The fishing forecast for this week includes a stormy forecast with slightly less chance of rain for central Florida counties than during the past seven to 10 days - which means it could rain every afternoon and evening on your favorite fishing lakes. And there is a waning full moon heading away from the closest orbit point to earth, the lunar perigee.
With the lunar perigee occurring last Sunday, and the full moon occurring last Monday, the fish will be feeding primarily during the midday and midnight hours. If and I said, "if", the weather forecast runs 'true,' this works well for anglers in that there is a 30 to 40-percent chance of rain for this time of day rather than what we have had, which is a 58-percent chance of rain.
All in all, fish will be feeding in the early afternoon over the next four days, and if it doesn't rain or storm then, fishing will be very good, as long as you prepare for the heat and bright sunshine.
The 'good news' for everyone planning to fish during the hottest time of day is that there will be a moderate wind from the west for the next two days and then a moderate wind out of the southwest for a few days, which will help to give you some relief while fishing in the humid summer midday heat. A eight to 10 mph wind will also provide some relief, but remember to keep hydrated with something more than just water, like a sports drink.
And don't forget the sun block.
Barometric pressure will not be a factor over the next seven days and the extended rain forecast predicts less of a chance of rain with a decreasing percentage heading into the weekend - decreasing even more for next week. In other words, the areas with feeding fish won't change, making the work of finding them that much easier. And if you already know where they are, you will be able to catch them day after day with ease.
As with all hot summer days at the end of July on central Florida lakes, all fish species head deeper than at any other time of year. The deepest areas with various types of thick cover are where the fish will be. The bass have been finding the ideal water temperatures at the eight to 12 foot depths and the atmospheric pressure average allows them to feed in six foot depths several times a day for short periods.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 12-4 p.m. and will have a peak period starting at noon, lasting for about an hour. The one in 10 feed rating will be at seven today and tomorrow, and will decrease for the weekend to five.
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 6-9 a.m., and will have a peak period for a thirty minute window just as the sun appears over the eastern horizon. The rating will remain at six for the next four days. By next week, this rating will increase as the last quarter lunar phase arrives on Monday.
The weekend will give late afternoon and evening anglers some very good fishing conditions. Deeper, secondary migration routes and areas will hold concentrations of fish. Tree piles will be very productive as well, as grass beds from eight to 12 feet deep. And early morning anglers should be working the lily pads with six feet of depth and the outside edges of hydrilla and eel grass; both vegetative areas are putting out the best oxygen rates once the sun rises between 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Looking ahead to next week, the sunrise and sunset anglers will enjoy the two major feeding migrations that the last quarter moon produces. Again, if the weather forecast is correct, it will only serve to enhance these two fishing periods. Even though the various fishing charts and solar and lunar algorithms predict a overall daily rating below five, if you fish at these times of day, you will experience much better success than the published rate implies.
Fishing Facts: In Florida's freshwater lakes during the hot summer, fish migrate deeper in order to find water temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s. Typical stormy weather and atmospheric pressure also pushes the fish to this same depth, which is where their bladders are most comfortable and digestion works best.
Fishing Fiction: "During the summer, bass move to northwestern shorelines". I have heard and read this saying from many anglers and sources. The 'only' time it has been true for this angler is when the east and southeastern winds push plankton into those areas. And only if there is deepwater of eight feet or more close by which has plenty of vegetative type structure.
Lake Istokpoga's level is at 38.30 feet above sea level with all four gates at the S-68 spillway open at two feet and flowing a total of 2000 cubic feet per second - Tuesday 9 a.m. status.
Arbuckle Creek has a influent flow at approximately the same or slightly less rate. The maximum high pool level for the hurricane season is 38.25 feet above sea level. By the way, bass fishing on Istokpoga has been excellent on the western shoreline and on the south and southwestern sections of both major islands. The hydrilla acreage is at the lowest level - almost non-existent - since the early 1990's.
Lake Okeechobee's level is at 15.55 feet above sea level and on the rise. If the overall extended weather forecast is correct for central Florida, this lake will rise at least another foot by the end of the hurricane season.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org