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What Is the Best Weather for Carp Fishing?

What Is the Best Weather for Carp Fishing?

Carp fishing isn’t all that easy and many beginners get disheartened after numerous blanked sessions. And even the most seasoned of carp anglers still blank from time to time.

But if you’re aware of the weather conditions that carp prefer, catching them can become much easier! That’s why I wrote this in-depth article on the best weather for carp fishing.

The ultimate weather conditions for carp include moderate to warm air and water temperatures, an overcast sky and winds from the south and southwest. Add a slowly falling or stable low air pressure to that and you have got yourself extremely “carpy” conditions.

Keep reading this article if you want to know what weather conditions are most preferable for carp and what type of weather to avoid when carp fishing.

Pro Tip: Keeping an eye on the barometric pressure can really make a difference for your carp fishing! Whenever that pressure is falling, you’ll want to head out to the bank! Having a digital weather station at home is a great aid in that regard. Find the weather station I use for my fishing on Amazon here.

Best Temperature for Carp Fishing

Starting with the water temperature, moderation is the key! Carp become rather inactive in both very cold and too-warm water but can turn into insane feeding machines in more moderate temperature conditions.

That is why many venues will produce the most bites during the night or early morning hours in summer when the water and air temperature is somewhat lower and the water contains more oxygen, and during the day in late autumn/fall, winter and early spring, as the daytime temperatures are usually a little higher than the during the night.

Of course, it’s difficult to define what exactly “moderate” temperatures mean, but from my experience, water temperatures between 47 and 57F (8 to 14C) during the cold season and 60 to 72F (15 to 22C) during summer tend to suit the carp very well.

Best Air Pressure for Carp Fishing

Barometric pressure plays a very important role in carp fishing. Carp are big fish and they certainly feel and react to pressure changes underwater.

Generally speaking, barometric pressure that has either been low for a while or that is slowly falling is the absolute best when it comes to carp.

Especially after a longer period of high barometric pressure, which tends to slow the carp down quite a bit, a dropping air pressure (preferably over several days) can really get them going.

And that is only logical, isn’t it; there is less pressure weighing the carp down and affecting their swim bladder, and so their movement and activity are rising. This, in turn, means hungry fish!

Best Wind for Carp Fishing

a carp angler casting out a rod on lake in windy conditions
Courtesy of Craig Stenson

While wind direction doesn’t play the most important of roles, windy conditions, in general, can be hugely beneficial when carp fishing.

A good chop on the water you’re fishing has several advantages:

  • the water surface is disturbed; less light penetrates it and visibility is lower, which allows the carp to roam about and feed more confidently
  • turbulent surface water and waves can take up more oxygen
  • Insects and other food sources on or just below the surface are pushed toward the margins; the carp will follow

Hence, a good breeze should always be welcome during your carp session!

And as southern or southwestern winds are almost always a little warmer and occur in combination with lower barometric pressure and moderate temperatures, those are the wind directions to look for!

Pro Tip: It’s very important to stand against the wind and to fish into the part of the lake that the wind is blowing toward during the warmer months of the year. During the colder months, choose the calmer part of the lake that is behind the wind!

Do Clouds Affect Carp Fishing?

An overcast sky with thicker clouds tends to affect the carp in a positive way, as clouds mean less light and hence less visibility underwater.

Carp can be extremely cautious and shy creatures, and so a lower light intensity suits them extremely well.

Additionally, a thick cloud cover traps the warmth beneath it, creating a more moderate ratio between daytime and nighttime temperatures, in both air and water.

Such stable conditions tend to let the carp keep their appetite over a longer period of time.

Do Carp Bite in the Rain?

a set of three carp rods on a lake during a heavy rainfall
Courtesy of Declan Williams

While carp tend to continue feeding even in heavy rain conditions, personally, it’s not something I’d recommend, for obvious reasons. Fishing right after a rainfall, or in a light drizzle is on the other hand something I recommend strongly!

For one thing, a light rain won’t get you soaking wet, which means that you will be able to enjoy your session much more.

For another thing, rain does imply plenty of oxygen for the venue you’re fishing in, which commonly puts the carp into a feeding frenzy.

This holds especially true during summer when the water temperature is higher. It’s like the cooling and oxygenating turns on the carp’s activity and feeding switch.

