Local Sports

New moon means fish will feed three times a day

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the last two days of March and the first week of April begins today with the new moon phase and a weather forecast that works well for a midday feeding migration. Today and Monday will have a top rating for fishing activity as the sun and moon factors harmonize to create larger feeding migrations for longer periods.

Fish always feed more often in larger numbers during the days of the month where the sunrise and the moonrise occur together. Today the moon rises at 7:02 a.m. and the sun rises at 7:17 a.m. Tomorrow the sunrise occurs at 7:16 a.m. and the moonrise at 7:42 a.m. For this reason, the early morning fishing will be very good.

But the good fishing news is not finished yet. The midday hours also will produce excellent fishing opportunities. Both the sun and moon will be overhead within a 90-minute period today and a two hour period tomorrow. This celestial combination will create top-rated fish feeding action when water temperatures reach their highest degree-mark of the day.

And as you might have already known or figured out, the sunset period also has a moonset period happening within nine minutes of its occurrence - at 7:41 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. respectively. The "catching action" will be the best of the month for this time of day.

The major feeding migration of the day therefore is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and will have a rating of 8-10 on the one-in-ten scale system, with 10 being best. I believe the peak period will occur from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Daily, this migration will move later into the day by 52 minutes.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs during the six to nine hours of the day when the sun and moon rises and sets in unison. I full well expect the rating to equal the midday period, reaching a feed rating of 8-10 on both days.

The weather forecast for the week looks to be very good with an even mix of clouds and sunshine and temperatures in the ideal range for fish to feed at will. Winds will be slightly challenging today but will dissipate slightly for the rest of the week into the perfect range somewhere between 5-10 mph.

Barometric pressure starts out today on the low side with 29.92 In Hg or so, but will climb upward into the 30.15 In Hg range for Monday through the midweek. Be paying attention to the moonrise times and the daily minor spike in barometric pressure that usually accompanies this lunar factor. As the heat of the day builds and the moon rises, fish feeding action will pick-up on the windy wave action areas.

Lake Istokpoga's latest management news: The Fish and Wildlife Commission is conducting a controlled burn of cattails along the east sides of Big Island and Bumblebee Island as weather permits. For the latest updated burn map go to the Istokpoga.info web page. I have added indicators and comment boxes that identify the treatment areas and locations that have been omitted due to the presence of the federally protected Snail Kite birds.

The FWC waives the need for a license for both residents and non-residents on April 5-6 - next Saturday and Sunday. Bag limits still apply but all people are exempt for two days from needing a license to go fishing statewide. So take a new potential angler out fishing next weekend and get that person hooked on fishing in the fishing capitol of the world.

To close-out the "snowbird season," I will be offering half day bass fishing trips for one or two people for $135.00, which includes my equipment and artificial baits. I will be choosing a different boat ramp each day and fishing close to that boat ramp as part of an Istokpoga experiment to demonstrate how many areas of the lake hold large numbers of bass. In some cases if extensive boat travel is needed to succeed, a gas fee of $25.00 will be added.

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