Local Sports

Sunrise and sunset fishing improves this week

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the second week of April includes a weather forecast that will have fish on the move daily and a lunar phase which favors the early morning and late evening anglers.

A high pressure system occurs today and Monday, which also has the first quarter moon phase, and then the lunar orbit apogee occurs on Tuesday when a low pressure system produces a 70 percent chance of rain and temperatures drop into the middle 70s for a high. The second half of the week the weather returns to consistent good fishing weather.

The first quarter moon phase will produce a moon overhead during the sunset and the moon underfoot during the sunrise. The moonrise period happens in the early afternoons and sets after midnight. All four of these daily periods will have increased fish adjustment and movements and a late morning, early afternoon increase in atmospheric pressure will also help the moonrise affect on fish adjustments along migration routes - except for Tuesday when the low pressure dominates the weather and produces rainfall.

The major feeding migrations of the day occur during the 5:30-10:30 hours of the day for the first half of this week. The second half of the week this feed period moves later from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Peak periods should occur within the first hour and last for 90 minutes, reaching a five or six rating.

The minor fishing migrations of the day occur during the moon overhead and under-foot periods - 45 minutes before and after. A peak period of an hour should build to a five rating between noon and 2 p.m. today and move later into the day by 50 minutes per day.

Lake Istokpoga's latest management news: The Florida 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 www.Istokpoga.info webpage.

Since we are in the month of April, the South Florida Water Management District will start to gradually lower Lake Istokpoga in compliance with the water management annual plan to drop the lake's high-pool maximum from 39.5 feet above sea level to 38.25 feet above sea level by June 1 - hurricane season.

In case of severe rainfall events, SFWMD can lower the lake to 37.5 feet above sea level for the months of May through July. Last summer Istokpoga never dropped below 38 feet above sea level, and was allowed several times to rise to three inches above the maximum pool on all four major rain events, albeit just for a few days.

The current level of Lake Istokpoga is at 39.25 feet above sea level and has three gates open at just a little more than two inches and flowing 350 cubic feet per second. This gradual release of water will cause some fish to migrate southward throughout the lake, as well as cause fish to move consistently to the deeper sections of the lake more often.

The FWC waives the need for a fishing license for both residents and non-residents today. Yesterday was also a free fishing day.

To cap the "snowbird season," I will be offering half-day bass fishing trips for one or two people for $135. The fee includes the use of 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 a large number of bass. In some cases if extensive boat travel is needed to succeed, a gas fee of $25 will be added.

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