Trout Fishing Cloudy & Overcast Conditions (Tips & Tricks)

When fishing for trout there are many variables that can impact how good the fishing is going to be on a given day and what lures and baits are going to be best.

Fishing in overcast and cloudy conditions is a situation many anglers face, and it can bring some unique opportunities and certain challenges. Many anglers often wonder if trout bite on cloudy days, and are overcast conditions good for trout fishing?

Trout fishing on cloudy days and in overcast conditions can be a great time to catch trout. Trout are often more active and tend to bite more on cloudy and overcast days. When it’s cloudy out, trout tend to leave the comfort of deep water and roam around searching for food. With less light penetrating the water insects become more active, trout feel more comfortable and will often be more aggressive and willing to bite. In fact, one of the best times to fish for trout is on cloudy and overcast days.

Understanding how to take advantage of this great time to catch trout, you’ll want to make sure you use the right lures, flies, and baits as well as fish the key areas. This will help you maximize your chances of success and ensure you have a great time out on the water.

In this article, we will take a deep dive and discuss everything you need to know about trout fishing in cloudy and overcast conditions. Including what baits, lures, and flies to use, areas to fish and key tips and tricks that will help you catch more fish.

Let’s get started.

Trout Fishing on Cloudy Days

One of the things I always look out for when planning out my next fishing trip is what the weather is going to be like. Oftentimes this will dictate the flies, baits, and lures I’m going to use and how well the fishing is going to be. When I see overcast or cloudy conditions on the forecast, I get excited, because I know these can be great opportunities to catch fish.

In fact, one of the best times to fish for trout is when you are faced with overcast and cloudy conditions. Trout will become more comfortable, active and will leave deep water and structure to search for food.  

This combination is why many anglers say that overcast and cloudy conditions are prime time fishing weather. Here are some of the main benefits of trout fishing on cloudy days.

Trout jumping out of the water

Advantages of Cloudy & Overcast Conditions

  • Less visibility
  • Trout are more active
  • Insects are more active and tend to hatch more
  • Trout tend to roam more
  • Trout can become more aggressive and willing to bite
  • Fish will leave heavy cover
  • Strike zone is typically larger
  • You can throw reaction style baits

Knowing trout fishing can often be better when the weather becomes overcast and cloudy is important. However, knowing how to take advantage of these conditions is crucial.

Let’s take a look at what areas you should be looking and what are the best baits, lures and flies to use when targeting trout in overcast conditions.

Where to Target Trout on Cloudy Days

On a normal sunny days trout can typically be found out in deep water, around points, structure, and ledges. Where they can get away from the sun and stay cool. However, when the clouds roll in and it becomes overcast their behavior and mood changes.

When it’s overcast trout don’t have to worry about the sun and will roam around more and can be found looking for food in all 3-levels of the water column including the surface. They will leave their deep hiding places and look for food up on shallow flats and anywhere their forage may be hiding.

Even though trout are more active in overcast conditions they can often be hard to locate as they can be less predictable. For this reason it’s be to cover water and fish up shallow, mid depth and deep until you can figure out where they are positioned. It’s best to use lures that will allow to cover water and find out where they are. From there you can slow down and use other baits and techniques.

How to Catch Trout on Cloudy Days

Understanding trout behavior during overcasting conditions is a key first step. However, you won’t have a lot of success if you don’t use the right lures, baits and flies. There are certain baits, flies and lures you can use that will maximize your time on the water and will be much more effective.

Trout spinner

Here are the best ways to catch trout in overcast conditions and cloudy days:

Best Trout Lures for Cloudy Days


What makes spinners so effective for trout and why they have been catching fish for decades is they can trigger a reaction or territorial strike from any nearby fish. The vibration of the spinning blades and the flash as it catches the sun will imitate smaller bait fish and will get their attention.

On cloudy days trout are on the hunt and are looking for an easy meal. The flash and vibration will catch their attention and get them to bite.

I like to have a few different colors and sizes with me when I’m out, so I can really dial in what the trout are responding to on a given day. If you are looking for a great all around spinner that will help you catch a bunch of fish check out the Mepps Aglia or the Blue Fox Vibrax. These are two proven spinners that have been catching fish for decades.


In my opinion there isn’t a better way to imitate a fleeing fish than with some type of crankbait. In my experience crankbaits tend to be larger trout lures. Meaning that when you do catch a trout on a crankbait, they will most likely be larger than if you were fishing with a different technique or bait.

Crankbaits can catch fish pretty much anywhere but really excel in overcast conditions and when fishing around rock or other structure that the crankbait can deflect off. This is often what will trigger a nearby trout into striking.

