Local Sports

New moon has fish feeding

The fishing forecast for May 9 to May 11 has a new moon a three days away from the furthest point of orbit from the earth--lunar apogee--and an ideal weather forecast that will produce sunny skies, high atmospheric pressure, and low wind speeds. All in all, the next three days will be absolutely perfect fishing conditions. The key factor that will have fish feeding heavily and often is both atmospheric pressure and water temperatures. The high pressure will have fish adjusting, by migrating into more shallow areas of shorelines and as they do, they enter warmer waters which are still in the upper 70s which means, fast moving fish that eat as often as possible. Because anglers love to fish shorelines and specific vegetation targets, they’ll have fishing days like the best fishing stories of the past commemorate. These types of days are numbered however because once water temperatures reach the lower to middle 80s, the ability of the fish to physically eat at will, or to even feed moderately, will be greatly impaired due to low oxygen levels in the shallow areas and water temp-atmospheric pressure anti-alignment or misalignment per se. This means fish try to move to the ideal water-pressure areas within the water column which the atmospheric pressure impacts up or down, while hot water temperatures produce dissolved oxygen levels below the levels fish can adequately digest food.
The conflicting fishing factors put fish in a hunger/starvation mode where they eat from the rich food chain that is everywhere around them, but once full of food, their bodies struggle to have the energy caused by low oxygen levels, to digest the foods. The result is, fish suspend at the best levels possible; where water pressure provides some positive bladder adjustment within their bodies, and where some oxygen is present to energize digestion. If you determine where in the lake this is happening for the fish, you’ll have a chance to catch them. Simply ‘going deeper’ won’t work unless there is a low pressure system prevailing. And, high pressure systems will trigger fish to move shallow, but they’ll hit a ’wall of heat without oxygen’ when they try, and the feeding migration stalls as the fish goes into suspension, .literally.         The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. over the next three days and will have a peak period occurring from 10 to 11:30 a.m. today which will move later into the day by 40 minutes each day. The feed rating on the 1-in-10 scale will reach 8 or 9 today and tomorrow and then decline slightly over the weekend. The minor feeding migration of the day occurs during the sunset hours and should have a rating of 6 and no discernible peak period. With the modest winds forecasted the wave-action sides of the lake should produce best. Looking ahead to next week anglers will have to deal with a minor cold front, lower pressure, and a chance of rain on Sunday and Monday. From Tuesday on, the weather conditions should be ideal as water temperatures and high pressure combine to produce great fishing conditions in the shallows of the development of the first-quarter moon. Early morning anglers get ready, it will be a good week. Lake Istokpoga’s level is 38.84 feet above sea level and anglers should expect this level to drop another six inches at least over this month. Lake Okeechobee’s level is 13.56 feet above sea level.  Lake Toho’s (west) level is at 53 feet above sea level and will drop another foot by the end of the month.  The Kissimmee Chain, (Lake Cypress, Hatchineha, Kissimmee River and lake) levels are at 50 feet above sea level and will drop another foot by June 1.

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