How Does Atmospheric Pressure Affect Fishing: A Helpful Guide [2022]

Answering How Does Atmospheric Pressure Affect Fishing will help you to know which days are best to head out onto the water. Most know that barometric pressure can change many things from headaches to arthritis, but did you know that it can also affect fish behavior? As a tool that is commonly used by meteorologists to predict moving weather systems, this event is an invaluable resource for anglers as well.

What Is Barometric Pressure?

First, let’s get into what barometric pressure is and how it occurs. Some refer to this event as atmospheric pressure or air pressure, which relates to the atmosphere exerting an ample amount of weight in a specific area.

As mentioned, it’s an excellent tool for meteorologists since it can help them to figure out how weather systems and fronts are going to move. Even though air feels as light as a feather, it certainly has mass, and with these atmospheric pressure, every square inch on the surface above water is bound to be affected.

You would be surprised to learn that even fish in the sea are bound to feel the pressure, but they are built to withstand it, similar to how we are. With that said, barometric pressure isn’t a random occurrence; it’s a reading to consider daily.

You might notice there are slight fluctuations in air pressure around mid-morning and the evening, which can be the cause of different fish behaviors.

How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fish?

The easiest way to describe the effect that atmospheric pressure has on fish is to imagine a large body of water. If you were to drop something into the body of water, it would either sink, float, or stay suspended.

When there is a shift in pressure, it will cause items in the water to act as if there are changes in gravity, upsetting the balance. However, this isn’t a negative thing for anglers, as you can take advantage of plenty of tools to help you account for atmospheric changes.

When in the water, fish can detect changes in air through their air bladders, which is why those with smaller air bladders are less likely to be affected by barometric changes.

If the fish you’re looking for have large bladders, they will not only be able to detect the changes in the atmosphere, but they may also be able to predict them. Any barometric changes can cause the air bladders to expand, causing the fish to be uncomfortable.

How Does Atmospheric Pressure Affect Fishing?

The main point to make a note of is that atmospheric changes will have a lot to do with how your desired fish are going to behave. Aside from that, you aren’t going to experience many differences in your angling experience. Below, you will find the best and worst times to go fishing when there are barometric changes.

1. High Pressure

With high pressure, there are usually clear skies, and during this time, fish are going to bite with a medium to slow speed. You’ll find that fishing in deeper water or near cover will be the most effective solution, not to mention ensuring that you fish slowly.

2. Medium Pressure

Under medium pressure, the weather is bound to be fair and will also provide a typical fishing experience. You can typically see more success by using different baits or gear to attract more fish.

3. Low Pressure

If it’s cloudy or rainy, you’re likely in a low-pressure system. At this point, fishing will begin to slow, and you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water. If you still decide to fish under these conditions, you’ll want to venture into deeper water and stay near cover, if possible.

4. Rising Pressure

When the weather is transitioning from low to high or medium to high, you’ll find the fish will have a little more activity than usual.

5. Stable Pressure

If you live in an area that has had consistently good weather, you’re likely in a steady pressure system. During this time, you’ll have the most normal fishing experience where you can test out different types of gear to attract new fish species.

6. Falling Pressure

You would be surprised to know that the atmospheric pressure changing from high to medium or medium to low is the best time for fishing. At this point, fish are more than willing to get any type of food they can, as they can predict a storm is coming. This time is, undoubtedly, when you’ll want to gear up and head out onto the water.

A general rule of thumb to remember is that fish in shallower waters are more likely to be affected by changes in pressure than their kin in deeper waters. Regardless of barometric readings, you are likely to see more success in deep water, as the air bladders of the fish will be relatively unscathed. Otherwise, you will have to take special care to remain covered when fishing in inadequate conditions in shallow water.

how does barometric pressure affect fishing

How Do You Determine Barometric Pressure?

Now that you have a clear idea of how does barometric pressure affect fishing, you’ll need to know how to keep track of any changes. Some anglers find that they can physically tell when there are atmospheric changes, whereas others rely on unique little tools. A barometer is surely your best friend both before and after you’re on the water.

Another option is to pay close attention to the weather reports in your area. Some news stations provide information about barometric pressure for outdoors enthusiasts, especially on their websites. However, it is best that you invest in a personal barometer so that you can keep track of any changes at your leisure.

What Is a Barometer?

The main job of a barometer is to measure atmospheric pressure, and they’re used by an assortment of professions, from meteorologists to professional anglers. With these devices, you can predict incoming weather changes and different patterns over the short term. Sudden changes in pressure can suggest low-pressure weather fronts, including precipitation.

