Fishing 101: Best Weather for Fishing the Great Lakes

By Kenneth Reaves of

The Great Lakes span 94,250 square miles, and together they contain 21% of the world’s freshwater supply! 

If you’re in the area of one of the Great Lakes, it’s well worth a day out on the water. The fishing is excellent on all 5 of them, although each does have their own particular draw. 

The best weather conditions for fishing in the Great Lakes really depends on what you want to catch. Here’s our advice for what conditions are best for some of the most popular fish in the Great Lakes.

Lake Erie: Cloudy Weather 

If you’ve been dreaming about landing a trophy walleye, then Lake Erie is the place to be. 

Days where the skies are overcast are the best times to head out and catch these elusive fish. Lake Erie has clear water and walleye are sensitive to bright light and have low-light vision. You’ll find that the bite gets better during the day when it’s overcast and you can easily land your daily limit. 

If, however, you’re not able to get the day off to go fishing when it’s overcast, then you can try fishing for walleye in the evening. If you’ve planned a trip and it’s sunny with very little cloud cover, then you can use a planer board to catch the attention of the fish.

Lake Superior: Lightly Rainy 

If the weather looks like it may get a bit wet, then this would be the best time to head out to catch trout or salmon at Lake Superior!

Trout have excellent vision, even if they can’t see in as much detail as we can. It’s one of the reasons why it’s harder to catch trout on sunny days. Clear skies and sun also mean that predators will be able to spot them more easily from above, making them less inclined to come to the surface.

When you fish in overcast or light rain, the trout feed more heavily as they’re not as easily spooked. Not only do the fish feel safer on cloudy days, but they won’t be able to see your line, leader, or tipper in the water either. 

It’s also believed that fish are able to sense a drop in barometric pressure. This gives you an advantage, as they’ll be more inclined to feed more heavily with light rain. 

Lake Huron: Winter Temperatures, Low Pressure 

The best time to fish for northern pike is during fall or winter, when the temperatures are milder. With that being said, game fish like pike are predators and they prefer dark water so that they can be undetected by their prey. 

If you’re looking to catch a trophy pike, head out on an overcast or cloudy day. You’ll find that they’re more active and they’ll feed more heavily. If you’re going to be fishing in the summer, then you’ll find the pike are more active in the evenings when it’s cooled down. 

You may also have some luck in the early morning hours before sunrise, but to a lesser extent. 

You can also have a lot of luck catching pike when ice fishing. However, it would be best to pay attention to how thick the ice is. If the ice is too thick and there’s not a whole lot of space for the pike to swim around, then they move to deeper waters.