Best Fishing Days 2018

Best Fishing Times and Tips

Best Days to Fish

When is the best time to go fishing? See our best fishing days in the Almanac’s 2018 fishing calendar, below.

When is the Best Time to Go Fishing?

Fishing is best during the time between a new moon and a full moon. This is what the Best Fishing Days (below) are based on.

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).

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

Best Fishing Days 2018

  • January 1, 16–31
  • February 15 – March 1
  • March 17–31
  • April 15–29
  • May 15–29
  • June 13–28
  • July 12–27
  • August 11–26
  • September 9–24
  • October 8–24
  • November 7–23
  • December 7–22

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


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).
  • 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 rippled, rather than during a wind.

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’s some advice from the 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 2018 Old Farmer's Almanac

Reader Comments

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I was stationed at Ellsworth

I was stationed at Ellsworth in the early 80s. We caught grasshoppers near the streams and caught plenty of trout. The area has changed (grown) considerably since than, there were numerous streams in the Black Hills that held trout. The base had a few trout and bass lakes.

I use turkey liver for cats.

I use turkey liver for cats. put it on the hook throw a half hitch on it ready to go

The way we have always baited

The way we have always baited a hook for Catfish is to take a pair of panty hose, stretch it around the liver and tie it in a ball with fishing string.

Something my sister noticed

Something my sister noticed is to fill up your gas tank the night before you go fishing. If you fill it up in the morning you'll have a hard time getting a bite!

This is true, if I gas up on

This is true, if I gas up on the way to the lake i'm very carefull not to get fuel on my hands.. If I do I wash them before I touch any bait.. Rub a little fishstick or smelly jelly on my hands..

Im a frequent catfisher.Iv

Im a frequent catfisher.Iv learned over the years that catfishing can be done in many ways.One way iv learned is takeing a Barrel swivel and about a 2-5 ounce weight...Depending on the area your in and the size of fish.Anouther way is one of the simplest rigs iv learned and I acculy made it my self I call it the Catfish Bomb I take a 3 ounce weight A sliding one works best .. then I take a J Hook... witch is just a simple hook then I take whtever bait most frequent Hot Dogs Shad or Liver..Sometimes hommade

Thanks for the great tip. Im

Thanks for the great tip. Im going to try it out

This is a very helpful app.

This is a very helpful app. To have

This is one of the best

This is one of the best guideds to go by.thanks almanac

I'm from texas but now i live

I'm from texas but now i live in central coast california any tips on catching good sized edible fish from the pier

If you are between Big Sur

If you are between Big Sur and Pescadero Ca from now until July 10th you should use Squid for bait as they are hatching and the fish will go crazy for them. Also sunrise/ sunset and after the new moon are best times. After mid july best fishing changes to full moon at sunset. I grew up in the Monterey Bay and this was what people catching the fish did. Happy Fishing!!

Go to the site "California

Go to the site "California Pier Fishing". This site list all the public piers on the California coast with information on fish,condition of pier etc.

OK I need some help. My

OK I need some help. My friend and I went fishing and caught nothing. I told him about fish having a cycle that went from head to tail fin that affected their bite. It coincided with the lunar cycle. He thought I was pulling his leg. I thought it used to be in an old almanac.

I need some help finding this as true or a chart that shows it or something.

Yes, thats the page I'm on.

Yes, thats the page I'm on. In Almanac it's under Best Fishing Days..hope you have great luck.

Herd of shrimp being good

Herd of shrimp being good also shrimp jigs too. Also bull heads in rivers are good to use catfish dont like bull heads saw 68lbthat cat pulled out if the river by bull head bait

Lotta guys use manjuice

Lotta guys use manjuice awesome natrul bait! jus put in panthoes and go

I love fishing!

I love fishing!

TOOTSIE ROLLS have worked

TOOTSIE ROLLS have worked wonders in catching catfish for me and others. Brought two poles to use, had baited one,tossed it out and before the other was baited,the first one hit. Brought it in and tossed the other out...BAM again. Had no choice but to put one rod to the side...Within an hour,I had caught my limit. I was suggested using TOOTSIE ROLLS when I was young and haven't had a reason to change yet. If you decide to use them...warm them up in your hand,roll up in a worm shape to put on single hook...or for a treble hook,connect from point to point.

