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

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    what kind of soap works best

    what kind of soap works best

    Lye soap works best because

    Lye soap works best because it is made from animal fat instead of glycerin authough i have no clue how you are supposed to put soap on a hook.

    a bad day fishing is better

    a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work (school in my case).

    Check the local laws on types

    Check the local laws on types of bait you can use. And if it's legal in your area? But I have tried most everything and never found anything better than fresh is best but frozen will work also. Trout either slab's or chunk's or the very best is the gill's and gut's. Good luck and leave some for seed.

    What about trout? Any tips?

    What about trout? Any tips?

    The last two times I've been

    The last two times I've been crappie fishing I have brough a cooler full of crappie home the bite is good now on Logan Martin lake I'm headed back today to catch some more crappie and maybe some bass to

    crawfish has always worked

    crawfish has always worked for catfish goldfish works also.

    Crawfish are also excellent

    Crawfish are also excellent bait to catching the common snapping turtle. (In NC, at least)



    dont use to big of bait most

    dont use to big of bait most people think that biggers better now always worlds biggest catfish well was..was caught on a chunk of spam no bigger then your thumb...

    Where I grew up in the middle

    Where I grew up in the middle of Virginia....I would go down to the rail road river trestle and put a piece of sliced cheese(1"x1" square) on a barbed hook with a bobber set at about 3-4' in depth....I would put the bobber in between the pilings in the middle of the river(22' deep) and just wait.....the bobber would slowly just start to sink.....and lo & behold....I would catch blues, flatheads, mud cats and other assorted fish!!! The hotter the day.....the better the cheese would work....just let it set out and dry in the would get hard and of course smell that much more pungent.

    As strange as it sounds, we

    As strange as it sounds, we used to use softer brands of dry dog food to catch catfish at a few ponds in the DFW area of Texas.
    We used treble hooks and fished on the bottom with weighted lines and occasionally with bobbers if we got bored.
    We never did find one dog food that worked better than usually depended on how hungry the catfish were and if we were in the right place at the right time (just like any fishing!).
    I did try baiting out a creek or two with a full bag of the dog food in a medium to large sized mesh bag from onions or potatoes. That worked out pretty good! The creeks were at the "bottom" part of the lake on the map, if that made any difference.
    Channel cats and the mud cats seemed to like the dog food best. We also used hot dogs quite often. Good luck, y'all!

    Another good trick with

    Another good trick with canned dog food is to punch holes all around the can. Then tie a line attached to a marker buoy. With this method, your "chum" stays concentrated in one local area (defined by the buoy) and the fish can't fill up on just the chum. Also by attaching the buoy, when done fishing, you can pull up the can thus maintaining clean fishing environments.

    best way to fish on the river

    best way to fish on the river is to keep your bait alive after you hook it so always hook your bait in front of tail fin. remember in day perch are in the open and at night they hide in coves and in morning theyre in rocks and weed

    best catfishing is right

    best catfishing is right before a rain and while river is raising use chicken liver on a straight hook after you thread it on hook,get some sewing thred out of the old ladys tool box and wrap it around and around the liver then pull thight abd break thread it will stay on till a fish is on your hook

    Yeah. I was once fishing for

    Yeah. I was once fishing for bass on Bessie's Creek in Brookshire, Texas. A terrible storm came up. I was using an 8 inch Broken Back Mirror lure and made one last cast and retrieved it parallel to the grass line When WHAM ! At first I thought it was a bass but it kept running my drag hard. Well it finally turned around. Believe me I didn't turn it around, I was using 10lb test and am surprised it didn't break. She kept swimming towards me and went under an old wooden bridge with fallen pilings. I jumped in the creek to wanagle her around the obstacles, ever so diligently as not to break the line. When she came up she literally scared me. She was a 55 pound channel cat. I finally gilled her and rushed home. It was storming remember? On a giant top-water lure being reeled in at lightning speed. Such fun. On Lake Conroe I was wade fishing and I cast a chartreuse, willow leaf, spinner bate into about 4 inches of water and caught a 17 lb male Florida bass. In Sam Rayburn reservoir, I caught a 7 lb spawning tree stump. I missed my mark casting, but caught her anyways. I wished I could have seen my eyes when I did that. My advice is to go bass fishing. You may end up catching the biggest catfish ever. Ha ha.

