Best Striped Bass Fishing Times – Choose the Right Time, Weather, and Season!


Striped bass, or ‘stripers’ if you prefer, are one of the hardest fighting sea species around. But you will have to work to put a bend in your rod. They can be a little elusive.

You can hedge your bets and increase your chances by fishing at the correct times.

But, what is the best time to fish for striped bass?

Today I will take a deep dive into the best times to pursue striped bass and give you all the information you’ll need to succeed.

The best time to fish for striped bass is during lower light periods, such as the early morning and late evening. They are often most active following a storm and are nearly always present at extremes of the tide. You could be in for a bumper catch if you can combine all three.

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Like all fish, striped bass don’t exactly follow a rulebook. Still, you can identify trends based on the time and season that put you in the best position to achieve success.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Best Weather for Striped Bass Fishing?

The best weather for striped bass fishing are days with a flat overcast. This will produce the most consistent result throughout the day. While stripers are predatory, they will tend to lay low if conditions are too bright, else they might become food themselves.

Always?

The exception to this is during the early morning and late in the evening. In these instances, you could try fishing on brighter days as the sun’s relatively low angle of incidence affords the bass a tactical advantage over their prey.

Regarding the weather, striped bass are most active when the water has been churned up by a storm. While I wouldn’t recommend going in the height of a downpour, you’ll notice better success if you fish immediately following rough conditions.

Why?

Food is dislodged and washed into the water when the sea is unsettled. While stripers are predatory, they also like to scavenge, and these times represent the best opportunity to do so.

striped bass being pulled from the water caught on a fishing hook

What is the Best Time of Year to Catch Striped Bass?

The best time of year for catching striped bass can vary based on location. Striped bass are a migratory species. This means that they move around based on the water temperature and the season.

As a good general guide, you can keep an eye on the water temperature in your given location to assess whether conditions are optimal.

What is the ideal temperature for Stripers?

I’d recommend somewhere in the region of 55 – 65 degrees F. You’ll still get bites on either side of this. Still, they will slow down significantly outside of this window.

Striped bass migratory patterns can be a little complex. They vary based on location, so some local knowledge never goes amiss!

Spring

Spring is when you could first consider striped bass fishing anywhere near ‘good’.

In the early part of the season, the water will still be a little cold, as it lags behind the land temperatures by a few weeks. Shallow water is the earliest to heat up, so you may find stripers making occasional forays into shallower areas searching for food.

Based on the above, you will want to fish when the water temperature is at its zenith, so I’d recommend late afternoon onwards.

Spring can be challenging but rewarding. Here are some of the best lures for spring bass fishing.

Summer

Summer represents an ideal opportunity to catch striped bass. The water is warming nicely but hasn’t yet gone so high as to switch feeding activity off. The very start of the season marks the time that striped bass spawns. As a result, this means that often bites will be pretty slow as the fish are thinking of other things…

However.

Stripers jump into a feeding frenzy once the spawn is out of the way. It is also worth noting that they are fiendishly cannibalistic, so if there has been a large ‘hatch,’ they’ll quite happily gobble up their own young!

When fishing for striped bass in summer, my advice would be to fish a little deeper and seek out fish-holding features. Particular favorites that I find successful include:

  • Pier legs
  • Jetties
  • Rocky outcrops
  • Deep gullies
  • Reefs with a large drop-off

The early morning and late evening are some of the most productive times to try for striped bass. You can catch during the day too, but you may find it a little quiet around midday.

Fishing for stripers in summer is a joy. Here are some top tips to make sure you get the most out of it.

Fall

Fall is one of the best times to catch striped bass.

Spawning is well and truly out of the way. Although the weather is cooling slightly, the water temperature is most likely to remain optimum throughout the day. Early to late fall is the ideal period. Not to mention that this is around the equinox, and therefore you can expect some really strong tides, which stripers love.

You also stand a better chance of getting the flat overcast weather that will bring the fish up in the water.

Early morning might be a little slow, but you’ll find that as the day goes on, the bites pick up as water temperature increases.

Winter

I’ll be honest.

Winter is a little quiet for striped bass fishing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch them. Not all striped bass migrate, and some choose to stay put.

Unlike during the summer months when you are trying to avoid the water getting too hot, in winter, you will definitely need to target your approach to when the water is at its warmest. Aim for the midday mark as a minimum, fishing on to early evening for the best chance of catching.

But.