I have caught catfish with

I have caught catfish with beer cans in their stomachs that were perfectly healthy pantyhose won't hurt them!

Any good tips for Lake

Any good tips for Lake Berryessa here in Northern California? I have used cheese with great results. Especially for catfish. Anchovies for the rainbows!

I just moved to Bastrop,Tx it

I just moved to Bastrop,Tx it is near Austin and would like to know where a good place to go fishing. I'm not good at it and only have caught one fish my entire life. I was only ten years old at the time. I'm now 36' It's nice to go out and try even if I don't catch anything. So if anyone knows a good place please let me know. Thanks

Keep reading comments,

Keep reading comments, questions; and, most importantly, reply; and, then read some more; always good advice to follow, y'all know that! I'm an old bat (baseball fan); love Texas (Rangers too); but not if they try to beat my Giants (SF, that is); however, Tigers were fine (grew up in Michigan) ... been to one lake there, by night ... to and from some great eatin' place by boat too.

Watch the lovely ladies; catch the big ones, but if rare, throw them back for the next person or game fish/fisherman who needs that trophy more than you. Born in '47 ... you? Life's a journey! ... enjoy the ride!

Catfish vary in diet by

Catfish vary in diet by species. Mud cats and flatheads feed on bottom and eat stinky baits. Channel cats along with Blue cats are predators and eat largely minnows (shad)perch, bass, stripped bass etc. I was watching my poles when a blue surfaced and swallowed a coot!! A week later I caught a 48 lbs blue. He could swallow a whole apple. The one that swallowed the coot had to be 80 or 90 + lbs. There are some big catfish out there!! Search for a fish producing lake then watch the OLD fishermen.

Need to Know more about CAT

Need to Know more about CAT FISH before posting false information.Flatheads and Blues are the predators!

I beg to differ. My family

I beg to differ. My family and myself catch chanels on live bait all the time. It's not that thwy aren't predatory. They just aren't as picky.

This is true to an extent.

This is true to an extent. All cats at a young age scavenge
But as they age their diets change to live bait. Yes you can catch all cats on stink baits and livers. But your best chance for the bigger cats is a live or large cut bait. Some are pickier than others. Once they have grown their diets should consist of mainly live fish. Location, gear and presentation are of most importance. Best of luck to all of you.

First of all a flathead is

First of all a flathead is the same thing as a mud cat...also called a yellow cat.Second flatheads eat almost exclusively live prey. Blues eat mostly live prey aso but will eat some trash. Channels eat trash and much less live prey. Odd they are the best to eat but they are. This is why you catch channel on stinkbait, liver, etc...never heard of anyone catch in a flathead on danny kings punch bait. There's been a lot caught on trotlines baited with perch though. Some people amaze me with some of the $#%* they come up with

I'm afraid you may be wrong.

I'm afraid you may be wrong. I caught a 30lb flat head on a cool cat worm and catch them all the time on liver. I think it depends on the area you are fishing. I am in Mississippi and fish on Ross Barnett Reservoir. I RARELY catch any cat on minnows or any type of FISH bait. Mainly catch them on worms, chicken or beef liver. And catch all different types on these 3 baits.

your right i think on any

your right i think on any given day those flatheads bite on all kinds of bait i fish missouri river in ne caught them on hot dogs leftover pork chop canned corn grasshopper i caught a 35 pounder on a very large praying mantis. have caught channel cats on a ripe mullberry so anything goes. there was a mullberry tree at rivers edge dropping ripe ones in the water and wondered if any fish eat those .well i now know channel cats do. well godbless and good luck fishin.

I'm afraid you have put you

I'm afraid you have put you boot in your mouth. A flathead is not a Mud cat. Mud cat do not grow big at all. And flatheads are huge. I'm pretty sure that you are an idiot.