At first glance, barometers may seem like a tool best left to the professionals, but they are made to be quite user-friendly. There are a ton of different models on the market, some with analog or digital displays, to make getting your readings even simpler. Some anglers also have barometers hardwired onto their boats so that they can track changing weather pattern


There are several reasons why you might want to consider investing in a barometer, as they can be quite convenient. Our favorite benefits include being able to check the weather beforehand and enabling you to change controlled environments.

1. Checking the Weather

We’ve all been in a situation where the day looks fantastic, and so you head to your favorite fishing hole. Only to find that the weather changes within an hour, and you’re stuck on your boat drenched from the rain.

With the help of your barometer, you will be able to see any changes in the atmosphere so that you can stay dry and have the most effective angling possible.

Many outdoor enthusiasts explain that having a barometer is much more than convenience, as it can also be a lifesaving tool. This point is particularly true if you enjoy hiking or venturing into the mountains as well as fishing.

Being able to predict upcoming weather changes and storms can help you to prepare by setting up your shelter and getting out of the elements. If you’re someone who always loves to be prepared in any situation, a barometer should undoubtedly be on your list of things to buy.

2. Predicting Fish Behavior

Some enjoy fishing to clear their heads while others do it for survival. If you’re a fisher who likes their trips to be as efficient and successful as possible, you will want a barometer. Not only can you predict the weather, but you can also determine what the behavior of the fish will be.

For example, if there’s a sheer drop in pressure, you can bet fishing will be the best in that particular area. It will help you to catch the most in as short a time as possible. Alternatively, a barometer can also let you know whether or not fishing is even worth your time that day.

There won’t be any need to worry about guessing if you’re going to get a bite, as a barometer helps to turn it more into a science.

3. Navigation

Although a barometer isn’t anything like GPS, there are some built-in features that you may want to put to good use. Some of the higher-end models have navigation features, such as an altimeter. You may also find they have a compass, which you can use to determine your location.

You can guarantee that with these three features, you can quickly head out on fishing trips without the fear of losing your campsite.

That said, if you opt for the less expensive barometers, you aren’t likely to get any other features. Some anglers will find that they prefer the less costly analog versions as they are lightweight, easy to carry, and are very easy to use.

4. Improved Gardening

If you have someone in your family who had established a garden on your property, they will want to know when the right time is to water and protect their plants from storms. You might be surprised to know that barometers are also invaluable resources for managing vegetables, fruits, or even flowers on your property.

You can typically find garden barometers from your local nursery, and they can provide you with incredible information before, during, and after you have set up your garden.

For example, a barometer can let you know if a storm is coming so that you can postpone planting new seeds. You’ll also know precisely when not to water your flowers, and that is when there’s precipitation in the forecast.

5. User-Friendly

The companies that manufacture barometers likely know that not everyone who gets their hands on one is going to be a professional meteorologist. With that said, you can typically find an assortment of models that allow you to predict weather changes easily. Regardless if you choose an analog or manual, or digital or electronic model, it will become your most-used toy.

Analog barometers, also known as mechanical or manual devices, need to be calibrated by hand using the instructions you receive with the device. After calibration, they will provide you with an accurate reading. They are typically very lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to carry with you anywhere.

Digital or electronic devices, on the other hand, are going to be slightly more expensive but will come with plenty more features. Electronic barometers will typically also have an altimeter as well as a compass built into its software. You also won’t have to worry about calibrating the device, as it does all of the work for you.

Plenty of anglers like electronic barometers because they’re easy to use. First, you power the unit on, then choose which mode you’d like to use, and read the pressure rating. They’re quite simple and just as portable as analog models, but they are slightly more expensive.

6. Controlling Artificial Environments

Similar to how you would use a barometer around your gardens, you can also use these tools to help manage artificial environments. Whether you own a lab or a greenhouse garden, barometers will assist you with monitoring the atmospheric conditions inside of a room. The information it will provide can help you to keep everything within the most beneficial parameters.

Earlier, when we discussed the extra features a barometer may have, some models also feature humidity and temperature readings. These points can be incredibly useful if you manage a greenhouse or even if you have a particular room in your home dedicated to pets.

By keeping track of the changes in atmospheric pressure in the artificial environment, you’ll know what is most optimal and can make whatever changes are necessary.

Final Thoughts

The best way to answer how does barometric pressure affect fishing is to think of the physiology of a fish. The higher the air pressure, the most uncomfortable fish will feel thanks to their air bladders. On the other hand, falling air pressure can result in the best possible fishing conditions and the highest levels of success.

Knowing the ins and outs of atmospheric pressure can help you to become more prepared for your upcoming fishing trip with minimal effort. Not to mention you’ll also have a better hand in predicting the behavior of fish dependent on the weather.

2 thoughts on “How Does Atmospheric Pressure Affect Fishing: A Helpful Guide [2022]”

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