Whether you are looking to break one of the countless carp fishing records or just here to maximize your chances of catching as many carp as possible, it certainly makes sense to consider the best time of day to catch carp. You can really catch carp any time of the day. Nevertheless, some hours are naturally just that tiny bit better, that might make the difference between getting or failing to get that bite.
What is the Best Time to Catch Carp?
In general, the best time of day to fish for carp is when they feed most aggressively, which is dawn and dusk. Therefore, either get up and to the water very early before the first rays of sun crawl over the horizon or, if you are a late riser, about when the sun starts to set.
Best Time of Day to Fish for Carp
Let’s have a look at the differences by time of day in a bit more detail.
During the mornings, carp tend to be quite active. You might even catch some jumping out of the water, not unlike trout. Just before, and during dawn is the best time to take advantage of their feeding frenzy here. They will be all over the place, so you can really go for them deep or shallow. Carp do tend to “be where the food is”, so if you can spot some weeds, there is a good chance your target carp won’t be far.
While dusk is another preferred timeframe to go for carp, there is nothing wrong with the earlier afternoon either, really. Personally, I have had pretty consistent success on several different trips that started probably around noon and lasted until the late evening. As always, some were better than others, but I never went home disappointed. Just remember that fishing requires patience and don’t get discouraged by the occasional dry spell.
Going carp fishing at night is really not the worst idea for a variety of reasons. First, carp prefer to feed in darkness. Furthermore, carp tend to be quite skittish, and you are less likely to scare them away at night. Just be aware, that carp prefer warm waters. Thus, depending where you are, night-time carp fishing might only be viable in summer or at best in the shoulder seasons. But more on that in the next section.
Best Time to Catch Carp by Season
Which season and state you are in undoubtedly also influences the best time of day for catching carp. For starters, the timing of dusk and dawn will differ from summer to winter, unless you are living close to the equator. Let’s have a look at the different seasons and their peculiarities when it comes to carp fishing.
In early spring, carp will still be somewhat sluggish, while in late spring they will have more energy to go after your bait. No matter if early or late, they will be hungry though, which makes spring a great season for carp fishing in general. Be sure to stay in any particular area where you get bites, as there are likely to be more than just the one fish which took your bait!
Having fully awoken from their slumber, you cannot go wrong with the summer season. Keep in mind though: Contrary to what you might think, even in summer carp are more likely to be found in the warmer areas of whichever body of water you are looking at. They simply love the warmth. Consequently, a floater might come in handy for you, which is not to say that they will never go deep. Basically, their priorities might be either food or comfiness and you need to adapt accordingly.
Autumn might just be my personal favorite season to catch many carp. They are biting a lot during this time, possibly in preparation of the winter. Maybe they feed more to gain and store energy they will need when it gets colder, similar to other animals? In any case, make use of this great opportunity, because…
Honestly, winter is probably the worst option when it comes to carp fishing seasons. As a matter of fact, carp tend to be quite dormant in winter. That is not to say, that it is impossible to make a good catch. Look for a shallow area of the water and you might get lucky with a whole bunch of carp in this relatively warmer part of the lake or pond. Finally, make sure to stay warm, as this might take a while. Consider wearing thermal underwear and some fishing gloves, among other winter clothing.
Happy Carp Fishing!
To summarize, the best time to catch carp is dusk and dawn and the best season might be autumn. While the time is more clear cut, it still does not make a huge difference regarding your catch chances. There is still a chance to get unlucky when the sun is rising or falling, as there is a decent chance for a very successful trip at noon or in the night. So I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to adhere to these guidelines, but by all means do try these times when you can. What has been your personal favorite time to catch carp? Let me know in the comments or send me a message! Looking for info on other species? Check out our main article!