The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the last two days of March and the beginning of April will give anglers warm southern winds and the last-quarter moon phase. All fishing factors considered, the morning anglers will enjoy the best fishing of the day.
The weather forecast for the next six days will remind us of our typical rainy season weather pattern with rain clouds forming overhead sporadically due to warm moist southern winds mixing with warm moist gulf air over the Heartland. So rain-gear is a must for afternoon anglers until next week.
Wind speeds will be slightly above ideal speeds of 6 to 10 miles-per-hour with an average of 12 to 16 miles-per-hour out of the east and southeastern directions today and Thursday, with a southwest wind predicted for Friday; all fishable wind speeds albeit challenging for larger lakes on the windy side. Using the leeward lake-side boat ramps does take a lot of the work out of the experience however.
This weekend a minor low pressure cold front arrives Saturday and will drop temperatures 12 degrees and produce rain late Saturday lasting through midday on Monday. When the winds switch out of the north from the southwest the majority of rainfall will occur, which is forecast for Sunday.
The moon will arrive at the last-quarter phase on Thursday which will put the moon overhead period in harmony with the sunrise period for the next four days. Early morning anglers should enjoy some of the best fishing so far this year as all fishing factors are ideal for producing large fish feeding migrations.
The morning angler will have water temps that are absolutely perfect right now and will be until the middle of June when the degrees average above the 83-range. Manageable winds with atmospheric pressure moving upward and positive ion levels will be climbing to the highest point of the day with the overhead moon causing the surge.
As far as the best days to fish of the next five days, I select Thursday due to the predicted ‘atmospheric pressure change amount’ being the highest. This will continue into Friday as well. Depending on the timing of the front, Saturday morning ‘could’ be excellent as well.
Next week will be the best fishing week of the month of April. The new moon in orbit perigee will occur on Thursday and the weather forecast calls for (I hope the National Weather Service is correct) ideal weather to accompany the super new moon event.
Best Fishing Times: The major fishing period occurs today from 6-9:30 a.m. when the moon is overhead at 6:38 a.m. and the sunrise occurs at 7:18 a.m. A feed intensity rating of 6 to 7 will occur today through Saturday at this time. Daily this period moves later by 50 minutes.
The minor fishing period occurs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the moonset occurs at 12:08 p.m. and solar noon at 1:30 p.m. A rating of 4 to 5 is likely today but I expect this rating to increase Thursday and Friday as the moonset occurs closer to solar noon.
Looking ahead to the next prime monthly periods, April 4 to 12, April 19 to 26 and May 3 to 9 and May 18 to 24.
Istokpoga.info News: The lake level is at 39.35 feet above sea level, which is 2 inches below the maximum level allowed in the annual management schedule for November through March 31. Three of four S68 spillway gates are open at three inches and flowing 355 cubic feet per second, as of 4 a.m. Tuesday.
Starting April 1, South Florida Water Management District will begin the spring lake level lowering schedule to prepare for the rainy season. The high pool mark will drop six inches during April and six inches during May and three inches during the first two week of June to settle at the rainy season high of 38.25 feet above sea level.
The low pool mark which is used in case of significant rain events (calculated with the fact the lake can fill six times faster than it can be lowered using the spillway gates opened to 6 feet) will likewise drop monthly by the same increments and timing as the high pool mark. By June 15, 37.5 feet above sea level will be the new low pool mark.
On the subject of whether or not to change the water management schedule to the opposite of what it is now — opposite is the annual high pool during the rainy season and the low pool during the fall and winter dry seasons — it would only mean that during the case of summer rain events that SFWMD would have to gamble at greater odds as to when to open the gates and how much water to release to Okeechobee.
I’m betting the amount of problems that would arise from such a management change would be far greater for Istokpoga and Okeechobee communities than anyone realizes fully right now. It seems to me, ‘water in verses water out’ is the single reason what we have now for a management schedule is the best possible solution for all problems caused by residential existence and planned further expansion.
“A ‘Conservationist’ is born right after he builds his home on a lake front property and says, “We have to now stop building in order to keep the lake’s natural setting.”
Taller, bigger dike systems and greater flood control structures is the only way to reverse the current management schedule. The first time the SFWMD gets the ‘guessing part’ of their new management schedule water releases wrong during a hurricane or tropical storm weather pattern, the new schedule will end. By the way SFWMD gets their job right at an incredible success rate right now, why make it much tougher?
Now from a fish’s perspective the opposite water management plan from what we have now is exactly what they want, our finny friends love the deepest depths possible during the summer months in Istokpoga and Okeechobee.
HighlandsBassAngler.com has bass fishing guide charter-trip specials, fishing help tools, 72 lake-contour maps, and my ‘fishing philosophy,’ along with plenty of big-bass pictures, all to inspire you to greater angling success. Personalized fishing lesson-trips are available, specialized to suit your fishing goals and aspirations.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and teacher on 25 lakes from towns of Kissimmee to Clewiston.
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