    I was fishing a small pond in

    I was fishing a small pond in western pa. I was fishing for carp and they were all rolling that day so I was floating bread. I waited about 5 mins and boom big boy on. As I was bringing him close to the i shore realized it was a cat couldn't be live it 12# catfish floating bread !!!!!!

    for catfishing i use pieces

    for catfishing i use pieces of bars of soap it sounds weird but trust me it works i was fishing on a cat pole one day and i caught a 95 pound cat but remember to always use a treble hook.

    For Catfish we use what is

    For Catfish we use what is called cut and gut, it is fresh caught, cut up peices of Gizzard Shad meat and the gut of the shad combined on the hook. You can catch the Shad in a throw net. Best is to catch the Shad from the same lake you are fishing

    Big fast smart TroutIn ct at

    Big fast smart TroutIn ct at baldwins pond in meriden, you should use a sliding weight with a size 4 hook and yellow powerbait. on the bottom of the waterfall use no weight or bobber and use meal worm on a size 6 hook and drop it right down and you will defitely catch a 13+ in trout right there. The trout are tricky but be prepared.

    Now that Spring is here, with

    Now that Spring is here, with spawning and post-spawning times are near, it's best to fish the shallow warm waters that attract the forage.

    I *think* the north shores warm first, but I may mistaken.

    Remember the food chain:

    1. wind stirs up the water and frees plankton.

    2. Minnows feed on on plankton.

    3. Wind shakes insects free from the water vegetation.

    3. Smaller forage fish and smaller game fish eat the insects.

    4. Larger game fish feed on forage and smaller game fish.

    5. The plankton, insects, and minnows are up against the wall--the windward sides of the bar, the drop-off, the bank, the weedbeds.

    Choose your lures according to the hatch, the forage,and the species you're after.

    Regarding 'when water is

    Regarding 'when water is rippled or still.' You can count on the water in high mountain lakes to be rippled, still or churned. I have discovered windy conditions and churned waters overall to be beneficial fishing over the years.

    I believe it is best to fish the other end of the lake where the winds have pushed and churned nutrients to the corner of a lake, outlet/inlet/cove in other words fishing against the wind. My success rate of catching fish in this manner has increased significantly throughout the years.

    My years of buying lure du jour have all but come to an end based on observation and usage of lure(s). When fishing mountain lakes, small ponds, streams, rivers, inner city lakes and lakes in general I have discovered that carrying a small pocket-size tackle box with two lures in quantity catches many species albeit carp, catfish, trout, bass, crappie, bluegill, salmon, walleye, pike.

    I'm not out to catch the biggest or the most fish inasmuch as I am willing to gain another experience in the great outdoors by keeping it pragmatically simple.

    Good post here, I totally

    Good post here, I totally agree with you on the wind. It oxygenates the water as well. Certain species like Walleye and Hybrid Striped Bass absolutely love the big waves

    Hey Bud, I`m in L A

    Hey Bud, I`m in L A Califorina. so you say the wind is good for striped bass do you fish on the bottom with slip weight and leater or up and down weight on bottom hook on top or whats the best baite for catfish other than chicken liver and how do you baite theshad guts on the hook and what size hook?? thanks sorry for the miss spelling

    for trout fishing , the black

    for trout fishing , the black roostertail with a gold blade takes the cake during the month of april and halfway through the month of may , after about the 20th of may there is no match for the yellow coach dog spinner with gold blade, the coach dog gives the appearance of a salamander and various types of lizards . trout burn these bad boys up give it a try you wont be disappointed

    To keep stink bait or liver

    To keep stink bait or liver on your hook, cut a small square of material from a pair of women's pantyhose. Run your hook through one corner, then wrap once around your bait and hook the other corner. The pantyhose material let scent out, but keep the bait on your hook. Works great on catfish.

    Is this good for all

    Is this good for all countries?

    Give a man a fish and he'll

    Give a man a fish and he'll eat for the night. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat every night.

    I thought it was give a man a

    I thought it was give a man a fish and he will eat for a night. teach a man to fish and he will buy boats motors rods reels lines lures bait ice and a hefty repair bill for all

    For catfishing, I use to use

    For catfishing, I use to use nightcrwlaers and and goldfish. My Uncle and I discovered a dip bait method. We went to Wal-Mart and bought Premo Original Super Sticky Dip Bait. We tried that a few times and it worked out great. Then we got the bright Idea to Mix the Dip Bait with Majic Bait chicken liver formula. We'd put the Magic Bait on the treble hook and dip it in the Premo. I tell you what we can't keep out lines in the water long enough to relax. I also use Majic Bait Nightcrwler formula by its self. Good Luck and have fun.