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Predicting fish activity

  • Blog Post by: Kevin Winkler
  • June 22, 2009 - 3:51 PM
  Can solunar table's really help you out on the water? I'm not so convinced with any one chart myself. I have used several of them, and I think you have to dig deeper into the facts and what the fish are reacting to when it comes to the charts, and the type of fish you are targeting in the first place. Fish that are most active under the darkness of night and that use their eyes more than other senses to feed might use the moon to help them. But what if it's a full moon but very cloudy, Does the chart still help you? What if the water is dirty or stained? I think that depends on where you are fishing. Inland lakes are not effected by a tide like coastal waters are. I think barometric pressure has more to do with fish activity than anything. I spent seven years fishing the Gulf of Mexico both on commercial fishing boats and charter boats. One of the first things I was taught about saltwater fishing was how the moon and tides dictate fish movement. How and where to fish the tide and how bait fish react to the tide and moon. The only way to catch bait offshore at night is when there is no moon. The bait will then come to the lights on the boat. Once the moon comes up, the bait scatters and spreads back out. What does all of this have to do with fishing in Minnesota you might be thinking. Well I have used my saltwater knowledge to try and help me here. I feel that bait fish and the predators that feed on the bait will use moon light to help them. Fish will be more active under the moon, but can you use a chart to help you catch more fish? I think that depends on where the chart was printed, or more so, where the data was printed for. If any of you are hunters, you know that the DNR uses a table in the regulations hand book to help you know exactly how to add or subtract time to predict sunrise and sun set. The same goes for the moon, Know when it will rise and when it will set. Know if it rises at 7:37a.m. or 7:37p.m. So if you are reading a fish activity chart that was printed for Ohio and you are fishing in Minnesota, well you just might be off a few hours on your chart.

  I think fisherman have to think more like predators themselves when it comes to light conditions. Now what if it is cloudy? Do the fish still know if there is a moon when it is cloudy?  I feel that fish on inland waters can feel the moon just like they can feel barometric pressure change, after all, it is called gravitational pull. Just like changing weather, or the rise and fall of the barometer, fish can and will be more active during key times of the pull.

   So depending on what type of fish you are after, all of the changes mother nature has to offer us do change the way fish react. I love fishing for walleye, and try to think like one when I try to figure out where and when they might like to feed looking at everything around me. If it's sunny out, I wear my sun glasses ~ Or go deeper where there is less light penetration if it is calm, or maybe to the shade in the weeds and lay low. When it's dark out, I need to turn on the lights to bait the hook, but if the moon is out, I might not have to, it depends if there are clouds too. I feel less predictable when it is dark, almost like I am scattered or stumbling around, maybe a little less consistent in my movements but predictable in my habits.

  Over all I think it is more important to keep a journal for yourself as to where and what you are fishing for. Be sure to write down all of the data, moon rise and set times, your peak fish catching times during the day or night. cloudy or clear, what was the barometric pressure? Do you even have a barometer with you? Give yourself a few years of data and I think you will start to rely on your own moon phase charts and weather patterns to catch more fish.

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