Fishing reports include valuable information that fishermen can use to determine where to cast their lines. For example, knowing the water temperatures in a particular area tells fishermen how active the fish are going to be. "If it's too hot, they're not going to be moving around too much. If they're cold, they're going to be conserving energy," says Mark Beauchesne, advertising and promotions coordinator for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "If they're not active, they may not be as aggressive to chase a lure or fly, or to move from their resting spot."
Water conditions are another important component of fishing reports. Water that is moving quickly or is full of mud or debris may make it difficult for the fish to see the bait and get to it. High waters can create dangerous conditions for the fishermen.
Other types of information that may be included in fishing reports are:
- Weather conditions
- Wind speed
- Whether the fish are biting
- Where the fish are biting
- What types of fish are biting
- Types of bait that are effective
Fishing reports typically come out weekly or monthly.
Even though fishing reports are sometimes written a few days after the actual fishing trip, those who write them say they are accurate because they're based on consistent patterns in season, water temperatures and fish behaviors. "In most cases the fish might have moved a mile [1.6 kilometers], but generally speaking it's pretty on target," says Lockwood. "Things don't change overnight usually. Fish will move, but they don't leave the state." Reports written by scientists or experts at state departments of natural resources may be slightly more accurate than those written by fishermen, because sometimes fishing boat captains use the reports to beef up their business.
So who uses these reports? Just about anyone who is headed out on a fishing expedition -- particularly if they have only the weekend to fish. "They're going to go over your report with a fine-toothed comb because they want to catch some fish," Captain Graham says. Fishing reports can be so popular, in fact, that a report of a particularly fish-heavy area may provoke a virtual stampede of fishermen.
To learn more about fish and fishing, look over the report of links on the next page.