The fishing forecast for central Florida's freshwater anglers for this week includes the first major cold front of the new fishing season - the Fishing New Year.
The first major cold front drops water temperatures out of the summertime temperature range - and a last-quarter moon phase.
The cold front that started to pass through our state yesterday will drop water temperatures into the 'ideal temperature range' for all fish species to feed very aggressively - hopefully we won't have another heat wave to reverse the progression of fall type weather. Rain is also expected as barometric pressure averages in the 29.82-29.92 In Hg range today, but will increase slightly tomorrow and Friday.
The moon is waning toward the last-quarter phase which arrives on Saturday and therefore will improve early to mid-afternoon fishing today through Saturday.
In addition, the weather will be assisting this lunar influence in two ways, one lowering water temperatures into the perfect fishing temperature range, and two, causing the barometric pressure daily-high period to occur from 1-3 p.m., which has been the trend for the past five days. All three fishing factors combined should produce an excellent afternoon to evening feeding migration for the next five days.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs therefore from 2-6 p.m. and will have a peak period near the beginning of the migration what should last for two hours and reach a six or seven on the one-in-ten ratings scale. Today will be the exception due to fish needing a period of adjustment to the weather change. However by tomorrow afternoon fish should be biting aggressively.
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs during the mid-morning hours from 8-11 a.m. and will have a peak period from 9-10 a.m. that should have a rating of six starting tomorrow. Today the rating will be in the two range, but from Thursday through the weekend, expect this migration to gain in duration and intensity.
The weekend fishing conditions looks to be very good with a strong feeding migration in the evening and early morning hours. As stated previously, the weather factors will be perfect, and will harmonize perfectly with the lunar phase of the last-quarter moon.
Looking ahead to next week early morning anglers will have the best of it, with a moon waning toward the new phase, and a weather forecast predicting ideal conditions for this time of day. I am making plans right now to catch trophy bass of ten pounds or larger during the last five days of this month-two more in this range will total twenty for this year.
In case you've been too busy to notice, all of our lakes are in absolutely perfect condition for fish to feed and thrive. Now that it looks as if, fall weather might be here to stay, fish will starting forming the fall migration pattern. Fish will be moving up from the open water deeper areas of the lake toward the deeper shoreline areas more often.
Instead of the three fishing factors of high water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen levels, and low atmospheric pressures, forcing fish to stay in the deeper water areas of their migrations routes, only 'low atmospheric pressure' will keep the fish deep and away from shorelines for long periods.
The fall season weather factors greatly increases the time that fish feed actively within traditional fishing areas. If you haven't been catching impressive fish over the summer months, this is about to change for the better, in a huge way.
The mid-sized members of the lake's food-chain will be moving into the shallows to bulk-up and soon to follow will be the larger members. Bass for instance will be roaming more frequently the shoreline areas closest to their deep water homes, feeding aggressively, in preparation for the upcoming spawning season.
The next seven weeks I believe are the best weeks of the year to catch trophy-sized bass in Florida's freshwater lakes. Bass will be where anglers like them to be along lush shoreline vegetation areas. They will be very aggressive twice a day. If you happen to be out on the lake when the atmospheric pressure rises above 30.10 In Hg, you better be ready because the Florida Largemouth Bass certainly will be.
Lake Istokpoga's level is above the annual high-pool maximum of 39.5 feet above sea level, at 39.66 feet with three S-68 spillway gates opened at four inches and one gate opened at eighteen inches, all flowing a total of 875 cubic feet per second. If you'd like to get daily information on this lake, don't forget to go online to 'Istokpoga.info'. Links and maps for all lake conditions provided by state management agencies are available along with tournament schedules and information.
This fishing column and additional fishing information and advice for Florida freshwater anglers is online at www.FloridaLakesFishingForecast.com or www.BassFishingForecast.com or www.FloridaBassFishingForecast.com.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com and FloridaBassFishingForecast.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.