Local Sports

Best fishing days ahead

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the remainder of the third week of May involves the last-quarter lunar phase, which arrived yesterday, and an excellent weather forecast that will give early morning anglers perfect fishing conditions.

The weather forecast today and Friday calls for hot temperatures in the mid-90s with mild winds out of a westerly direction with no cloud cover — perfect for early morning fishing. Barometric pressure is well above 30 In Hg so fish will be more active along shorelines when feeding.

As with all last-quarter lunar phases, the early morning feeding migration builds in feeding intensity and duration as the moon wanes toward the new phase, which will be next Wednesday. Today the sunrise occurs at 6:30 a.m. and the moon is overhead at 8:30 a.m. which is the reason why fish begin to form the monthly new moon feeding migration, which will be gaining strength in numbers and activity for the next seven days.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 7-10 a.m. and p.m. today with the better period during the early morning period. Both peak periods will start an hour before the moon reaches its overhead and underfoot positions and last for an hour after passing those positions — 8:21 a.m. and 8:46 p.m. A rating of 6-7 will occur for both periods. Each day these fishing times move later by about 40 minutes.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs as the moon set and rise occur — 2:16 a.m. and 2:28 p.m. The afternoon moonset period will create a very good feeding migration an hour before and it will last for about 90 minutes, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. A rating of 4-5 is likely.

Lake Istokpoga’s level is at 38.25 feet above sea level with three gates open at the S68 spillway three inches and one open seven inches to flow a combined total of 420 cubic feet per second. This current lake level is the high-pool mark during the hurricane season water management schedule. The low-pool mark is at 37.5 feet above sea level which is implemented before incase a significant rain event approaches.

Remember you can access all the latest news and information about this lake by visiting online my webpage, www.Istokpoga.info.

For the remainder of May, I am offering a two-person, full-day bass fishing trip for $250 that includes fuels, bait and equipment. A map of the lake plus fishing-hole locations will be provided along with other lake information essential for fishing the lake.

If you need a lake contour map for the lake you are going to fish, remember to visit online my new webpage, www.FloridaLakesMaps.com. You can view the map on your smart phone or download it to print and copy, all free.

Best Fishing Days this Month: During May 23-31 during the new moon phase period.

With the summer heat becoming a factor in fishing, as water temperatures rise to the lower to middle 80-degree marks, many of the shallow “muck type” lakes start to drop in dissolved oxygen rates where there is no healthy submerged plant life. And this becomes a problem for the larger bass which need at least 5 parts per million to feed and digest foods.

For this reason fishing the windy side of the lake becomes more productive — which I believe is always more productive no matter what annual season is present. If an area of the lake is deeper and has healthy plant life, there will be greater numbers of bass there.

Since plants recuperate from the previous days sun and heat during the nighttime by using dissolved oxygen present in the water column, the lowest oxygen time of the day becomes 3-7 a.m., and this can also happen when overcast skies and constant cloud-cover blocks out sunlight for an extended period of days.

Since each lake is different regarding the state of healthy submerged plant life and its frequency throughout the lake, bass and all fish for that matter will form summer migration habits in association with these types of areas. Finding the deepest thriving vegetation which is nearest the deepest shoreline thriving vegetation is the key to catching lots of bass throughout the summer months.

In a lake like Istokpoga, that means finding areas of grasses in 6-8 feet of water that are close to shoreline vegetation of 4-6 foot depths. However in lakes like June and Placid, this means finding areas of treepiles, grass beds, and break lines, at the 12-20 foot depth areas that are closest to shorelines’ or shallow flat areas’ vegetation which are 3-9 foot deep.

Shoreline anglers will have to start using their sonar units to mark areas out in open water away from shorelines, if they want to remain consistent in catching bass. Learning the summer feeding migration routes is the key to staying on feeding bass when water temperatures reach the middle to upper eighties for a daily high mark.

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist in Central Florida. The full article can be accessed at BassFishingForecast.com and FloridaBassFishingForecast.com. Main website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: davidpdouglass@hotmail.com