Skip to Content

Fishing on a Full Moon: How Moon Phases Affect Fish

Fishing on the day of a full moon is not recommended. Although the reason is unclear, anglers have reported fewer catches during this time.

This post looks at the best times to take a fishing trip according to the moon phase.

Fishing on Full Moon

Is Fishing on a Full Moon Good or Bad?

Although the exact reason is unclear, fishing on the full moon itself leads to the fewest bites. The best days for fishing are three days leading up to the full or new moon, and the three days after.

One reason why the full moon might affect feeding behaviour is because it exerts the strongest pull on the tides. Stronger tidal flow means everything in the water has to exert more energy to live, and needs more food.

The days leading up to the full moon, and the days after the full moon are often good bite times, as fish are using more energy and are hungry. No one knows why, on the day of the full moon itself, bites seem to drop off.

This feeding behaviour has been seen, not only in oceans, but in smaller bodies of water such as rivers and lakes which don’t have tides. There may be other influences at play such as atmospheric pressure and surface water temperature, which affect fish, as well as the bright light of the full moon at night.

A man fishing at night

Why is it Difficult to Catch Fish When the Moon is Full?

It’s unclear why the full moon leads to less catches.

One theory is that the full moon triggers insect hatches at night. Since fish suddenly have a large food source available on a full moon, they are less likely to be looking for food in the day.

Fish Behaviour During a Full Moon

Different species of fish behave differently during a full moon. Some fish, like trout, are attracted to the bright lunar light at night time, causing them to be more active during the night, and less active during the day.

Both trout and carp tend to feed more at night time, and since some insect hatches are triggered by a full moon, they may eat more at night, and be out less in the day.

Other fish, like bass and bluegill species tend to lay their eggs during a full moon, and are less likely to be out looking for food.

Fish Behaviour During a Full Moon

Best Days to Fish According to the Moon

The best days to fish are the three days either side of the new moon, and the three days either side of the full moon.

 During a new or full moon, the tides are at their strongest. The height of the high tide starts to go down after the full moon, reaching its lowest levels in the last quarter moon. After that tides increase again and reach their peak at the new moon. Periods of stronger water movement, at high and low tides, usually lead to more fish catches.

The worst time to fish is when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other. Since the sun and moon are not aligned, the gravitational forces cancel each other out leading to a neap tide.

The image below shows the best moon phases to go fishing, which are marked with a white fish.

Lunar Fishing Calendar

Night Fishing vs Day Fishing

If you are going bait fishing during a new moon, going out at night time can be more effective since fish are more likely to swim to shallower water under the cover of darkness.

Night fishing in the UK often produces better catches for anglers. This is because during the day, fish tend to swim into deeper water and stay away from the shore. At night however, they feel less vulnerable and are more likely to come to the surface.

Does the Full Moon Affect Bass Fishing?

Full Moon Fishing Calendar 2023

When checking the lunar phase, try to avoid fishing on the full moon, or the first or third quarter. Either side of the new or full moon is a great time. The calendar below shows the best fishing days in 2023, according to the moon phase.

Lunar Calendar with Best Fishing Times

Day of the Full Moon Day of the New Moon Best Fishing Days
January 6, 2023 January 21, 2023 January 3-5, 7-9, 18-20, 22-24
February 5, 2023 February 20, 2023 February 2-4, 6-8, 17-19, 21-23
March 7, 2023 March 21, 2023 March 4-6, 8-10, 18-20, 22-24
April 6, 2023 April 20, 2023 April 3-5, 7-9, 17-19, 21-23
May 5, 2023 May 19, 2023 May 2-4, 6-8, 16-18, 20-22, 31
June 3, 2023 June 18, 2023 June 1-2, 4-6, 15-17, 19-21, 30
July 3, 2023 July 17, 2023 July 1-2, 4-6, 14-16, 18-20, 29-31
August 1, 2023 August 16, 2023 August 2-4, 13-15, 17-19, 28-30
August 31, 2023 September 15, 2023 September 1-3, 12-14, 16-18, 26-28, 30
September 29, 2023 October 14, 2023 October 1-2, 11-13, 15-17, 25-27, 29-31
October 28, 2023 November 13, 2023 November 10-12, 14-16, 24-26, 28-30
November 27, 2023 December 12, 2023 December 9-11, 13-15, 23-25, 27-29
December 26, 2023 January 11, 2024

Current Moon Phase

Fishing According to the Farmer’s Almanac

The best times to fish are when fish are naturally the most active. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the best times to go fishing are:

  • During sunset and sunrise
  • An hour before and an hour after high tide
  • An hour before and an hour after low tide
  • During the rise and set of the moon
  • When the barometer is steady or on the rise
  • When the breeze is from the west, rather than the north or east
Is Fishing on a Full Moon Good or Bad?

FAQs on Fishing During a Full Moon

What is the best moon phase for fishing?

The best moon phase for fishing is in the three days leading up to the full or new moon, or the three days after the full or new moon.

Do fish not bite during a full moon?

Anglers report less catches during a full moon. This may be because some insect hatches are triggered by the full moon, and the fish may be less hungry since they suddenly have a large food source.

Does a blood moon affect fishing?

Anglers have reported fewer catches during a full moon. A blood moon, also known as a total lunar eclipse, is still a full moon. The moon’s gravitational pull on the tides and influence on fish feeding behaviour is still the same during a blood moon, as with any regular full moon.

Is full moon good for saltwater fishing?

The full moon causes stronger saltwater tides. This results in higher catches either side of the full moon, but not on the day of the full moon itself. The exact reason for this is not clear.

What does a lunar eclipse do to fish?

During a solar eclipse, fish were observed to be behaving the same way they would during a regular sunset. During a lunar eclipse however, no behavioural changes have been observed in fish.

Best Moon Phase for Carp Fishing

Other Fishing Articles

This Post Was About Fishing on a Full Moon

Thank you for reading my article about fishing on a full moon. The lunar cycle is very important when it comes to fishing, as the moon not only influences ocean tides, but also affects fish behavior. If you have been monitoring your success during different moon phases, please leave me a comment below and let me know your best fishing days.