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The Best Moon Phase for Trout Fishing

Fishing for trout at night can be very effective. This is because trout are well suited for low-light conditions and often feed at night. But what about the moon? Does it have any effect on trout? And if so, what’s the best moon phase to go fishing for trout? So, I did a bit of searching and found some answers.

The best moon phase for trout depends on if you’re fishing saltwater or freshwater. Saltwater trout, such as steelhead, can be more active during full and new moons due to the tides of the ocean, while freshwater trout aren’t affected since freshwater bodies of water have little to no tide.

But, what if you’re still going fishing for trout at night? Are there any other benefits during the moon phase such as light? Let’s take a look at some other considerations and which lures and bait might give you the best catch during these nights.

Do trout sleep at night?

Trout do sleep, but it’s more of daydreaming than it is the sleep that we’re used to. They’ll often find a part of the stream or lake where the current is slow and rest at the bottom.

However, when it’s a full moon, and bright out, trout will often have better visibility and will feed on the critters that come out at night. Most other nights, trout can still see in the dark, but cannot see color so they rely on contrast.

Overall, fishing for trout at night is a great way to land some good-sized fish. They’ll often look for food after sunset and can be caught closer to the banks, especially the larger trout.

Types of moon phases and how they affect trout

The phase of the moon doesn’t make too much of a difference for freshwater trout, but if you’re fishing for steelhead, then you may want to take the moon into consideration.

Full moon

A full moon occurs every month (or every 29.5 days) and is when the moon is at its brightest. It can often affect trout fishing in a positive way.

During a full moon, the tides are stronger due to the sun and the moon pulling on either side of the planet. Due to the high tides and increased activity, steelhead trout are more aggressive during these nights. Freshwater trout, such as rainbows and browns, likely won’t be affected by the tides, but can become more active due to the increased visibility and search for food.

New moon

A new moon is the opposite of a full moon, so it also occurs every 29.5 days. It’s the first phase of the moon and is often completely dark, with no crescent.

The tides are stronger during a new moon because both the sun and moon are pulling in the same direction. But similar to a full moon, steelhead trout would be one of the only species of trout affected by this event. Unlike a full moon, a new moon doesn’t provide much light at all, so freshwater trout won’t have the increased visibility and could be feeding less frequently.

Fishing for trout the morning after a full moon

Most often, trout will feed before and during the night of a full moon, so they might not be actively feeding by the day. However, this depends on a number of environmental factors like food availability and season, so don’t let this stop you from fishing one less day.

If you want to play it safe, try fishing in the late afternoon or evening when the trout are actively looking for food again.

Trout lures and bait to use during a full moon

During a full moon, trout will often hit bright colored and glow-in-the-dark lures. If you’re using bait, a brighter colored PowerBait is a common choice that brings in good results. As a bonus, to help the trout sense it in the dark, get a scented one. Corn, and especially garlic corn, can make for a good scented and natural bait.

Invest in a nice surface lure that has proven results. Since trout can only see contrast and not color, choosing bright colors can still help with the contrast. Lures colored white and red are commonly used, but don’t worry about the type of coloring too much. As long as there’s some color contrast with the lure (yellow spots on a black body, etc), it should work well.

Also, fishing from the bank is a good idea when you’re out during a full moon. Trout are likely to be found in shallower water and skim the surface looking for insects and other critters. Just make sure not to spook them with too much movement in the water. Standing on rocks or the bank and using a leader to help hide the line can all be beneficial.

If you’d like some ideas for lures and bait to use, here are several that can work well.

  • KastMaster spoons
  • PowerBait
  • Jake’s lures
  • BlueFox spinners


In the end, water temperature, weather, air pressure, the season, and other environmental factors will have more of an influence than the moon phase will, but that’s not to say there’s zero effect. If you do happen to be fishing for trout during a full or new moon, odds are your catch might be pretty nice. The phase of the moon might not make too much of a difference, but it could be worth it to experiment.