By Dan Johnson
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As you look through a fishing report to figure out what to expect for your trip, make sure you have answers to the following necessary criteria. When met, you can ensure that the information you are reading is a reliable resource. Listed below are the 5 Criteria to look for in a Fishing Report.

1. Credibility
The first piece of criteria that you need to locate is the actual credibility of the fishing report. Who is putting the information together? and where it is coming from? is extremely important. If the report appears to be a general opinion of how the fishing should be instead of how it actually is, it may be time to find a new source of information.

Along with looking at who is putting the report together, question their reason for the report. There are countless reports available and knowing the actual reason that someone puts in the effort to make a report can tell you a lot. Most of the time if an Outfitter or Guide is creating a weekly report on the recent fishing trips, they are creating it to show the success they are having to current and future clients. This helps increase the excitement leading up to the trip as well. These types of reports also attract new business through the report of past trips. Due to the fact that the amount of fish caught and conditions of the day were shared with a group of people, these reports are usually extremely accurate and a reliable resource to use.

2. Consistency
The consistency of how often a fishing report is updated is the second criteria to keep in mind. Many reports are updated weekly and give an overview of how the past week’s fishing has been.

Other reports are updated every day or sometimes only once a month To get as accurate of a report as possible, the more often there is a new report available the better. This will ensure a more accurate account of the latest fishing information, rather than a broad perception on how the fishing and bite has been. If there is a report available that you can compare from last year to the reports you are currently using this would be an excellent source of information. Weather patterns and spawning seasons each year are fairly consistent and have an effect on the fishing.

3. Weather
Using a fishing report that consistently talks about how the weather has been with an upcoming forecast, and how that has affected the fishing is a huge benefit. The weather can be the biggest factor in a good day of fishing with a lot of bites or virtually none at all The weather patterns and moon cycles all play a role in not only how aggressive the fish are, but also where there will be a good chance to find the fish. Following fishing reports of an outfitter that you have scheduled a fishing trip with will give you a good idea of how your trip will be if you have good or bad weather conditions. Knowing how the outfitter will react beforehand, due to past experiences, will give you confidence that you will stay on the fish and are going to have a great trip.

4. Fishing Modifications
Another piece of information to look for in a good fishing report is whether there is any mention of having to modify the fishing from day to day in order to keep getting a good bite. While there are many different factors that come into play of why the fishing can change, how modifications are made to the fishing style is information to look for. While no one ever wants to mention bad fishing or terrible weather, the best reports are those which discuss the challenges that were faced and how they were overcome to still have a great day on the water. Simple things such as changing lures, bait, location, fishing over different bottom structures, or time of day, are all important pieces of information to look for in a fishing report. The reports where each day sounds like it was the best day of fishing there has ever been can sometimes be one sided and unrealistic. Anyone who has ever experienced the outdoors knows that there are always going to be days that are better than others, but how you make each day enjoyable and successful is the challenge that keeps us coming back for more! I would encourage you to look for fishing reports that are honest about days where the fishing may have not been the best, but what was done to keep the bites coming.

5. Fishing Techniques
One of the most over looked pieces of information that needs to get attention in a fishing report is the fishing techniques that are being used. If you do not use a boat and prefer to fish from shore the style of fishing is going to be quite a bit different. While there still may be good information that you would be able to use, finding those fishing reports that are as close to your style of fishing are only going to increase your chances of being successful. Pay attention to what state the report you are following is in as well. The different fishing laws that change from state to state will play a role in how you can use a fishing report to your advantage. For example, if you can fish with two or more lines in the water in your home state, the techniques from a fishing report where they can only use one is going to be very different. Being aware of the differences will help prevent unnecessary frustrations.

Many fishing reports are going have their own unique pieces of information that you may find useful. Ensuring that as many of these criteria are met as possible, will give you confidence that you are following a report that is going be the best for you!
Good Luck!

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