Local Sports

Early, late day fishing best

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the second half of the first week of July will give morning anglers excellent fishing conditions as we approach the first-quarter lunar phase that arrives on Saturday.

All fishing factors considered, fishing very early and late in the day will be very good.

For the next four days the early morning fishing factors favor all of you anglers who love to fish first thing in the morning. The cool temperatures, light southerly winds, moderate cloud cover with an even mix of sunshine will be joined by the moon being ‘underfoot’ just as the sun rises. Atmospheric pressure will also be on the rise early in the morning as well, which will cause fish to move up enough to trigger a higher percentage of fish to feed opportunistically.

Nighttime fishing will be good during the early hours. The moon is overhead two hours before the sunset occurs, and then the moon sets three hours after darkness sets-in. There will be enough wind to offset the heat plus dissolved oxygen within the water column will be at its highest point of the day. Fish feeding activity will be high during the next four nights.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 5:30 to 10:30 a.m. and p.m. Both periods will have a feeding activity rating of 5-6 with the early morning period having a rising barometer while the late evening period having higher dissolved oxygen rates.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs during the midday and midnight hours when the moonset and moonrise occur. A rating of 4-5 is likely on the ten-scale system.

Bass fishing on lakes, Istokpoga, Toho, and Kissimmee over the past few weeks has been very good. Even though all three lakes have different vegetation holding bass, all three lakes produced almost the same size bass and nearly identical five-bass total weights.

Toho produced a dozen bass between 4 to 6 pounds in hydrilla, Kissimmee grass and bulrush combined areas. Kissimmee produced nine 3 to 6 pound bass with one throwing the hook that looked well over seven pounds. All where battled in the Kissimmee grass with scattered lily pad patches throughout the grass bed. And on Istokpoga seven bass averages daily has been the norm in the 22-pound range for a five-bass total weight.

In all three lakes the depth with the best feeding action were areas with 6 to 8 feet of water within the vegetation areas, and areas that are very close to the deeper sections within each lake Oh ya and just in case you’re wondering what bait I was using, well yes, it was the seven inch black and blue Yum Dinger.

And a reminder to everyone planning a fishing trip this month, today through next Thursday will be one of the best weeks for fishing this month. The other week of this month that will be just as good if not better, is the week of July 20. The moon and sun combine affects to create top rated early morning fishing during these fourteen days of this month.

For the summer months of July and August, I am offering a half-day bass fishing trip for one to three people that include bait, tackle, and gas for $225. Launch time is at 6 a.m. and the trip ends at noon. Or I can fish from your boat and guide you to my fishing holes for $125 per day. Book your trip on my boat or yours today.

Lake Istokpoga’s level is at 38.25 feet above sea level with four gates open at the S68 spillway and flowing 1050 cubic feet per second.

You can access all Lake Istokpoga information such as lake management plans and events, current spillway status, real-time data and many other facts concerning Highlands County’s top fishery by visiting Istokpoga.info.

And, if you would like to view and or print a lake contour map of the lake you are fishing, anywhere in the state providing one has been created and offered on the internet, visit online, FloridaLakesMaps.com where all maps are free.

Fish and Wildlife Commission News (FWC): Proposed Rule Change to Daily Bass Bag Limit. The FWC believes that Florida bass will thrive and monster bass will increase by replacing the current daily bass bag limit to five bass with only one over 16 inches.

Currently, the FWC biologist have not made a determination about whether or not to use this new proposed rule change on Lake Istokpoga and Lake Walk-in-Water because both lakes have a bass management plan that promotes trophy bass that is similar to the new proposed rule change. The more Highlands County anglers voice their thinking on the rule change the better.

To access the online survey regarding the ‘daily bass bag limit rule change’ go to http://myfwc.com/fishing/freshwater/black-bass/bass-regulations/

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.