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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    Done corn chicken liver and

    Done corn chicken liver and any type bug i seen around area§ but one time used the cubed ham from heb in repealable bag and it works great plus U can snack on it to if keep cool:-) oh ya buy a throw net for shad ect

    Once in Louisiana, we used

    Once in Louisiana, we used mud bugs(crawfish) tails. We boiled them first so if the fish wasn't bitin', we would have lunch.

    this is some crazy stuff i

    this is some crazy stuff i thought id heard everything this takes it

    Turkey livers work good

    Turkey livers work good because they are tougher than chicken livers and stay on the hook better.

    Something I've had a lot of

    Something I've had a lot of luck with is called shad, you can get shad guts or sides, the guts work a lot better, its a ball that is usually sold frozen in a mason jar. I usually put the jar in the water while I'm setting up to thaw them out. I've brought in some big cats in Kansas with these, unfortunately I haven't found them in Florida ....... yet

    Shad is one of the best bait

    Shad is one of the best bait for almost all fresh water bait. but they dye and get wrotten almost as soon as you take them out of the water. one way you can keep them fresh is to mix strong salt water and dump them in it that will keep them furm or put a chunk of ice in your minnow bucket

    if they are legal in your

    if they are legal in your state, goldfish are a great catfish bait, especially for jug fishing or trotlines. these are not like the ones you put in a fishbowl. they are silver with a copper tinted back and i have found them just as alive after 5 hours on a hook as when they were put on. hook through just below dorsal fin.

    I live in NC and it is

    I live in NC and it is illegal to fish with goldfish. Does anyone know why that is?

    It is illegal in Texas

    It is illegal in Texas too,,,goldfish out compete the native plant eating fish for food therefore the native bait fish die out and the goldfish take over. It messes with the native eco-system of the body of water that they are introduced to.

    Goldfish get bigger the

    Goldfish get bigger the larger the body of water its in it will take over a place. They do sell goldfish that can't reproduce you can use

    The best way to keep liver on

    The best way to keep liver on your hook is... panty hose! Yep. Wash them in plain hot water until they no longer smell like anything, then drop it in the toe, tie it, and cut it off, then you can fish all night on ONE LIVER! Kinda tough to get off the hook at the end of the night, though.

    The best way i have found to

    The best way i have found to keep chicken liver on the hook . Get a large piece of tin foil place it on the roof lay your chicken liver on it . Give a a good coat of salt or garlic salt .let dry for 3 hours flip it over and repeat. It work great

    I've found that wrapping your

    I've found that wrapping your liver with thread after putting it on the hook works pretty good. the fish can taste the liver directly and the thread holds it really good while throwing it out and keeps them from sucking it off as quickly.

    keep this calender coming

    keep this calender coming each mouth.

    Get a minnownet catch a few

    Get a minnownet catch a few shad cut in haf and enjoy u caint loose when fishing 4 monsters

    Get a minnownet catch a few

    Get a minnownet catch a few shad cut in haf and enjoy u caint loose when fishing 4 monsters

    For the big flatheads i have

    For the big flatheads i have used nothing but bluegill perch on a limb line.

    Out here in Idaho we use

    Out here in Idaho we use sucker as cut bait yup wanna big catfish use sucker!!

    Here in Southern West

    Here in Southern West Virginia we fish in slow moving shallow rivers. There are a lot of bends in the rivers, and deep holes. Mostly flatheads, and channels. Blues are in the bigger rivers up north. The best bait to use are live minnows on a slip egg sinker. Creek chub, shiner or whatever you catch. TIP: Take scissors, and cut the top half of his tail fin off. Reason 1: puts a blood trail in the water. Reason 2: The bait struggles, and because you trimmed the top half of the fin; when he trys to swim foward his tail will automatically push him up from the bottom. Making him a very noticable snack! WHAM!!!!!!!!!!!

    I totally agree. I like using

    I totally agree. I like using shad that are about the size of your thumb. Hook 'em through the mouth and down to the tail, like threading them on. Great for catfish,sandbass and striper.

    I have found threw my 52

    I have found threw my 52 years,we all try any and everything to catch ole mister whiskers.A rule of thumb is to use what te lakes provide for us,the best bait on texas lake's is shad.keep in mind that when they are biting slow or your getting robbed of your bait use a old trotline trick of mine just put a small piece of shad about half inch square and you will get better results,hope this helps everyone.

    but the best things would be

    but the best things would be fish eyes

    Fish eyes is awesome for some

    Fish eyes is awesome for some reason.

    all these sound great but

    all these sound great but here in kentucky we use pretty much whatever we can get our hands on!!!

    chicken liver is grate,i get

    chicken liver is grate,i get some pantyhose cut in 2-3 inch peaces and wrap them around the liver and hook !! even if they don't get the hook set it hangs in they teeth ! good luck !!

    Best way to fish for catfish

    Best way to fish for catfish is with Liver = its easy to do = We at our lesure get ready to fish by taking a pair of old used panty hose and cut it into about 3 to 4 inch squares and put a bloob of liver on one and tie it up = then stick it on a hook = it want come off very easy = you can make you up a bunch and freeze it and take what ya need as you go = the cool thing is after the original mess = it isnt bad

    i have posted same thing

    i have posted same thing pantyhose work grate !!

    windy days are the best in

    windy days are the best in pockets that seem calmer on the out side direction of the wind due to baitfish. well thats seems to be tha case on lake jocassee if u have naver fished there u need to great seenarie an good fishin..... good luck and good fishin ttyl.

    It may sound weird but in I

    It may sound weird but in I use rotten chicken breast this is very effective give it a try

    soap is one of the best

    soap is one of the best catfish baits in the world!! every year i catch hundreds of pounds of fish on SOAP..give it a try, you will be happy camper..