These days there are plenty of great crankbait options for trout. My personal favorite is the Rapala Original Floater. The action, vibration and overall profile of the lure is what I think makes it so effective. You can find them on Amazon by clicking here.


Fishing spoons for trout can be an excellent way to catch them when they are more aggressive. They are simple in design but can flat out catch them. They are known for their action, vibration and for imitating swimming or injured baitfish, which is key in cloudy conditions.

There are a lot of great spoons out there that have been catching trout for decades. My personal favorite and the one that I have had the most amount of success with is the Acme Kastmaster. It comes in a variety of sizes, colors and is a great way to catch trout on any body of water.

Best Trout Fishing Baits for Cloudy Days


If you are targeting stocked trout and are looking to sit back, relax and enjoy a day of fishing. A great bait to use on these types of cloudy days is with PowerBait.

The best PowerBait to use in these conditions is something that is bright and that will really stand out to the fish. I like using colors like chartreuse, rainbow, neon green, and garlic. The combination of the color and smell makes it hard for any nearby trout to resist.

If you want to learn more about catching trout with PowerBait check out this article: Catch More Trout With These PowerBait Fishing Tips


Many anglers have been using worms to catch trout for a very long time. Trout love worms especially during the early season, when the water is still cold. Next time you are bait fishing for trout try using worms and you’ll give yourself a great chance to catch a variety of trout species.

Best Flies for Cloudy Days

Dry Flies

My favorite way to catch trout on cloudy days is with some type of dry fly. During these overcast conditions many insects will become more active and a lot of them will hatch depending on the time of year. Bug hatches can be a huge opportunity to catch a bunch of trout feeding on the surface.

Simply match the hatch and find out what’s hatching on your local waters and select a fly that closely resembles it. You’ll have some incredible success and a lot of fun out on the water.

There are a lot of great dry lies you can utilize to catch trout in these conditions. However, if I could only choose one, I would choose a Caddis pattern. They can be found pretty much anywhere in the country and trout love them.


Another great way to catch trout when the sun is hiding, and the trout are active is with a streamer. Big trout love feeding on small bait fish and if they see a good opportunity to take on a bigger meal then there is no better way to do that than with a well-presented streamer.

I prefer to use fluorescent and bright colored streamers on cloudy days like a chartreuse. These colors will help make your streamer stand out and will result in a lot more success.

Best Colors to Use on Cloudy Days

On cloudy days’ the sunlight is unable to penetrate the water due to the cloud cover. As a result, trout and other fish have less visibility making it harder for them to distinguish what’s real and not real. They also have a harder time seeing your lures and bait. This combination can give anglers a huge advantage if they fish with the right color of lures and fly patterns.

The best colors to use when fishing for trout on cloudy days are bright bold colors like chartreuse and white or darker colors like black or dark green and purple. These lure colors will help your lure stand out and draw the attention of nearby trout.

For more insight on choosing the right trout fishing colors based on the conditions, check out this article: Best Colors for Trout Lures – Tilt Fishing

Trout Fishing FAQ

Is it good to fish in overcast conditions? Fishing in overcast conditions can be an excellent time to find and catch fish regardless of the target species. Fish are opportunistic and will take advantage of these favorable hunting conditions and will look to feed more. This makes them more aggressive and easier to catch.

Do fish bite when it’s overcast? Fish will often bite on cloudy days and when it’s overcast. In fact, one of the best times to fish for trout is when it’s cloudy. Fish become more active and are more willing to bite lures and baits.

What color lures to use on cloudy days? The best color of lures to use when fishing in overcast conditions is bright or dark lures. Bright and dark colors will increase your bait’s visibility and help it stand out. This makes it easier for the fish to see, increasing the chances of them biting your lures.

How do you catch trout in cloudy water? When trout fishing in water that is stained or cloudy the best lure to use is either a spinner or small crankbait. The sound and vibration of these lures will help attract and entice trout into biting.

What color lure is best for trout? The color of lure to use for trout will depend on their forage, weather conditions and seasonal pattern. In general, the best color of lures to use for trout are white, gold, red, pink, brown and black. For more information on selecting the right trout color lure, check out this article: Best Colors for Trout Lures – Tilt Fishing

Other Trout Fishing Resources

Final Thoughts

Trout fishing in overcast conditions and on cloudy days can be an excellent time to target and catch trout. One these days trout are active, more willing to bite and can be much easier to catch. This combination can make for some great trout fishing opportunities.

I’d highly recommend saving this article and referencing it again the next time that you are faced with cloudy fishing conditions. You’ll have a lot more success and know exactly how to catch trout in these situations.

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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