.
This suits us just fine! Under these conditions we bass fishermen should seek cover and protection, not bass.
Fishing Changing Water Levels
Fluctuating water levels usually cause bass to move and it also affects their eating habits. Rising water causes the shad and the bass to go shallow. The shad are looking for nutrients being added to the lake from the shore, and the bass follow the shad. When a lake is rising, or has recently risen, we immediately fish green vegetation that has recently become a part of the lake. More often than not we fish this vegetation with spinner baits and buzzbaits. If it is cloudy, we expect the fish to be scattered. If it is sunny, we expect them to be holding tight to cover.
Another ideal lure to try is a “Fluke” or Floating worm. When the lake’s level is dropping, or has recently been lowered, the fish move from shallow to deeper water. Under these conditions we concentrate on points. Our second fishing choice is where a flat drops into a channel.
We begin by fishing points with Zara Spooks, then we switch to spinner baits and crankbaits. If these do not work, we assume the bass are inactive and we switch to a grub, a Gitzit, or a Carolina-rigged lizard. If the fish are not on the points, we usually find them holding where a flat drops into a channel.
The first thing we do is mark the drop-off with buoys; then, we position the boat over the channel and toss our lures onto the flat.
More often than not, we use a Carolina rigged lizard, but we often fish the drop-off with a Gitzit, a grub, a jig-and-pig, fluke,french fry, floating worm, or a Texas-rigged worm.
On a personal note: Many anglers I’m sure have discovered that fishing in a light rain has many advantages……. For one you can approach what normally would be a skittish or spooky fish much easier because the rain breaks up the surface of the water, I enjoy fishing in a light rain especially in the Spring ( actually in all seasons except winter) for approaching brushpiles and docks for flipping and pitching . You can get much closer without the fish running off to another cover and it seems at times that the rain dimpling the water surface can increase your chances while fishing a topwater bait such as a spook, chug bait or buzzbait type bait. It seems the light rain puts the fish at ease.