The responsible fisherman’s fishing calendar – When not to fish


When not to fish – Sustainability is the key to enhance the pleasure of any activity. Earth provides us with so much abundance and it Is up to us to take from if in such a way that there is plenty left behind for nature to flourish and rebuild.

Fishing is our favorite activity and it always gives us immense joy to go to our favorite spots and catch the fish we love. But how do we make our favorite sport more sustainable? There are various ways and means we can adopt to do our little bit so that we maintain a balance between nature and our love for the sport. Catch and release is one of the best ways to inculcate a habit of conservation in fishing. Though in a lot of European, American and Australian regions this is enforced and followed strictly, in Asia, parts of Africa and other parts of the world like parts of South America the awareness and use of this practice is much lower. Also the economic status of such countries do not lend to the adoption of such practices among all anglers. However, a few of the aware anglers have started adopting the practice in certain ways, adapting it to their prevailing circumstances. Here are a few ways we can modify and practice catch and release to maintain a healthy balance in nature so as to allow fish to survive and reproduce in larger numbers

  1. Release all of juvenile fish – Fish below a particular size.
  2. Release adult fish which have grown beyond a particular size (Specially if the particular species takes a long time to mature).
  3. Take no more than a specific number of fish a day (a number that will be enough to sustain your family’s appetite for a few days) and release the rest even if you have a bounty catch on a good day on the waters.
  4. Always release fish during their breeding season no matter the size.



Taking the above into consideration, we have put up a fish chart just so you know which fish you need to avoid during particular months for reasons like breeding and spawning time. It is best to leave the fish to themselves at these times and we can have plenty other fish species during these months. Wouldn’t that be good as it will leave us with plenty of the fish species when it is not their breeding season. So here is the “when not to fish” fishing calandar

Fish Name Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mahseer             x x x      
Carps             x x x      
Cat Fish           x x x x      
Murrels           x x x x x    
Grey Mullet             x x x      
Spiny Eel             x x x      
Mackerel       x x x x x x      
Kingfish x x x x x         x x  
Barramundi/ Sea Bass     x x x         x x  
Mangrove Jack/Red Snapper x x x                  
Silver Pomfret     x x x       x x x  
Black Pomfret       x x x x x x      
Tiger Prawn   x x x x x   x x x x x
Squid     x x x       x x x x
Cuttlefish       x x       x x x x
Prawns x x x x x x       x x x
Lobster       x           x x x
Dolphinfish x x x x       x x      
Crabs x x   x         x     x
Solefish x               x x x x
Emperor x x x x x   x x        
Bombayduck x x x x             x x
Cobia x   x       x x     x x
Yellowfin Tuna x x x x         x x    
Other Tuna     x x x         x x  
Skipjack Tuna     x x       x x x x  
Dogfish x   x x     x x x x x x
False Trevalley   x x x x       x      
Indian Salmon   x x x               x
Golden Anchovy   x x x x x            
Coastal Shark x x x                  
Milk Shark     x x x       x      
Fringe Scale Sardin     x x x   x          
Other Sardines     x x         x      
Indian Oil Sardines           x x x x x    
Cat Fish     x x         x   x  
Small Catfish     x x x     x x      
Groupers     x x x x            
Spinycheek Grouper       x x   x x x      
Barracuda     x x             x  
Ribbonfish       x x x     x x    
Scad         x x x x x x    
Bronze Croaker       x x x x x        
Croaker         x x x x        
Breams       x x       x x x x
Wolf Herring       x         x x    
Ladyfish             x x x x x x


When Not To Fish

We have compiled this data of when not to fish, from various sources as listed below and from local knowledge and presented it here. There are a few sites that give out such handy calendars and one of them even has a unique SMS service where they send monthly recommendations of fish you can eat and fish you should avoid on a monthly basis. You can just subscribe to their service and you will get an update in that month. You can get the details on their website linked here There is another site called which also gives a similar fishing calendar.

However, our chart is more tuned to the west coast of India and we would love to compile a calendar that can chart the breeding season for all different parts of the world. If any of our readers would help us with these contributions, we would be more than happy. Do leave us your details on our contact page and we will get in touch with you. You can also help us improve on the above data by contributing to increase the list of fish and by suggesting any alterations and we would be happy to oblige.

So let us do our bit to help our environment, our beloved sport and in turn to ourselves. Let’s adopt these practices and avoid fishing in the above seasons and release the fish caught as per this chart. This will help us be sustainable and strike a balance between our passion and nature.

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  28. I dont take home fish in rains as it is breeding time. We need to be more aware in India. An article about that would be great

  29. Responsible fishing like in US is what we should do in India

  30. I always release small fish.

  31. India should have a Catcha and release rule like in Europe and America

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