Fishing reports used to be the sole domain of local papers and sporting goods shops. A lot has changed since entering the internet age. Now it seems that fishing reports are everywhere, and where to find the information is no longer an issue. Which information to believe and act on is a much better question. In the end the fishing forum may still be the bottom line best source for up to date information. The quality of the online information depends on how often the site is updated and who does the updating.
Fishing reports often have great information updated weekly or even daily. The trick with this information is that the guide wants you to book a trip with him not launch your boat and compete for the same fish he’s after. Thus while the information is going to be good in a general way, specific hot spots won’t be reported they will be fished with clients and reported when the guide moves on to the next hot spot. Can you blame them?
Fish and wildlife agencies also do a lot of reporting and some of it is very good stuff. Being a government agency however specific reports seem to come in more rarely. So if the water level on river x was dropping and the fish are biting two weeks or a month ago it doesn’t mean anything for tomorrow mornings trip. Watch the date on the information to make sure it’s relevant. The local biologist can also be a great resource and often they are quite happy to discuss what’s going on.
In some areas the local newspaper will have a daily fishing report, more often it is weekly. Weekly reports are great for lakes but may leave something left to be desired for quickly changing rivers. Most of the time the information for the newspapers report comes from either local guides, the sporting goods store or the fish and wildlife department.
Online fishing forums they always have the right fishing information and discussions. There is some great information here, but beware of misinformation and individuals with their own agenda! The local tackle manufacturer may be strictly out to promote his product or the guide to promote his service. Quite often these individuals give out bits and pieces of good information and have their cronies ruthlessly trash their competition. The best way to use the internet forums is to actually be an active member so that you know where things are coming from and can network with the quality members who love fishing and are willing to trade a few tips or even trips!
So there it is, as always in this information age, there is plenty of information out there and about half of it is somewhat suspect or dated. Check out all of the local fishing reports and don’t overlook the local tackle shop. They know what lures, flies and baits are going out the door and have a pretty good idea of where they are being used and what’s happening every day. Once you find good fishing forums keep that source as your primary information and you should enjoy the benefits. The best information always comes from a day of fishing.