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How to go fishing at night

fishing-300Fishing after dark takes skill. Here are tips to help you catch your limit.


Fish behave differently after dark.

With no light, they depend on their sonar senses. Tiny nerve endings around the face and along the centerline of both sides pick up the smallest vibrations of bait movement, wiggling and spinning of artificial lures. So keep baits moving.

And because predator fish can’t see as well at night, smaller panfish will come out of heavy cover to roam about looking for food. These include bluegills, rock bass, redear sunfish, crappies, yellow perch, small bass and small catfish.


Lanterns do more than just help you see.

Flooding the water surface with light brings in tiny critters called phototropes to the top. They are attracted to light. They, in turn, bring the small minnows to feed on them. And panfish come to dine on the minnows.

Then, you come in — to dine on the panfish.

Just for fun, take along a magnifying glass. You’ll be amazed at the number of phototropic organisms in
the lighted surface waters.

Don’t forget that lanterns attract bugs. Take along some insect repellant.


When fishing from shore or a dock, cover the hook with your bait and try several different places.

Try fishing around weeds, lily pads, brush and other panfish hangouts. Dunk the bait and move it around until you catch your first fish.

Where there is one, there usually are more. Keep trying different depths until you begin catching fish.

Once you locate a school, you can catch enough for the whole crew. If you don’t catch fish within your immediate area, try casting out farther. Eventually, you will find the fish.

A flashlight is handy for locating different kinds of cover.

If you’re using a bobber, drop the bait close to the edges of the cover and keep moving until you cross paths with your target.


Casting can be tough when you can’t see. Practice in the backyard with a cork over your hook or with a practice plug. Eventually, you’ll be able to tell how far you’re casting without even looking at the line.

Changing sinkers, bobbers and hooks is also a challenge in the dark. If you practice at home, you won’t waste valuable time at the lake when your line breaks.


  • Get permission from an adult before heading into the dark.
  • Don’t go alone. Even in daylight, fish with a buddy. Tell someone where you’re going to be, how you’re going to get there and when you are going to return.
  • If you have one, take a mobile phone. You might catch your limit early and want a ride home.
  • Take at least one flashlight for each fisherman. And take an extra set of batteries.

56 Comments on How to go fishing at night

  1. crappie at night with minnows is a blast with lights

  2. what species of fish are attracted to lights?

  3. pls what types species of fish are attracted to lights?

  4. Scout4Life // April 28, 2016 at 1:58 pm // Reply

    I just got a landing net that has a flashlight built into the handle. Works great not only for when I fish at night but also in the woods for catching frogs, etc. Its called the Illuminet Pro, I got it on Amazon but might also be in sporting good stores but Im not sure..

  5. I didn’t see wut u needed like a hook, fishing rod, sinkers, bobbers, and bait?
    I also didn’t see wut kind of bait ur supposed to use

  6. somebody let me know if it is legel to use lights in illonois to fish!

  7. cool

  8. Fishing at night is very fun. I’ve been doing it for years. To get the hang of it, fish from the shore at night before trying it in a boat.

  9. It looks fun but who needs to do it.


  11. white_light79troop65 // December 18, 2009 at 9:54 pm // Reply


  12. white_light79troop65 // December 18, 2009 at 9:49 pm // Reply

    it is not illegal to fish at night, but you need to be careful the law changes where you can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!there is not many places you can do it .BUT MOST IMPORTANT IT IS LEGAL IN SOME PLACES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. ya i am taking a wildlife law class and it is ilegal

    • white_light79troop65 // December 18, 2009 at 9:51 pm // Reply


  14. Its illegal to do that!!!!!!!

  15. yeah I think it is illegal to attract fish with light

  16. cool man 500 (a.k.a. scout guy) // November 16, 2009 at 6:49 am // Reply

    fishing in the dark is better than fishing in light

  17. cool man 500 (a.k.a. scout guy) // November 16, 2009 at 6:45 am // Reply

    Remember don’t go to place that u need a fishing license when you don’t have one.

  18. Look out for weeds and other debre! 🙂

  19. that looks like fun 🙂 8)

  20. ive done that befor it works i luv 2 fish

  21. I always put my Phone & Wallet in a zip lock bag to keep it dry

  22. fishing fanatic // October 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm // Reply

    that is so cool i bet u can catch a big one

  23. fishing fan // October 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm // Reply

    maybe you should try a rapala magnum as bait

  24. I never know that you could fish at night.I want to do it

  25. cool but I think it’s illegal to atrack fish with a flashlight or any other beam of light

  26. need price or web cite for lantern and holder

  27. i tried it and i caught a gator

  28. Sweet!!! I am going fishing tomarow.

  29. there might be a barracuda

  30. you could tie a glowstick on to your line it will attract more fish and you wont waste bateries on yuor flashlight!

  31. cool i cant wait to try it.

  32. this isn’t a good idea because if fish see light in one place and the rest is dark they will figure out your fishing.

  33. panfish i go for catfish and bass

  34. that sounds fun!

  35. 30otsix1999 // July 7, 2009 at 11:40 am // Reply

    It will be good for when i go to montana!

  36. great going fishing tomorrow!

  37. oooooooooooo // July 2, 2009 at 11:49 am // Reply


  38. RandomPerson // July 1, 2009 at 7:25 am // Reply

    I know someone in my troop who would love this

  39. spyscout123 // June 28, 2009 at 6:46 pm // Reply

    I know someone in my troop who would love this

  40. what do I do on waterday

  41. Booyah!Landed a whole entire school.By the way my daddy taught me all this stuff.

  42. DANGEROUS! If you pull up into brush in the event you hang up, there may be cottonmouths on the limbs. Judgment of distance and inability to see floating logs or stick-ups is another danger. Going with someone with experience will be a great benefit and could be a life-saver.

  43. Archeopteryx // June 26, 2009 at 5:59 am // Reply

    🙂 😀 🙂 :-X

  44. this is useful and no anoying kids will come watch

  45. I would like to do it.

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