How to Keep a Fishing Log

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In its most simple form, a fishing log (or fishing journal) is a notebook used to record information from individual fishing trips such as date, location, fish caught, lures used, weather, and similar things. The purpose of the log is to save pertinent information that can be reviewed later to remember the what, when, where, why, and how.


  1. Designate a notebook to be used as your fishing log.
  2. Mark general information at the top of a new page before you start fishing that includes: Date, Water Name, Specific Location (“below dam”, “7.3 miles after turnoff”, etc), Start Time, and Fishing Partners.
  3. Make mental notes of each fish caught and how you caught it. This includes: lure or fly used, type of water, water depth, lure depth, retrieval type and retrieve speed, and time caught. Alternatively, you can keep a small notepad in your tackle box or fishing vest and quickly jot down this information after catching each fish.
  4. Observe weather conditions while you fish, including air temperature, cloud cover, wind speed, and precipitation.
  5. Observe water conditions while you fish, including water temperature, water level, and water clarity.
  6. Observe insect hatches while you fish.
  7. Use a fine mesh net to seine the water for insects or small fish which may be an important food item to imitate.
  8. Write down the aforementioned information in your fishing log when you change fishing locations or at the end of the day.
  9. Complete the fishing log entry at the end of the fishing day by writing down information such as: End Time, Best Hours Fished, and General Notes from the day. It may also be useful to sketch a map of the area fished and indicate good fishing locations and poor fishing locations.


  • Transfer the written fishing logs to a computer for easier searching and analysis. The best option is to use computer software designed specifically for maintaining fishing logs. There are web sites designed for this as well as standalone software programs. A more basic and less desirable option is to keep all of the fishing data in a spreadsheet or other document.
  • Keep track of specific locations fished by using either a GPS receiver or by tracking mileage using a cars odometer.
  • In the US, most river water levels can be found at the USGS web page.
  • Keep a small notepad and pencil in your fishing vest or tackle box to make note of weather and water conditions as well as fish catch information.


  • Always use caution when wading in rivers.
  • Remember to use a wading belt with waders.

Things You Will Need

  • Notebook (waterproof is good)
  • Pen or pencil to keep with the notebook
  • Air thermometer (optional but handy)
  • Water thermometer (optional)
  • Barometer (optional)
  • Seining net (optional)
  • GPS receiver (optional)

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