Fishing Calendar for 2020

Best Fishing Times and Dates from the Old Farmer's Almanac

September 8, 2020
Best Days to Fish

When is the best time to go fishing? See the best fishing dates and times from The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s fishing calendar. And enjoy some great fishing tips from Almanac anglers!

When Is the Best Time to Go Fishing?

The best times to fish are when the fish are naturally most active. The Sun, Moon, tides, and weather all influence fish activity. For example, fish tend to feed more at sunrise and sunset, and also during a full moon (when tides are higher than average). 

Best Fishing Times

  • One hour before and one hour after high tides, and one hour before and one hour after low tides. Inland, the times for high tides correspond with the times when the Moon is due south. Low tides are halfway between high tides.
  • During the “morning rise” (after sunup for a spell) and the “evening rise” (just before sundown and the hour or so after).
  • During the rise and set of the Moon.
  • When the barometer is steady or on the rise. (But even during stormy periods, the fish aren’t going to give up feeding. The smart fisherman will find just the right bait.)
  • When there is a hatch of flies—caddis flies or mayflies, commonly. (The fisherman will have to match his fly with the hatching flies or go fishless.)
  • When the breeze is from a westerly quarter rather than from the north or east.
  • When the water is still or slightly rippled, rather than during a wind.

However, most of us go fishing when we can get the time off, not because it is the best time! But there are best fishing days, according to lore:

Best Fishing Days in 2020

Fishing is said to be best during the time between a new Moon and a full Moon. This is what the Almanac’s Best Fishing Days are based on.


Best Fishing Days



1–20, 24–31


1–9. 23–29


1–9, 24–31


1–7, 22–30


1–7, 22–31


1–5, 21–30


1–5, 20–31


1–3, 18–31


1–2, 17–30


1, 16–31





For customized Moon phase times, see our Moon Phase Calendar.


    Tackle Box Checklist

    Be prepared! See our list of what to put in your fishing tackle box.

    How to Fish Without Fail (According to Almanac Readers)

    It should come as no surprise that many Almanac readers love to fish. Here are some of the best tips from experts:

    • “The best way to fish in South Texas with chicken liver is to let it sit a while in the good Texas sun, then sprinkle a little garlic powder and a little chili powder on it. This combination makes the liver pasty and it will stay on your triple or single hook with little to no problem. I do offer a warning, that pow you will feel on your line is going to be one big Texas size catfish, so get ready and have some good Texas fishing fun.” –Ramiro Vela

    • “A really good bait I have found is hot dogs with chicken meat. Cut them in desired pieces and set in the sun to ‘dry up’. When they are ‘dried’, they will stay on the hook better. You can put them in a bag in the freezer to keep. Brim and catfish will bite this bait.” –Jean Cannon

    • “The best catfish bait are catalpa worms. You can put what you don’t use in the freezer with a few catalpa tree leaves. When you are ready to fish again, take them out and they come back to life. Start reeling in the big cats.” –Joey Brown

    • “To find the big cats, it would help out if you knew the underwater structure of the pond, river or lake. Find DEEP holes with lots of cover as in over-hangs. Gravel pits are a great place to fish for cats.” –Todd Heil


    • “The best catfish bait that I have found fishing for catfish anywhere bar none is shrimp, yeah it’s a little costly but let me tell ya somethin’ friend, it’s worth it.” –Chuck Hubbard Jr.

    • “I am Blackfoot American Native. We live to fish and hunt our meals. A true hint in catfishing is never to use any type of scents (Cologne, powders, perfume, etc.) Don’t handle cigarettes or any type of tobacco products without washing your hands before applying baits, hooks, sinkers, new line, etc. The fish know these things.” –Tommy Bays

    • “The absolute best way I know to keep your liver on your hook while fishing is: Buy 1 or 2 old plastic ice trays. Go ahead and bait your hook the best you can. I use a “threading” action. Place the hook and liver into the ice tray and let it freeze throughout the night before you go fishing. When you are ready to go fishing, just twist the old ice trays and take the liver cubes and pack them in a bag and put them in a container of ice.” –Chris Payne

    • “In Kentucky where I live we use bait store crickets and mill worms floated with a bobber. Put three or four crickets and a couple of mill worms on a hook and hold on! You have you try different depths until you find the fish. Once you find them you can have a lot of fun catching all sizes. I have caught them from squeakers to 62 pounds on this bait, so good luck!” –Kenny Conley

    • “I’m 68 years old and fish every chance I get. My daddy always told me to watch the cows. If they are up and eating, go fishing. If they are down resting, you might as well stay home. So far this has worked pretty well.” –Edna James

    • “The best bait I have used here in Bradenton, Fla. is fresh mullet that has never been frozen. Catch them late afternoon or at night. Catch them as long as your leg. Good Luck!” –Bill Suggs

    • “As the water in your minnow bucket warms the minnows will slowly die. They need a very cool temperature to survive. Never put ice cubes in with live minnows. The chlorine in the water stays and will kill your bait. Freeze water bottles then gently place them in the bucket. Usually one will be enough.” –Alec Plummer

    • “Try it all, love the outdoors and keep a bait in the water. You won’t catch anything if you aren’t out there!” –Jody Wolf

    Add your own suggestions in the comments below!

