Local Sports

Great fishing next few days

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the second half of the third week of June involves the last-quarter moon phase and the usual rainy season thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. The good news is that the moon is at the overhead position during the safelight hours this morning and will be triggering an excellent early morning fishing experience.

Without a doubt, I have found in my records over the past nine years that I catch far more bass (and the same goes for all fish species) when one of the moon’s four position phases is occurring, the moonrise and set, and the moon overhead and underfoot. And the more productive of those four daily phases is the moon overhead phase.

When the moon overhead phase works in harmony with the sunrise, the two celestial forces work together to create weather changes that inspire fish to move together in larger groups and thus more fish feed in the feeding grounds than during the other daily lunar phases.

An early morning rise in atmospheric pressure usually results across the state and if the pressure rise occurs in Highlands County angler will have higher catch rates because of it. And due to the higher elevation in this central area of the state, we usually experience this weather phenomenon.

So the next three to four days will give anglers an excellent early morning feeding migration similar to the one that the new moon lunar phase produces next week.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs over the next four days from 6 to 10 a.m. and p.m. with the better of the two being the morning period. A rating of 7-8 for both periods is expected with the better peak period of the two occurring from 7 to 8:45 a.m.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs during the moonset period from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m. A rating of 4-5 is to be expected unless the midday sun produces an atmospheric pressure change upward at this time, in which case the rating will climb to a 6-7 on the ten-scale, ten being best.

With the Bluegills spawning slowing significantly bass will now be returning to normal feeding migration norms for each lake — Bluegills migrate when spawning to large shallow flats and moderate contour grades in the shallows which is not the usual feeding areas for bass.

My bass catch numbers for the middle to the end of June and July and August, show a steady increase in deeper water bass moving between the open water deeper grass areas that are closest to the deeper shoreline vegetation.

For the past eight weeks the bass have not been primarily in these areas but instead in the opposite areas of huge flats and shallow areas much further from their deeper water homes than normally used during the other three seasons of the year — in other words in the ‘Spring Bass Feeding Pattern’.

For the next three months bass will be moving into the high dissolved oxygen areas of the lake where wave action blows in rich oxygenate water to mix with the same by-product of healthy oxygen producing vegetation. This summertime feeding pattern is as good as any other time of year for catching huge bass if you learn where in the lake it is taking place.

Need help learning where these areas are on your favorite bass fishing lake?

For the summer months, June, July, and August, I am offering a half-day bass fishing trip for one to three people that include bait and tackle, for $225. Launch time is at 6 a.m. and the trip ends at noon. Book your trip today.

Lake Istokpoga’s level has risen to 38.42 feet above sea level and has four gates open at the S68 spillway and flowing approximately 1,000 cubic feet per second. The maximum high pool mark during hurricane season in June is 38.25 feet above sea level.

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.

I believe the new proposed rule change is good and is even better than the current bass bag limit on Istokpoga—3 bass total under 15 inches with allowance of one over 24 inches to replace one of the three. 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.