Clear night skies. The bright moon’s light is illuminating the water. Lightning bugs flickering on and off on the shore. Nothing but the sound of fish jumping, frogs croaking, and crickets chirping. Personally, fishing at night brings on feelings of serenity while the darkness immerses me with nature. Plus, many walleye, carp, and catfish anglers swear the bite after dusk is at its peak. Therefore, we will teach you how to go fishing at night, including what equipment to bring and tips for catching fish.

What Fish Species Bite at Night?

So, you’re probably wondering what fish you’ll be able to target at night. Well, you can honestly fish for most species at night. However, some fish rely on their vision to sense food and detect predators, making them less active in low-light conditions. Here is a list of fish species that are active after dusk:

  • Catfish
  • Gar
  • Carp
  • Buffalo
  • Suckers
  • Walleye
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Freshwater Drum

What Equipment To Bring for Night Fishing?

There are many night fishing techniques for anglers, from bowfishing carp to running trotlines for catfish. However, we will simply list what items you’ll need along with your average rod and reel for those new to fishing at night. Below is a list of equipment you’ll need to bring:

  • Landing net
  • Pole bells/strike indicators
  • LED light-up bobbers
  • Glow sticks
  • Spotlight
  • Headlamp with a red light
  • Stringer
  • Fishing Pliers
  • Fillet Knife 
  • Bait and tackle of choice

8 Tips for Fishing After Dusk: How To Go Fishing at Night

Tip #1: Arrive Early

First off, you want to ensure you arrive early at your night fishing spot. Coming a few hours before dusk can help you plan out your game plan and give you time to catch baitfish. Most importantly, if you are hitting new waters at night, reconning the area beforehand can prevent you from getting lost.

Tip #2: Bring Extra Fishing Rods With You and Be Patient

Although fishing at night can be exhilarating, it also takes a lot of patience to be successful. Typically, predator fish are moving slower and more tactically at night, so you want your presentation to match their speed. For this reason, bobber and other float rigs are effective at night. Thus, we suggest bringing additional rods while bobber fishing to help you cover more water.

Tip #3: Prepare Your Boat and Rigs Beforehand

Next, even though you’ll have lights to aid you while night fishing, it still can be a hassle to do things in the dark. So, we recommend preparing your boat or tieing rigs ahead of time to keep you from fumbling around at night. An easy way to stay prepared is by writing out a checklist of items you’ll need to take with you before your trip. Hence, writing a reminder to set up and check your navigation lights on your boat.

Tip #4: Bring a Headlamp With a Red Light to Keep The Bugs Off

    Alipret 1100 Lumen Head Lamp

Two Alipret 1100 Lumen Headlamps against a white background.
    We like the Alipret 1100-lumen headlamp for night fishing because it’s waterproof, rechargeable, and has eight different light modes.

Bringing an adequate amount of light with you to go fishing at night should be at the top of your list. However, did you know using red lights will help keep the bugs off of you? If you’re looking for a good headlamp with a red light mode, we recommend the Alipret 1100 lumen model.

Tip #5: Use Lights to Your Advantage

    IKAAMA Spotlight

The IKAAMA Spotlight, a great product for fishing at night, against a white background.
    IKAAMA’s 6000-lumen spotlight is waterproof, rechargeable, and can reach over 2600ft.

Spotlights and other lights are essential items for night fishing, so why not use them to your advantage? You can use handheld lights like the IKAAMA spotlight to help you navigate your boat or spot fish and wildlife at night. Additionally, other accessories you can utilize are light-up bobbers like these by QualyQualy. LED fishing bobbers make it easier to see where your line is and when a fish strikes.

Tip #6: Utilize Pole Bells To Detect Strikes Trom Fish

    Eagle Claw Pole Bells

Eagle Claw Pole Bells against a white background.
    These pole bells by Eagle Claw are loud, durable, and easy to use. All you have to do is cast your line and clip them to your rod tip.

Then, another item we find helpful for when your using float rigs at night are pole bells. For example, pole bells alert you by ringing when you have a fish on your line. So, it makes it easier for you to detect bites at night when it would be hard to see your rod tip flex.

Tip #7: Cast Dark Lures at Night

    Booyah Moontalker Spinnerbait

The Booyah Moontalker Spinnerbait against a white background.
    The Moontalker Booyah spinnerbait has an excellent and effective color pattern for nighttime bass fishing.

Next, when selecting what color lure to use at night, we suggest choosing a dark pattern, like black or brown. After dusk, prey fish look darker in the water to predators. Therefore, using a dark lure color will make it appear more natural.

Tip #8: Bring a Fishing Buddy

Last but not least, you should always bring a fishing buddy with you when you go night fishing. Having a friend accompany you is safer because they’ll be by your side to help you if things go south. Plus, it never hurts to have an extra pair of hands to help you land fish at night.

Start Planning Your Next Night Fishing Trip!

To conclude, night fishing is a fun way to absorb yourself into nature by catching fish under the moonlight. The lower visibility adds a layer of challenge that puts your fishing skills to the test. Start planning your next night fishing trip today, and let us know in the comments below which tips helped you. Do you have a fishing buddy that would benefit from this article? Then, please consider sharing it with them.