The fishing forecast for central Florida's freshwater anglers for this week includes a new moon phase which arrives today and a weather forecast consisting of a high pressure system and greater chances of rainfall than we've experienced in the first half of this week.
As the high pressure system develops to our north a weather front will move south today and increase the chances of rainfall and stormy weather today through Saturday. But since the atmospheric pressure will be on the rise, fish will be moving up in the water column which means more feeding fish along traditional shoreline feeding areas.
Since water temperatures remain in the middle 80s fish have been feeding along shorelines in the early mornings, but with the influence of a new moon phase, fish will also feed in their deep water homes of eight to twenty feet, depending on which type of Florida lake you fish, shallow muck type or deep sinkhole type.
New moon phases cause fish to feed during the midday hours 'if' deep water is available, which to define 'deep' would be more than 10 feet for this time of year. The shallow lakes don't provide this depth for fish so fish will primarily feed when conditions are best for feeding, meaning during the coolest part of the day.
Even at eight-foot depths water temperatures are too hot for fish to feed normally if at all. All of the bass I've caught over five pounds on Lake Istokpoga recently, have looked lean and mean instead of fat and sassy.
However on the deeper sink hole type lakes, fish can get deep enough to find water temperatures in the lower eighty degree range and therefore will feed normally. I've experienced good success in grass beds at the 12-foot depths and in tree-piles at 18-foot depths.
Finding these areas of the lake can cost you some gas money, but once you discover these summer homes of the fish, you'll be 'on fish' for the rest of the summer and fall seasons.
Right now, the best artificial baits to use are 'bait fish' types, the resemble bluegill fry and schooling bait fish. The spinner baits are working very well in all lakes. Swim baits of all sizes also are getting a lot of action.
I usually stay with black and blue colors but as the fall season approaches the color red will start to really produce. It is the one time of year that I move from my seven inch Yum Dinger black and blue worm to a black and red one. Watermelon red colored baits also start to produce fairly well on bright sunny conditions, otherwise during overcast and cloudy conditions the darker the better is the standard rule.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs from safelight to 11 a.m. for shallow lakes and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for sinkhole lakes. The monster bass have been feeding best in both types of lakes during the early morning hours only. It is just the summertime feeding pattern for very large bass here in Florida; the extreme heat dominates the feeding-time trigger from July through September. .
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 6 to 10 p.m. when dissolved oxygen rates in the lake are at their highest rate. However be prepared to fish out in the lake, at the 'home of the fish'. They'll be active in the 12 to 20-foot depths along slopes and grass beds and other man-made structures.
Looking ahead to next week the weather forecast offers some positive news in that there will be very low percentages of 'chances of rainfall' and lots of sunshine and clear skies which will force fish to hold tight to cover and structures, right where anglers prefer to find them.
Lake Istokpoga's level is at 38.53 feet above sea level and rising. The four gates at the S-68 spillway are open 1.3 feet and flowing at 1300 cubic feet per second, however there is a greater flow of influent waters coming from Arbuckle and Josephine creeks which is gradually providing more depths to the lake, which is the September normal water management schedule.
Lake Okeechobee's level is at 15.55 feet above sea level and holding at the summertime seasonal average level.
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.