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

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    I have used WD-40 on rubber

    I have used WD-40 on rubber worms at night as scent for largemouths...and it works. Best to use with no water buzz baits with a full moon...reeled as sloooow as possible.

    W-D 40 is made from fish oil,

    W-D 40 is made from fish oil, it will not kill fish, and when crappie fishing and you have a bucket of minnows that aren't very active, put one on your hook, I always hook mine in the tail area, squirt a little w-d on him ànd watch him and the crappie come to life. Works every time down here in Texas.

    The one and only time I set

    The one and only time I set out a trotline in Lake 'o the Pines in east Texas, I used Ivory soap. Leave it in the sun for a day or two and you can cut it into cubes. In one week I caught so many 18 to 20 inch cats, I had to give them away 'cause I didn't have a place to store them after cleaning.

    My Grandfather's nickname was

    My Grandfather's nickname was "Catfish". That's all his friends called him. Starting at 4 years old (now 78)he taught me how to Catfish. The ONLY bait we ever used was fish entrails. The local fish market would save him buckets of entrails weekly. After a long time they started selling them as fish bait. Hold tight, don't lose your ROD! Rick Woody

    Really...buckets of bait

    Really...buckets of bait weekly..buckets? sounds like a fish story.

    It doesn't sound like a fish

    It doesn't sound like a fish story to me. Here on Lake Texoma, the place to catch a lot of large catfish is next to the fish cleaning stations the fishing guides use in the marinas. They throw all the entrails and heads in the water at these stations and the catfish congregate there. Must be the entrails they are eating.

    It's true Woody. I've put

    It's true Woody. I've put fish guts in Bait Baggies I got off ebay to bait my trotline. Makes a awesome bait for cats.

    what is entrails

    what is entrails

    Fish with the sun in your

    Fish with the sun in your face. Fish know a shadow on water means danger. Catch a grasshopper. Put a bread twisty through the eye of the hook on your line. Twist the grasshopper on without sticking in the hook. Do not twist too tight, do not kill it. Cast softly into deep still water with no weight or bobber, just line, hook, twisty and grasshopper. He will kick and bring up a big one. Kids love catching grasshoppers almost as much as fishing and then want to fish some more.

    What bait can I use to catch

    What bait can I use to catch saltwater stripe bass or blue fish?

    Brother, The striper is not a

    The striper is not a dumb fish by any means. Use a 3-way swivel with a long bait drop. Flourocarbon line is great, they can't see it, up to 17 lb. or so. Make your sinker drop about 2 feet and the hook 4-5. Live shad are best. Hook them in the bone behind the eye, they'll live form a good while. They need to be swimming and be presented naturally.

    I always used a high low rig

    I always used a high low rig with squid and clam on bottom 3-5 oz pyramid sinker good luck

    Beef Melt works great and

    Beef Melt works great and stays on a hook better that liver!!!

    Beef liver dried in the sun

    Beef liver dried in the sun works well in early spring after the winter-kill. When it gets hot, live or cut shad is the deal.

    Beef melt also works great

    Beef melt also works great and stays on a hook a lot better that liver!!!!

    living in florida, best

    living in florida, best catfish bait for me has been squid.

    Shrimp is good for almost

    Shrimp is good for almost everything in Washington state

    shrimp works good in Indiana

    shrimp works good in Indiana too

    I dip my liver in cherry

    I dip my liver in cherry kool-aid and do the same thing.

    I also live in southern

    I also live in southern Indiana too. I live 8 mile from the ohio river.

    Here in southern Indiana we

    Here in southern Indiana we put liver on then wrap the liver on the hook with a red or pink thread maybe less than a foot or so it stays on well plus when the liver is gone the thread stays on and the fish still smell it try it and you won't be upset.

    try this. one carton of

    try this. one carton of chicken livers,two
    fresh boneless chicken thighs cut into piece size
    you want for your hook. the livers you blend
    in a blinder to mush,add the oil from one can of sardins,tea spoon of garlic salt a pinch of chile power. mix livers and thighs
    into a carton or what ever you want. i use a coffee can, put in ref. for two or three days.then go fishing.( hard to throw off )

    sounds almost good enough to

    sounds almost good enough to eat

    I have used many of these

    I have used many of these baits ya'll talk about, but you just can't beat good Ole Mother nature. What ever small pan fish are in your fishing whole is the best bait for your monster cats. Crappie is awesome brim blue gills sun perch etc etc cut sun perch and small ones in half and be patient and persistant and 1 fine day you may get lucky and lock on to the ellusive 65lber. Good luck

    amen brother just caught me a

    amen brother just caught me a 50lber 4/10 "new moon" lol on a whole tail piece of a 2lb small mouth. Lake Norman NC Rocks.

    salamanders are great

    salamanders are great flathead bait. republican river southwest nebraska. the happiest days in my life were spent fishin with good old dad! lucky for me he was a hard core ,relentless ,stay till the cows come home and beyond fisherman. taught me all he knew and always reminded me how dad and granddad and great granddad mccarty did it. thank god for fisherman dads. peace



    Bluegills like onions!

    Bluegills like onions!