    Got any fantastic fishing tales? Share them below, too!


    The 2020 Old Farmer's Almanac


    Reader Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Catfish Bait

    I have been fishing for cats for many years. I have found my new favorite bait this summer.
    it sounds crazy and gets a lot of comments from people.
    Take 2 chicken breast cut them in to 1" chunks put in a zip lok baggie add 3 table spoons of minced garlic and a box of strawberry jello.(the bigger box with sugar) you can use it right away but I prefer to set it in the fridge for a couple of days, it draws the moisture out of the chicken and it will stay on the hook better... I have fished this beside stink bait,shrimp and night crawlers.Good Luck!!! I have caught Northern Pike,Carp,Golden eye and White Bass and of course Catfish.
    Bobby Pechak

    Fishing bait



    When I get out, I always look at what bugs are around, usually grass hoppers in the morning before they warm up are the best I think. Out in New Mexico we usually only catch trout, if you on a lake or a drain, your on your own, although I do get some luck with chicken livers in the drains, just have to make sure they smell real good and rotten.


    I found the best way to keep liver on a hook for catfishing is to bait the hook and then wrap it with a piece of cheese cloth

    willow cats for big catfish

    one of my favorite catfish baits is willow catfish or yellow belly catfish,,, a big ole flat head or blue cat cant pass them up,,,horse head suckers are a very close 2nd


    I almost forgot .... some

    I almost forgot .... some fish like white bread and or hotdogs too!

    Know your fish and what they like.

    Over here in South Georgia my PaPa always said "if the wind blows from the east fishing is the least but wind from the west made fishing the best". Keeping that in mind I use liver, crickets and worms and sometimes I fish from the top or I fish on the bottom. Depends on whether its catfish, bass, carp or brim and what that particular group of fish prefer at that time and place. I'm no expert but i never come home empty handed either :) Good Luck and have fun!


    Best bait I use here in east Alabama along the chattahochee is night crawlers. I catch a little bit of everything on them.
    Here's a real tip. If you really want to enjoy fishing take a kid with you. Teach them good conservation habits and watch their eyes light up when they hook that big one.

    catfish bait

    The best bait I've found is white bread. Just take some and ball it up, put it on your hook and get ready to catch fish. Works for bream too. I've even caught trout on it. For trot lines and jug fishing we normally use liver.


    After 20 years of no fishing...finaly whent back to the Rivers and lakes in my are in California..whent out there 4 times catch only one 1/2 pound cat..using the carolina rig over and over cus that is what i was used to back in the 90's..i gues rivers and lakes got dirtyer with mud and moss..finaly found my friend from muddy River fishing (Kris Florez) i started using his Kentucky modified rig and boom!!.. I tried liver...Mackrell...bit shrimp worked allways..god bless u all.get out there and fish..

    Fl, Panhandle

    All you need is a fat earth worm about 4ft deep, River falling, and the moon big in the sky. Day or night cat fishing and awesome brim.

    What bait to use

    I have found that using squid soaked in Hawaiian Punch is a KILLER fresh bait in Mississippi and you can also spray all of your bait and lures with wd-40 and catch a good bit, too! But, as always w any bait, catch catch anything if you don’t have SOMETHING on a hook and be in the water. Happy fishing!

    Catfish baits

    Ive found that fresh cut baits turn out more 10 + blues than stink baits.


    I always thought it putting bubble gum in your mouth chewing it up and spitting on the hook always work well for me taking away the scent

    Best bait I've found

    Cicadias make awesome bait. Pull off one wing so it can't fly . Bait your hook with no weights or bombers. Let them float and move around onto of water and best bass you'll ever catch.

    Best bait I've found

    Cicadias make awesome bait. Pull off one wing so it can't fly . Bait your hook with no weights or bombers. Let them float and move around onto of water and best bass you'll ever catch.

    Fishing with my Daddy.

    There weren't many summers in my life that I was not fishing. My Granny Ester took me and my aunt penny . I fished with a cane Poe. After I was round 6 or 7 . Dad would get uncle Jim Sanders to go we'd sit there for hours fished or not sure was a lot going on in the 70's . Either way I don't have those days here anymore, but I have a lot of my favorite ole memories that will never fade away from my heart. Photo shots lullabies those are my happiest days I ever had.

    Fishing bait

    The best thing I found for just about any fish big or small grampus larvae at least a couple inches long

    Best bait for catfish


    Big Cats

    I live in N.Cali and love to fish. Ive caught Cats on lures, hot dogs, chicken liver, and others. My best cat was 28.4 . Caught using half of a larger fish. although anything might work, somethings are going to produce better results. I will always use fresh caught fish for bait when I want a large cat.

