During the summer there is no greater pastime than fishing. It can be a relaxing retreat from the day to day stresses. But do you know the basics when it comes to fishing? When is the best time for fishing, what do I need to go fishing and what are some tips for catching a fish? We have all of that information for you here today!

According to the Farmers Almanac 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. Fishing is best during the time between a new moon and a full moon (see dates below).

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:


  • January 1 – 12
  • January 27 – February 10
  • February 26 – March 12
  • March 27 – April 11
  • April 26 – May 10
  • May 25 – June 9
  • June 23 – July 9
  • July 23 – August 7
  • August 21 – September 6
  • September 20 – October 5
  • October 19 – November 4
  • November 18 – December 3
  • December 18 – 31


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.

If you are new to fishing you may be wondering what you need for your tackle-box. The Farmers Almanac put together a great checklist of items.




  • Extra fishing line
  • Lures or flies
  • Bobbers (or, floaters)
  • Swivels, to keep fishing line from twisting
  • Leaders
  • Sinkers (or, weights)
  • Different sizes of hooks (for different types of fish)
  • Needle nose pliers, to help remove hooks out of fish (and maybe you!)
  • Stringer, to hold all the fish you catch
  • Sharp knife (such as a Swiss Army knife)
  • Ruler/scale
  • A small flashlight
  • First-aid kit (with basics just in case a hook gets stuck in your thumb)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a lot of great resources for the Iowa Fisherman/woman. Don’t forget if you plan to fish in public waters and you are over the age of 16 you are required to have a fishing license. You can get them online at: Iowa DNR

The Iowa DNR also has some great tips when it comes to fishing.


  • Bring a basic first aid kit with sterile bandages, tape, antiseptic, band aids, aspirin, scissors, wire cutters, tweezers, analgesic cream, sunscreen, and insect repellant.
  • A wide brim hat and sunglasses will keep the sun out of your child’s eyes and off his forehead. Avoid fishing in the middle of the day.
  • Life jackets are strongly recommended for children fishing around deep or fast-moving water. Make sure the life jacket fits your child snugly and won’t ride up around their face.


A child’s first fishing trip is exciting for both parent and child. A fun experience can lead to future years of fishing enjoyment. Here are some simple tips for taking kids fishing.

  • Pack plenty of snacks and cold drinks
  • chose a spot close to home
  • morning trips are best
  • make sure there are restrooms nearby
  • pick a sunny day with moderate temperatures
  • keep the trip short
  • leave YOUR fishing rod at home
  • remember you are taking the kids, they aren’t taking you
  • take plenty of breaks from fishing
  • take pictures
  • plan an alternative activity if the weather turns bad or they get bored
  • have fun
  • emphasize that fishing is FUN, catching is a bonus

*Source- Farmers Almanac

**Source- Iowa DNR