Best Moon Phases for Fishing – Solunar theory

Although fishing can take place at any time, experienced fishermen often tend to choose more specific times for their own catch. To increase the fishing success, they usually know what makes fish more active and when they most likely feed. Similarly to animals and humans, fish follow certain rhythm. But unlike humans, the biological clock of the fish has found to coincide with and is more strongly influenced by the Lunar time. In this article you can find out if there really are best moon phases for fishing or is it just a fishermen hoax?

Here I try to explain how considering the Moon and its different phases can create the most ideal conditions for fishing according to the Solunar theory. Whether you are planning to use the theory and Fishing Calendar in the future while planning your next fishing trip, I let everyone decide for themselves.

Best Moon Phases for Fishing. Moon and Sun phases can have great impact on our fishing results. Solunar theory.
Moon and Sun phases can have a great impact on our fishing results.

Solunar Theory and Fishing

The impact of the Moon on fishing activity is widely presented through Solunar theory. The Solunar theory was first laid out by John Alden Knight back in 1926, but the fact that the Sun and the Moon (Sol and Lunar in Latin) influence all living being in nature has known long before that. The Knight, however, started to explore the different factors that affect fish activity. After testing 33 different factors he ended up with three – the Sun, the Moon and the Tides. Since the Sun and the Moon are the cause of the Tides, the main factors were found. In order to protect his theory, Knight went fishing a lot and recorded her catches according to the Moon phases. His recordings confirmed the theory, and so have many further scientific studies, where the validity of the theory has been tested. It is hard to say how important the role of the theory actually is in fishing, but as hard it is to prove its effect, it is to disprove it.

Best Moon Phases for Fishing

It has been said that the closer the Sun and Moon are to the Earth, the stronger is their influence. Therefore, in Fishing Calendar, the New and Full moon are considered as the best moon phases for fishing that can guarantee the success (marked as very good days in the Fishing Calendar). The best time for fishing in each month generally lasts a couple of days around the New and the Full Moon and are also known as Peak Activity Periods. There are generally two (or in some rare occurrences three) peak periods during one month.

Note: There are 12 different phases of the Moon. But to simplify, we can leave out the phases in between, and set our focus on four of them: New Moon, First (waxing or “growing”) quarter, Full Moon and Last (waning or “shrinking”) quarter.

Best Moon Phases for Fishing. Solunar theory can give us important input for selecting fishing times.
Solunar theory can give us important input for selecting fishing times

Daily Differences in Fish Activity

There are also differences in fish activity during one day. It is influenced by both the location of the Sun and The Moon. Based on this, how can we increase our daily fishing success while taking account the position of the Sun and the Moon?

The Sun. For us, the cycle of the Sun is the same day after day, and it is known to fishermen that the fish usually feed actively at Sunrise and Sunset.

The Moon. The Moon has a different cycle compared to the Sun. It takes 27.3 days to Moon to travel around the Earth (so-called Lunar period). On average, Lunar Day lasts 24 hours and 53 minutes. It is the time that it takes for the Moon to reappear at a given point during one complete rotation of the Earth. During that time, there are 2 Major and 2 Minor Solunar periods when there is the peak of fishing activity:

  • Major periods are the periods with the greatest fish activity during the day. These are when the Moon is up (directly above us) and the Moon is down (directly under our feet through the Earth). Major periods last approximately 2 hours – 1 hour before and 1 hour after the given position.
  • Minor periods are also related to increased fishing activity. Minor periods are when the Moon rises and when the Moon sets. Minor periods are shorter and last approximately 1 hour – half hour before and a half hour after the rising and the setting of the moon.
  • Note: The position of Moonrise and Moonset, like that of Sunrise and Sunset varies as the Earth goes around the Sun, but also with the phases of the Moon.

    Most Spectacular Time for Fishing

    Since the Sun and the Moon have different cycles, how can we find the most spectacular time for fishing?

    Taken together, the most spectacular time for fishing takes place when at the same time:

  • There is a Full or New Moon
  • Major or Minor Periods fall near the times of Sunrise or Sunset
  • Nota Bene! Don’t underestimate the effects of the weather – temperature, wind, airpressure, oxygen levels of the place you are fishing and etc.

    Best Moon Phases for Fishing. Solunar theory.
    Next time you head out fishing, be sure to check the fishing calendar.


    Although the Fishing Calendars based only on Solunar theory can give us important input for selecting fishing times, we can’t take it as a ground truth. There are still many other factors that influence fishing by ruining or improving the result of the fishing. So you shouldn’t go out when you sense the approach of a storm. Especially since any bird, animal or fish can do it even better. It is not the best time to be active!

    This year´s Solunar Tables

    If you don´t know where to find Solunar Tables, then there are different apps and books for it. For example you can buy this year´s edition of “Solunar Tables” from Amazon.

    Solunar Tables Review

    I’ve used these official Solunar Tables for about 50 years now, and they just plain work. No it’s not magic, it’s science. I was doubtful at first, but was amazed to find that these tables greatly improved my odds of success. You can see these cycles in your everyday life, not just fishing or hunting. Watch for those times when “the world is quiet” – no birds flying, no dogs barking, etc. Then compare those times when everything is active – it’ll probably be during an activity period.” – D. Ebben

    The original book by John Alden Knight

    If you are interested in reading the original book of John Alden Knight´s, then there are still some copies moving around. You can find the original book “Moon Up – Moon Down: Story of the Solunar Theory” from Amazon.

    “Moon Up – Moon Down: Story of the Solunat Theory” Review

    Ever wonder what the “old timers” meant when they said “the moon is right/wrong” for hunting? Well this book takes you there to understanding how the celestial bodies affect fish and game. After reading, I started documenting when I randomly saw a deer, elk etc. driving down the highway etc. Looked at the solunar calendar and was amazed how many times these random (ie 2pm on a hot day) sightings lined up with this theory. I was so impressed that I started applying for big game hunting permits based solely on when these peak occurences are. My success rate skyrocketed, including an elk on thanksgiving day (peak calendar day). This idea works for fishing and hunting. As always, weather trumps it all, but if you have not read this book you are missing valuable information that was common knowledge back in the day.” – K.Wilson

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