Like I say, you can catch bass in winter. Here’s how to do it.

large striped bass in fly fishing kayak

What is the Best Time of Day to Catch Striped Bass?

Again, seasonality can play a huge part in your success as a striper fisherman. Instead of looking at your watch, think instead about water temperature and what the water is likely to be doing based on the season.

Here’s a quick table to help you out:

Season Optimal Water Temperature Best Time of Day to Catch Striped Bass
Spring Starting very cold in the morning, reaching a peak optimal beyond midday into the early evening. Midday onwards
Summer Warm throughout the middle of the day, coolest in the early morning and late in the evening into the night Early morning or late evening. Midday may be too warm.
Fall Cooling overnight, reaching optimum around mid-afternoon before cooling in the evening Early morning can be good, particularly in deeper areas. Afternoon for shallower water
Winter Cold through most of the day, optimal at midday An hour on either side of midday is the best time.

Is it Better to Fishing for Striped Bass in The Morning or Evening?

I’d say that the best time to fish for striped bass is in the evening.

Why?

Whereas the morning can produce good results, the water will always be the coldest. Aside from the summer, you may find that this inhibits feeding activity somewhat. Conversely, the evening has always allowed the water to come up to its ideal temperature.

And…

Even if it hasn’t, you are guaranteed that the water temperature will drop to a suitable level at some point.

And get this…

If you time your visit right (particularly in summer and early fall) and you might just get to enjoy all the benefits of night fishing for bass too!

Best Time to Catch Striped Bass | FAQ

It can be tricky figuring out the best time of year to catch striped bass. Here are some questions that I commonly get asked.

Can you catch Striped Bass during the day?

Of course, you can! Striped bass are sight hunters, and daylight conditions offer them the best possible chance of seeing their prey. There are a few general things to consider when fishing for striped bass during the day:

  • Try to avoid fishing on days that are too bright, or seek deep water if these conditions prevail.
  • Tidal flow also plays a significant role. Keep an eye on the tide and aim to fish when the flow is at its strongest, regardless of the time of day. Here’s an excellent guide if you haven’t studied the tide before.
  • Overcast days often produce the best results consistently.

Are there other names for Striped Bass?

Have you been fishing for striped bass without realizing it? Being a migratory fish, there are plenty of other local names for striped bass.

You can also hear them referred to as:

  • Atlantic Striped Bass
  • Stripers
  • “Linesiders”
  • Rocks
  • Rockfish

Are Striped Bass a freshwater or saltwater species?

Striped bass actually originated as a saltwater species. Like many coastal fish (including salmon and steelhead), they make occasional forays into freshwater. You’ll tend to find that freshwater striped bass have been introduced and stocked.

How do you know?

While they will go through the motions of spawning, it is widely believed that their eggs don’t fare well in freshwater, as they require constant suspension, which can only occur in saltwater.

Many striped bass are trapped in US rivers due to dam building or tidal variations (known as land locking). It is important to note that Canada has no landlocked freshwater striped bass!

Do Striped Bass bite at night

You can definitely fish for striped bass at night. Being a predatory species, they have excellent eyesight and don’t need much light to locate their prey. Nights with a full moon and clear skies are particularly good for bass fishing.

Striped bass can also sense sound and vibration, so if you use a lure that encourages either of these qualities, you stand an excellent chance of catching. You can see some great bass lures for night fishing here.

Fishing for bass at night is one of my favorites. Check this article out to learn what it is all about.

What month is the best for Striped Bass fishing?

The late summer months and early fall months are the best times to catch striped bass. The weather is such that the water is not unduly hot during any part of the day. Late August and early September are often the most productive months.

What’s the worst time to catch Striped Bass?

I’d say there are a couple of times when you might be better targeting another species or giving your trip a miss altogether.

The depths of winter can be pretty hard going, and bass will move way out into warmer and deeper water. In this case, unless you have a boat, it is better to wait until the water warms.

Another bad time for striped bass is midday in the height of summer. The sky is just too bright, the water too warm, and the bites too slow. Follow my advice and go early in the morning or late in the evening if these are the conditions at the time.

Final Thoughts…

While you can catch all year round, the best times to fish for bass tend to be when the water is at an optimal temperature. Think carefully about what the water is doing and how the season will affect it, and go from there. It always pays to think and plan ahead.

Bass is one of my favorite species to catch, and yes, that does include largemouth bass. You’ll definitely need to be kitted out. While you are here, why not check my article on the best bass fishing rod and reel combos?

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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