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

    a great tip for catfish: put

    a great tip for catfish:
    put non iodized salt on drained chicken liver and refrigerate overnite, it toughens the liver enough to stay on the hook for hours and channel cats love it. a little garlic powder helps too

    catch fish, its better than

    catch fish, its better than catching a cold!

    sure is better catching a

    sure is better catching a fish!

    Always get to know your

    Always get to know your fishing hole and it's surrounding ecosystem. For instance, in a creek I used to fish in as a child the fish refused to bite on the night-crawlers we bought from the bait store. We went without a bite until my dad found a green worm in the creek bank. It was then that I learned to use what the fish were naturally feeding on as bait. Plus the green worms smelled really terrible, adding to the effect and imprint left in my memory. I see many posts remarking on the wonders of liver, and one recommendation I have is to use a snap swivel (or just tie your line back on each re-bait) and a treble hook so you can easily release the hook, thus sticking the largest center point directly on the hook post and position it so it won't just flip off on your first cast. Liver is good bait, and if the fish aren't biting at least you won't go hungry.

    Using a pantyhose for your

    Using a pantyhose for your liver is the best way. Also, if you can use hearts, either chicken (rabbit's are great), you'll be able to catch the big ones!

    To use liver try getting a

    To use liver try getting a piece of your wife's stockings or a piece of her pantyhose (the foot portion works best) . Insert the piece of liver in the hose tie a knot in it and thread the whole concoction on your hook. Be sure to cut off any excess material. The hose lets the fish bite and the scent escape but does not let the water or fish steal your bait.

    This works give it a test.

    This works give it a test.

    I am going to try the chicken

    I am going to try the chicken liver idea. I love to fish & often shy away grom liver bc of constantly having to rebait the hook. Thanks!

    I agree this does work best!

    I agree this does work best! Be sure to put your treble hook on first before tying. You can use fishing line to tie. You can also use "chicken" hearts, if you can get enough. They are tougher, and have more flavor, too.

    Tip of the day "You don't

    Tip of the day "You don't know if you don't go"

    That's how I feel about my

    That's how I feel about my Chanterelle spots.

    And even if you go and don't

    And even if you go and don't catch anything, it was still better than not going!

    I'm sure that most ice

    I'm sure that most ice fisherman know this, but if you save the shells from your white eggs and drop them down through the ice you can see the fish cruisin' between you and the bottom a little better...

    Here's an old ice fishing

    Here's an old ice fishing trick: bring along some peas (either canned or frozen, doesn't matter) and place them around the hole you've cut in the ice. When a fish comes up to take a pea, grab it.

    Thats how we catch bears

    Thats how we catch bears around here. When the bear comes around to take a pea we kick it in the ice hole.

    That's how we catch pea's

    That's how we catch pea's around here, we put a bear or a fish around the garden and when a pea comes out to get it, we grab the pea

    Made me laugh out loud!

    Made me laugh out loud! Thanks.

    who was the guy that fell off

    who was the guy that fell off the ladder ?

    Haha!! Too cute!!!

    Haha!! Too cute!!!

    So funny! I like reading your

    So funny! I like reading your tips. I tried the panty hose but must have done something wrong. i'll try again.

    Chris Payne`s idea for liver

    Chris Payne`s idea for liver in the ice tray was a very good one...another trick is to take the liver out of it`s container,and place them on a dry surface such as a board or concrete until they become kind of firm.
    They will then stay on the hook very well.
    Billy Ray Malpass

    these are all great ways to

    these are all great ways to keep liver on your line.But here in Ga.we use old pantyhose from your mother or wife just take and wrap around the hook with liver on it.You can cast it in and out without loosing it.Good luck

    haha here in ohio we use that

    haha here in ohio we use that too, my grandpa taught my daddy that trick who taught my brother who is now teaching me(= good idea very efficient.we also found that nightcrawlers and chicken nuggets work too.

    just don't use the pantyhose

    just don't use the pantyhose if their still in them

    I'd say that kinda depends on

    I'd say that kinda depends on how much you dislike the person wearin' 'em.

    Hey now, I like the idea of

    Hey now, I like the idea of them still wearing them. Two hands for grabbin. Ha Ha. I do the same. Panty hose works great.

    In Arkansas the Game and Fish

    In Arkansas the Game and Fish outlawed the use of pantyhose due to fish not being able to digest them. Fish will die if you don't catch them.

    The fish is going to die if i

    The fish is going to die if i do catch it, he is danged if i do, and danged if i don't

    Can a bass digest a 4oz

    Can a bass digest a 4oz lunker lure ? How about the plastic rigs used for sqeeze baits ? When I was a kid, i had a Redbone hound pass a complete dishrag. I have seen large car parts from the inside of Sharks while caught alive. This ban sounds like a new way to make money by fines if you get caught. What's next? How about a bad shot on a deer by bullet or arrow? ban bullets and arrows? Trapping, check your trap and have only a leg,animal going to live or die? Come on now, you can catch and chop up a fish, usually alive and use it for bait, but pantyhose may kill one if you don't catch it? Brilliant thinking, I bet some state lawmakers made and spent big money thinking this up. When a pair of pantyhose are no longer wearable, what are they good for? What is the lifespan for pantyhose? Like I said earlier,make the pantyhose biodegradable, landfills and fishermen happy.

    thats how we do it in SC...

    thats how we do it in SC... pantyhose comes in handy alot on our fishing trips