Do Trout Like Sun Or Shade? Perfectly Target Trout With This Tip

Trout species live in different habitats with varying conditions and weather patterns which can have a great impact on their activity and feeding behavior.

In order to make your fishing trip more successful, you need to learn when and where it is best to target trout. To do that, you need to consider important factors such as the water temperature and the cloud cover.

So, do trout like sun or shade? Trout like the shade more than the sun. They will regularly seek out shady areas of the water as the temperature is cooler in these areas. Trout also like the shade because it reduces the glare in their eyes and allows them to conceal themselves from both predators and the prey they feed on.

Keep reading to learn more about how varying conditions and weather patterns can affect trout fishing and what time is best to target trout.

How Does the Weather Affect Trout Fishing?

do trout like sun or shade featured: A man holding trout underwater

Weather can have a big impact on trout’s feeding behavior and the ideal times of day to target

Trout are sensitive to any changes in their environment because they are a cold-blooded species which means that their body temperature will mirror their surrounding temperatures.

This can impact their behavior as their metabolism rate changes depending on the temperature of their external environment.

So, when the water temperature is warmer, trout’s metabolism will increase and they will feed more, while cold temperature will slow down their metabolism and make them more lethargic.

I discuss how weather affects Trout fishing more in my guide to trout fishing in foggy weather here, I recommend checking it out to learn how to really target the perfect weather for trout and how to catch trout in unfavorable weather.

Sunshine vs. Shade

Trout tend to prefer shade over sunshine. That is because being in shaded areas is more comfortable for them during warmer months and puts less stress on them.

Trout will seek shaded areas of the water if they are available during the middle of the day. If there’s no shade, they will seek deeper areas where the water is cooler.

Another reason trout seek out shaded areas is to reduce the glare in their eyes from bright sunshine since they don’t have eyelids and can’t dilate their pupils

What Is the Best Weather to Target Trout?

Generally, you can catch trout all year round. However, it’s best to target them when the weather is comfortable enough for trout to feed which is usually during late spring. The prey that they feed on will also be active during this time, so trout will be more likely to bite.

Therefore, the best weather to target trout is when the temperature ranges between 34 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Their activity will increase as the temperature rises above 40 degrees Fahrenheit

Keep in mind that if the air temperature is uncomfortable for you (freezing cold or scorching hot), it will also be uncomfortable for trout and they will not be very active.

This rule of thumb is still true for night fishing, although there are some differences in case you are going fishing after sunset. You can learn how to fish for Trout at night with success here.

Where to Target Trout During Every Season?

Trout usually live in streams, rivers, and lakes. They prefer water that’s clean and fresh. To increase your chances of successfully catching trout, you will first need to learn where to find them.

So, let’s take a closer look at the best areas to target trout during each season.


During spring, it’s best to target trout in the shallows closer to the shore. You’re most likely to find them in areas that are thick with weeds where there’s plenty of insects and worms for them to feed on.


As the weather heats up in the summer, trout will seek out deeper areas in the water during the hot hours of the day as the water would be cooler there. So, it’s best to target them away from shore, in deeper pools or areas with shade.


Fall is considered the second-best time of year to fish for trout after spring. The worst of summer’s heat gives way to cooler air and water, so trout can come out of the deep areas and return to the shallows.

However, by the end of fall, trout will start to slow down in anticipation of the cold days ahead.


Generally, trout are not very active in winter as they are cold-blooded species. As the water gets colder, their metabolism will slow down and they won’t bite as much.

That’s why winter is usually an off-season for trout fishing, officially in many areas and unofficially in the minds of anglers.

One interesting case, though, is after rain. Make sure to check out our guide to fishing for Trout after the rain here to learn how you can actually catch your biggest Trout catches in this unlikely weather.

What Is the Best Time of the Day to Target Trout?

The best times of day to target trout are early morning from dawn until about 2 hours after sunrise and late afternoon from about 3 hours before sunset until dusk.

Trout tend to feed throughout the entire day and even during the night, however, early morning and late afternoon are the most ideal as the temperature would be the most comfortable for trout to feed and they’ll be active and more likely to bite.

Related Questions

Can You Still Catch Trout on Sunny Days?

You can still catch trout on sunny days as long as you’re targeting them in deeper areas of the water. That is because trout will seek out deeper areas of the water to get away from the heat and glare of the sun overhead.

Are Storms Good for Trout Fishing?

Storms can be good for trout fishing. That is because rain increases the levels of oxygen in the water which makes trout hungrier and more active. Rain also causes insects and other aquatic creatures that trout feed on to rise closer to the water surface which makes it easier for anglers to catch trout.

What Do Trout Feed on?

Trout feed dragonfly nymphs, caddis fly nymphs, leeches, snails, crawfish, and other small bait fish. They will also feed on aquatic invertebrates such as insect larva. You can usually target trout in weedy or muddy areas of the water where their food resides.

What Kind of Fishing Line is Best for Trout Fishing?

The best kind of fishing line for trout fishing is a monofilament line with a 6 to 10-pound test. You can also go for a heavier braided line with a 4 to 6-pound line test. Make sure to attach a fluorocarbon leader with a 4 to 6-pound test to your mainline to avoid having trout bite through it.

Helpful Resources 

Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan (you can check the book on Amazon here)

Level Up your Trout Fishing

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