    Catfish bait



    Hi all! Thank you for the many comments and tips. The few that are unkind aren't necessary. I love the stories of learning from the older family & friend folks.
    My granddaughter (age 7) wants to fish, which neither one of us have ever done, nor do we have any background information on it, except when we went to Bass Outlet one day to see the giant fish tank. She jumped up on a model boat, sat in the front seat and acted like she was fishing. She looked like she could cast very well. She just slipped into the mood. So now we have a rod, reel, some weights and a seasoned fisherman friend who's going to take us out to a nearby park where they stock for special kids days and then we're going to a nearby lake with a large ancillary pond just for fishing. This is feeling like a life-changing event and I'm encouraged by the comment to teach the kids & keep them out of trouble. I've noted a lot of your comments & I'm going to refer to them often in our adventure! Blessings!


    My favorite method is so simple. I like a big nightcrawler. Soak it in ice water for about 10 minutes and it will blow up to about 50% larger. Hook it in the band and cast to the edge of the current and the current will stretch the crawler down stream. It is difficult for a nice cat to pass up such a tasty treat. I also agree with shrimp comment. I have caught very good ones on shrimp in lakes.


    In North Carolina we use chicken meat and dear hearts

    Bass and cats!!!!!!!!

    One of the best and funest ways to catch big bass is to head out early morning b4 the sun is up, tie on a top water frog with the rubber tassel legs, not the plastic real looking legs! Find a nice spot with cover( lily pads, grass, cat tails, logs,rocks, ext.) Cast across to a bank or inside or just on the edge of cover and do the slow twitch twitch pause...... and better have a nice heavy action rod and reel cause let the explosions begin!!! By far one of the best and most fun ways to fish bass in Indiana. Along with soft plastic jerk worms.
    Now cats in Indiana is all about location location location, deep pools, nice steady currents, and heavy cover. Get some chicken livers and hot dogs, take your chicken liver thread it on the hook kinda like a worm( the warmer from the sun the better) take a nice slice of hot dog and thread it through the skin and butt up against the liver to help hold in place. U can also take a spool of thread and keep in with ur tackle and cut a short piece and tie your liver to the hook so it wont fly off when u cast, have a fairly decent amount of weight depending on current and let it sit on bottom next to your desired structure and b patient and stay right next to your rod I've had them nail it within 30 sec to 30 min, if u cant wait them out reel in check your bait and try a spot 20-30ft from last cast. Dont worry always guarantee u will catch something nice on the bottom. And of course night time is the right time. Good fishing everyone and fish on!!!!

    fishing prayer

    Lord grant that I may fish until my dying day and when it comes to my last cast I then humbly pray, when in the Lords safe landing net I"m peacefully asleep, in His Mercy I be judged good enough to keep. Amen


    I am a die-hard catfishing the state of North Carolina we use fresh dear Hearts deer liver and chicken breast we up for the challenge them a hundred pound Blues

    Chicken liver

    I use fresh chicken liver.... Cut it with scissors or a razor. Put it on a hook, without weight... Free falling with the current baby!

    Fishing for catfish

    An excellent bait for catfish is fresh bream catch a dozen so so the day before you are going fishing . Keep them in an aerated container of water to stay alive. When you are ready to bait your hook cut one up by first cutting the head off then cut the rest into strips from the top fins down through the fish towards the bottom fins in about five strips.Use a thick circle hook thread it through the piece of cut bait if will stay on the hook and you will catch fish they love this good bait for blues channel and any other bottom feeding breed of catfish. If you are fishing for flathead they most times only feed on live bait so you will need to take one of the live bream hook it just behind the soft dorsal fin this is the big one at the top of the fish in front of the tail . You will need to have this live fish on a rig that will allow it to swim around near the bottom so use a good size egg weight with your line running freely through it . Flathead hunt for there meals this moving bait will attract a flathead and you should have no problem catching fish.I hope this helps people catch catfish and remember to take a kid fishing teach them while they are young this will keel them out of trouble and give them something they to can pass down to their kids one day.

    Fish bait for kids.

    Guaranteed to catch fish especially with kids. I have 5 daughters and 2 sons. I taught them all to fish using sun dried hot dogs left out of the package all day or microwave them just before you go. Most Girls really don't like any type of wiggly, crawly bugs or slimy night crawlers and my sister was a girl scout leader and showed me this is the perfect bait because honestly most boys really do not enjoy using live bait either. Even minnows are difficult to handle. Anyone says differently and I will eat my fishin hat. I have caught more cat using hot dogs than all other baits combined. Also, when you spray Avon skin so soft on the hot dogs when you put it on the hook the crayfish and turtles and crab WON'T steal your bait. However, catfish seem to love the taste of salty meat byproducts scented with Avon's spray-on oil product called skin so soft.