Local Sports

Feeding frenzy with spring weather

The fishing forecast for this week gives anglers excellent Florida spring weather, and moon in the first-quarter phase, two days after orbit apogee. The weather forecast predicts mild wind out of an easterly direction until Sunday, mostly clear skies with no chance of rain, and a high pressure system that will remain stable until Saturday. These factors will certainly cause fish to move closer to shoreline feeding areas for the four-day duration. Anglers who prefer throwing baits to a vegetative or structural target will not be disappointed. The lunar factor is weak due to its position of orbit being two days from the furthest point in the twenty-eight day cycle around the earth. With no significant moonlight triggering fish to feed at night, the fish naturally take their queue to feed from the solar factor. And since water temperatures are still within the ideal range of 68 to 82 degrees with the daily high of 80 degrees, both the sunrise and sunset will be the main trigger for fish to feed heaviest.
Since fish are starting to migrate to areas that produce dissolved oxygen (D.O.) more than other areas this time of year, water temps in the lower 80s is lower in D.O. than it is in the upper 70s, the daily high and low degree currently the majority of feeding fish will occur in the mornings, while during the evenings fish will adjust slightly deeper to compensate for the rise in degrees. So during the daily low temp fish can eat and direst foods more shallow and remain in shoreline areas throughout, while fish feeding during the daily high temp will have to migrate deeper to achieve the same level of digestion as during the low temp period. Currently, larger fish are already starting this daily migration trend while the smaller fish seem to be unaffected, but not for long as summer temps are a few weeks away.              The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 3 to 8 a.m. and will have a one-in-ten rating of five to six. The peak period will occur from 5 to 6:30 a.m. today but by Friday morning expect it to be centered on the sunrise lasting two hours.  The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 4 to 9 p.m. and will have a rating of four to five. The peak period occurs as the day’s heat subsides and water temperatures retreat and cooler surface waters start to descend into the water column fro 5 to 7 p.m. The thing to remember when fishing the time of day, during this time of year, is that as water temperatures reach peak D.O. levels fish thrive and as oxygen diminishes fish move more distances more often to compensate for the loss in digestion speeds. It’s not all that hard to identify with. Try eating a huge meal in a 90 degree room and then in a 70 degree room of your house. Or turn up the heat in the kitchen to 100 degrees and put the dining room at 70 degrees and see which room you want to enjoy the meal. I guarantee you that you’ll migrate from one room to the other, to the heated room to obtain the food followed by a speedy entrance into the cooler room to enjoy eating and digesting that food. You have more in common with fish than you thought. And to complete the comparison more vividly, the extremely large beings and extremely small beings don’t have the same level of discomfort in the heat, do they. And the young seem more able to eat in any heat situation while the old seem to need the air conditioning to enjoy a meal. This weekend will give anglers an atmospheric pressure decline that will turn on the fish feeding frenzy. Fish will start to migrate deeper as the pressure drops. It will not be a drastic drop (unless the weather prediction of today is wrong) but it will be steady. This change will cause fish to be on the move and this will increase feeding activity. Both Friday evening and Saturday morning I expect to catch a boat load of bass. Looking ahead to next week, weather forecasters predict what seems to be a ‘rainy season’ trend of afternoon developing storms isolated throughout central Florida. While I hope for an above average rainy season on the one hand, on the other I don’t want it to start until the water temperature low for the day is at or near 80 degrees. Lake Istokpoga’s level is at 38.58 feet above sea level. By June 1 the level will be at or below 38.25 feet with the possible low pool level, required for hurricanes of 37.5 feet.  Lake Okeechobee’s level is at 13.55 feet above sea level. This level might drop to 13 feet by June 1 then we have to hope for a normal or greater rainy season. Lake Kissimmee’s level is at 50 feet above sea level and I don’t expect the chain of lakes to drop more than this mark this year. The low-pool schedule ends June 1 and is raised to 51 feet as the new low mark. Lake Toho’s level is at 52.8 feet above sea level and has a low-pool of 53.5 feet starting on June 1 so I don’t believe this lake will drop any lower than it is currently. 

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: davidpdouglass@hotmail.com