Fishing Calendar for 2021

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

January 1, 2021
Best Days to Fish

When is the best time to go fishing? See the best fishing dates and times for 2021 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 2021

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


























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

    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.


    Best catfish bait is a chunk of mackerel with bloody tuna pro cure gel smeared on it. This combo literally leaves a 200 yard scent trail and every catfish in that area will seek your bait out. Send deal is use a small but very strong saltwater live bait hook veres a mongo hook that a big cat will just spit out. suggest a 1/0 for really big cats and you can go as small as #6 for everything else . 50lb line as a leader when snags are around and 20 on everything open just in case that 100lb blue shows up.

    BassForecast for fishing forecast is easier

    I like to use for all of my fishing calendar and forecasting needs. It's gps adjusted to my specific location, and it is the most sophisticated at guessing the bass fishing mood of anything I have ever seen! So much easier to use than charts and graphs online or in bassmaster.

    Finding Crappie everytime.

    If you know a place where there are Crappie and would catch alot of them. When you catch one that's too small to keep tie a 10' piece of line with a small ballooned semi filled with air. He will swim back to the school everytime. Try it and let us know what happened.

    Fishing at Holiday State Park

    We were camping at Holiday State Park in Lynchburg, VA one summer and went down to the dock to fish. I like to have 2 rods, one to fish on the bottom and one to use with a bobber. I had stepped away from my rods when I saw a muskrat swim under the dock. Then my bobber took off and so did my rod and reel. The Forest Ranger thought it was so funny but I did not.

    Big Wyoming Cats

    Up here we use jigging shad rapalas tipped with a half minnow or piece of sucker meat. We pinch the minnows in half because when these cats grab fresh meat they WILL NOT open their mouth again until they’re through the ice. During ice off we fish from shore on the bottom with sucker meat. We don’t have the population of people to catch and keep everything in Wyoming so there’s plenty of fish, also they do not mush on us. Our water is cold enough to keep firm meat on these tanks year round. Remember, cats will take live bait that’s moving over a rotten piece on the bottom. GOOD LUCK!

    cat fish bait

    I have used Ivory soap in the spring and when the lake water is clear. Let it sit in the sun for a day or two and cut into 1" cubes. Used on trotline and was giving fish away in about 4 days.

    cat fishing

    Use range cubes to lure catfish to your area and then you can catch them on just about any kind of bait. I like minnows and home made dough bait with peanut butter mixed in for taste!

    Best Catfish bait

    Fished a river that runs threw New Brunfels TX. and those big burgers wouldn't hit any traditional baits like shiners, shrimp, liver, worms. The only thing they would hit without a doubt was Cherrio shaped Cat food on a #2 hook. Top or bottom didnt matter...


    Fishing in Iraq it was hard to find worms so we used T-shirt soaked in beef stew worked pretty good but they were some ugly Catfish LOL

    Fishing bait

    Catfish bait - sausage links from Rural King (slim Jim's). Stays on the hook.


    we use deer hearts in North Carolina and chicken marinated in Italian dressing

    Big catfish in Alabama

    Chicken& kool aid get boneless chicken strips, cut up in little chunks, put in a jar, put a pack of cherry kool aid on it, add water just about the chicken, put a lid on it, shake it up and let sat out over night. Catfish loves it. Chicken & kool aid.

    the best thing we have used

    the best thing we have used is KFC fried chicken for catfish. caught a huge stringer of them in a very short time. we had run out of bait and thought, why not? well it worked and its our go to now.

    Catfish bait in the Ozarks

    Learned about this 10 years ago and have used it faithfully since then. Cubed ham chunks that have been covered with garlic powder and let soak overnight. Might be good to let them dry in the sun to keep on the hook longer, but I always catch a lot just fishing off a boat dock.

    fishing in ky

    my husband my boys and i always do really good using small cuts of chicken breast tenders soaked in cherry kool aid powder we catch catfish blue gill bass even turtles we never go fishing and leave empty handed

    Good catfish bait

    I made some dough out of tuna and bread I caught alot of blues on try that I didn't think it would work but it did everyone laughed about it but who know what really work fish will eat almost anything

    Catfish bait

    I have tried everything but pizza.


    they make pro cure gel in a scent called Bloody tuna. This is pure ground tuna oil made into a gel. Used with a chunk of mackerel( cannned if u cannot find fresh) it literally leaves a 200 yard scent trail and every catfish will be on your bait quickly. Pro cure is 100% legal and you can find on Amazon or go directly to the pro cure site. Have 6 catfish species records using the bait and it has worked in all 22 staes i have tried it in. It even lures monster cats hungering down on spawning holes. Just be careful of monster jawed turtles that love this combo as well.


    One of my best baits are shrimp or canidian night crawlers , if they don’t hit them they not biting !!! D.breaux

    shrimp and worms

    Your right D. Breaux, that is what I use shrimp and or Canadian night crawlers, I have caught lots of catfish with them and also stripped bass will get shrimp


    This article is so helpful!

    Garner State Park Catfish`

    Garner catfish love hotdogs. we caught some big ones on just a little kids' snoopy fishing pole!

    When to go

    Ice fishing - when the birds are at the feeder

    Keeping liver on your hook

    When using liver to catch fish, I tie on a single long shank hook. Then I tie 10-12 inches of 4lb. leader on just below the eye of the hook. Thread on a piece of liver and then wrap the 4lb. leader around the liver going down the shaft to the hook and then back to the eye. Pull tight and tie off the 4lb. leader. Cut off the access leader, cast your line, and hold on.
    I have caught 4-5 big cats this way On The Same Piece Of Liver!
    The only problem using this method is if you don't catch any fish it takes you awhile to get the liver off your hook. Ha.
    Tight Lines, strong knotts.

    Keeping liver on your hook

    Once you placed your liver on the hook. Take about 2 foot of Sewing thread and wraparound no need to tie it off cast as hard as you want chicken liver will not come off. When done fishing you’ll have to burn the thread off your hook or cut it off. Good luck

    Keeping livers on your hook

    Get u some panty hose put your livers tie it into a ball hook your threw it catfish can't get bait off

    Fishing with minnows

    I use a regular needle and thread or hook and sew the minnow or other bait carefully to the hook too keep the fish from stealing bait LOL. YEAH.....I CATCH MORE THIS WAY

    Daily fishing Southern Bell

    Fly fishing

    Keep your fly in the water as much as you can. Even a poor cast may catch a fish. Unless you are in the middle of a specific hatch use the best proven basic flies like a Pheasant Tail nymph or a Parachute Adams. Keep things simple forget all of the fancy flies. Finally, regardless of the hatch fly size and proper presentation are the keys to remember.