So, if you can at all time it, head out after a heavy shower or while it’s drizzling! The carp will most certainly be hungry!

Pro Tip: Heaving a waterproof rain suit with you on the bank can make all the difference, should the heavy rain decide to show up! Trust me, you don’t want to spend your night session all wet and cold, it’s no fun at all. Amazon has a top-notch and lightweight rain outfit that’ll keep you warm and dry!

Does Snow Affect Carp Fishing?

a bivvy and a set of three carp rods on a rod pod on a lake during a snowfall
Courtesy of Matthew Pugh

Much like rain, snow doesn’t really equal the most comfortable fishing experience for us anglers, but overall, a light snowfall generally doesn’t tend to disturb the carp, if and when they are feeding during this time of year.

Heavy snowfall, on the other hand, is definitely a weather condition that you should avoid. Much like heavy rain, it’s just not equal to a comfortable and dry fishing session.

Additionally, heavy snowfall is usually accompanied by unstable weather, such as a rapidly shifting air pressure and/or a storm, which tend to set off the carp quite a lot.

Once again though, if you find the time to head out to the bank after such nasty weather, chances are good that you’ll actually land a fish or two, even in the middle of winter!

RELATED ARTICLE: Make sure to also check out this article on the very best baits for carp in winter!

Best Carp Fishing Weather App

I have tested a variety of fishing apps over the last couple of years and have found Fishbrain to be the best of them. It’s a very smart and simple-to-use app with a ton of really useful features:

  • Fishing forecast to easily identify favourable weather conditions for any species
  • Fishing spots and venue recommendations
  • Waypoint system
  • Fishing logbook to track your catches
  • Detailed depths map with contour lines

So not only will this app help you identify the best weather conditions, it’ll always improve other aspects of fishing that can help you improve your skills and gather valuable data.

Worst Weather Conditions for Carp Fishing

I have fished for carp in all types of weather and have almost never had any luck at all in the following conditions:

  • Cold northern or northeastern winds
  • Clear skies
  • High air pressure
  • Sub-zero temperatures
  • Fog

The combination of cold temperatures, northern winds and a clear, sunny sky especially are really, really bad conditions for carp fishing, especially when they roll in quickly and cause the barometer to go up!

That, my friends, is a no-go for me! I have had too many freezing sessions with absolutely no activity at all to head out in such conditions.

I guess it’s just something you learn over the years. And now, you can avoid such weather conditions as well, thereby optimizing both your fishing and precious time.

Final Thoughts

a carp rod on a bankstick on a small carp lake beneath an overcast sky
Courtesy of Jay White

Of course, the above-mentioned factors cannot be universally applied to all waters! That is simply not possible. There will always be venues in which the carp react totally differently to different weather conditions.

However, most carp anglers will tell you that they’ve had their best fishing in the conditions outlined in this article. That is because carp, as a species, generally act in a similar fashion, no matter where they are found.

And so, if you are new to carp fishing or are trying out a completely new venue, fishing in such conditions can definitely improve your chances of catching your first fish!

Should they not be able to produce any bites, you can always test out different weather patterns. But initially, I always find these conditions to be a solid starting point.

Tight lines!

Essential Tackle Tips

If you’re looking for solid and reliable carp fishing equipment, these tips might be useful for you.

The following tackle is of top quality and sells at a very decent price on Amazon.

I have been using this setup myself for many years and have caught plenty of big carp with it.

Rod: Daiwa Black Widow

A very strong and beautifully made 12ft 3lb carp rod with a ton of backbone and a great bend. Casts anything up to 5 oz extremely well and lets you navigate and control your fish smoothly and effectively. Fits both open and snaggy waters.

Reel: Shimano Baitrunner DL 6000

A reliable standard-sized baitrunner reel that works great for short to medium-distance carp fishing. Loads around 200 yards of 15-18lb monofilament mainline. Handles any wild run very smoothly! Fits the Black Widow rod perfectly.

Mainline: Daiwa Sensor 15lb

One of the strongest and most durable monofilament lines out there! Sells at a very good price and will last you for many fishing trips. Has just the right amount of stretch to perfectly hook and fight every fish.

Related Carp Fishing Articles

Feature image courtesy of Simon Tunnicliffe