Wednesday, December 9, 2015

10 Year Fishing Log Data Summary

I've kept an electronic Fishing Log for 10 consecutive years now.  I've run the numbers to get 10-year totals and averages, so see what an "average year" of fishing looks like for me.

Disclaimer:  I have an 8-to-5 office job 5 days/week.  I have a wife and 2 kids(that are 18 and 15 at the time of this writing) that I spend time with.  I help around the house, I go grocery shopping with my wife.  I drive my kids to most of their extracurricular activities (which occur on nearly every night of the week).  I'm not a guide...I don't fish for a living.  I owned a fishing boat for only the first year of this span, so nearly all of my fishing is done on foot (from shore or wading).  I just love fishing, and do it as often as I reasonably can.  Everybody has their "thing"....Fishing is mine.

Here's the analysis:

Over the course of the past 10 years:
-I fished 1,409 days, and made 1,727 fishing trips.  So, on average, I fish approximately 141 days/year.
-Fished 3,113 hours.  (311 hours/year)
-Caught 23,342 fish (2,334/year)
-Averaged 16.8 fish/day fished
-Averaged 1 fish for every 7.5 minutes of fishing.

-Least fish caught in a year = 1,846 (in 2009)
-Most fish caught in a year = 3,112 (in 2012)

Every year is different as fas as what months were most productive...but the fish totals & 10-year averages for each month look like this:

So, May has been the best month, followed by June and April.  And then the Fall fishing picks up again in October and September.

Although I had flyfished before this 10 years....I would say I started SERIOUSLY flyfishing near the beginning of this 10-year span.  During this 10 years, I caught 41 different fish species while flyfishing...34 in Iowa, and 7 others in Florida.

At the beginning, I started a yearly "Fish Species Breakdown" many of each species I caught, and what percentage of my total catch each was.  I didn't keep updating it when new species were added....typically their numbers were low, so I just threw them into the catch-all "Others" category.
The 10-year species numbers look like this:

I enjoy catching a variety of species, obviously.  Some fun highlights:
-Most trout in one year= 318 (in 2012)
-Most Crappies in one year= 808 (in 2010)
-Most Walleyes in one year= 253 (in 2009)
-Most White Bass/Wipers in one year= 466 (in 2006)
-Most Largemouth Bass in one year= 366 (in 2014)
-Most Bluegills in one year= 1,111 (in 2015)
-Most Smallmouth Bass in one year= 80 (in 2015)

Some not-so-fun observations:
-I haven't caught any Flathead Catfish since 2006.
-I didn't catch any walleyes in 2015...although I admit I never tried.
-In 2015, I only caught 2 catfish on flies, and only 1 carp on a fly.
-I caught only 22 White Bass and only 2 Wipers in 2015.

I fish local public ponds a lot, because of their proximity to my house, so catching a lot of Bluegills, Crappies, Largemouth Bass, and other sunfish is typical for me.  Perhaps a bit more unusual for a flyfisherman in Central Iowa is the trout.

Another seeming anomaly is the number of Largemouth Bass.  Most I catch as by-catch while fishing for Bluegills and Crappies.  Its only been the last couple of years that I actually started to target them with flies specifically.  Most folks would agree Bluegills are pretty easy to catch practically year-round.  Crappies are best in the Spring and Fall and Winter and seem to disappear to deeper water during the summer months.  The numbers indicate that on average over 10 years, I catch 1 Largemouth Bass for every 3.4 Bluegills.  That seems like a crazy high ratio of bass!  Another suprising ratio is the 1 Crappie for every 1.35 Bluegills.  Combined...I catch 1 Bass or Crappie for every Bluegill I catch.  I would not have guessed that to be true! about 1 Trout for every 5.6 Bluegills....what???? In Iowa????  Who'd have believed it?

I didn't separate my flyfishing data from my other fishing results for the first part of this Fishing Log process.  I did a better job of that during the past 5 years.

What I do know, is that in the past 9 years, I made 1.203 Fly-fishing trips (135/year average).
In just the past 5 years, I've caught 10,803 fish while flyfishing (2,161 fish/year)....averaged 15 fish/trip on flies, and caught an average of 18.5 different species/year on flies.

I have also kept track of my largest fish of each species caught on a flyrod since 2006.  Here's the current list of Fly Rod Personal Bests for some of the species ( I didn't include them all here):
Largemouth Bass - 21.75"
Smallmouth Bass - 17"
Bluegill - 10"
Hybrid Sunfish - 10"
Green Sunfish - 9.5"
Pumpkinseed Sunfish - 9"
Redear Sunfish - 9.5"
Crappie - 14.5"
White Bass - 16"
Wiper - 18.5"
Grass Carp - 41.5"
Common Carp - 32"
Bigmouth Buffalo - 28"
Smallmouth Buffalo - 24.5"
Shortnose Gar - 26"
Channel Catfish - 31"
Yellow Bullhead - 13"
Walleye - 19"
Yellow Perch - 10.75"
Gizzard Shad - 11"
Brown Trout - 17.25"

Its been a great 10 Years!  I don't need a Fishing Log to tell me that, but its nice to have the data to back up my thoughts.  The Fishing Log doesn't capture the essence of the fishing experience.  The wildlife, clouds, trees, flowers, rain, sunshine, sunsets...are all part of it, every bit as much as the feel of the tug on the other end of the line.  Of course, some of that can be captured in a photo and inserted into the Fishing Log too!  :)

Good fishing to all!


  1. Great decade Dave!
    I used to keep a yearly calendar where pertinent info was logged daily; location, conditions, company and catches. It was a really useful tool instead of relying on faulty memory but I stopped once I started blogging.

    1. thanks Deadfisher! Yeah, its been great for trying to remember the whens, whats, and where's! :)

  2. That's a lot of fish, and a lot of fishing! Amazed by varieties of sunfish you've caught, and the images help me see the colors I need to be using when tying flies for big bass (that eat those sunfish) down here.

    1. That's something that's really been driven home to me in the past year or two....big bass are eating BIG sunfish! I've watched big bass chase and eat (or attempt to eat) bluegills, pumpkinseed sunfish, and crappies in the 7"-10" range! I keep trying to tie larger and larger flies for them....but really haven't gotten close to the size these big bass are eating. The other issue is using fly gear big enough to cast these big flies. I prefer to use a 6wt, but really need to bring out the 7wt or 8wt rods for these big flies and big bass. It sure is fun! :)