The Freshwater Fishing Forecast for the second half of the third week of July gives anglers a strong new moon and the typical rainy season weather forecast. All fishing factors considered, anglers will enjoy above-average fishing the next three days.

The new moon occurs on Thursday and the moon arrives closest to earth on Friday (lunar perigee) 26 hours and 44 minutes later, which makes it a strong new moon but not quite ‘super’ status — October and November will both have super new moon phases.

It should be noted that water temperatures this month will keep fish deeper, and away from shoreline shallows as fish remain in cooler oxygenated depths during a strong new moon phase. However water temperatures will decline enough, that during the next two month’s super new moon phases, fish will be feeding in the shoreline traditional feeding areas.

The rainy season weather forecast delivers an ideal fishing wind from a southerly direction today through Friday — speeds of 8 to 12 mph, with Thursday producing the upper end of the variable. Saturday an ideal west fishing wind will occur followed by an ideal north fishing wind on Sunday.

Starting next week a cold front, driven by a strong north wind, will drop temperatures into the lower to mid-80-degree range for a daily high. Monday temperatures drop to 82 degrees with a strong north to northeasterly wind dominating until the second half of next week. The temperature change combined with bright sunny days and a wind pattern shift, will cause fish to move into shallow shoreline feeding areas.

Rainy seasons in Florida don’t produce much if any, atmospheric pressure changes. For pressure change to cause fish to adjust up or down, a pressure change greater than 0.10 In Hg must occur. Pressure change starts to become a fishing factor again as a fall season weather pattern develops. This usually occurs in late October and occasionally earlier in the month. Hopefully this year it will occur just prior to the super new moon.

Bass and all freshwater Florida fish species feed at their highest annual rates when water temperatures are in the 70- to 82-degree range within their feeding areas. Therefore, October through December (or when the first significant cold front occurs) and April through June (or when the temperatures climb to 85 degrees) freshwater fish put on most of their annual weight gain.

Best Fishing Days: Today through Friday the second half of a strong new moon phase will cause fish to feed at above average rates during the midday and evening periods. In deeper lakes the early morning feeding activity will be also better than average in open deeper water where oxygen rates are better at depths of 12 feet or more.

The Major Fishing Period: Today the moon is overhead at 12:50 p.m. and solar noon at 1:20 p.m. producing a feed rating of 8 from 10:30 a.m.– 2 p.m. Daily this period moves later by an hour and decreases in feed rating by a full number starting Friday. Sunday a feed rating of 3-4 will occur from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

The Minor Fishing Period: Today the moonset occurs at 7:22 p.m. and the sunset at 7:29 p.m. producing a feed rating of 6-7 from 6-8:30 p.m. Daily this period moves later by 40 minutes and the feed rating starts to decline Saturday by a full number daily. Note: This period will equal the major period this weekend and could very likely become the major period.

Prime Monthly Periods: Sept. 16-20, strong new moon; Sept. 28-Oct. 3, weak full moon; Oct. 13-19. super new moon; Oct. 28-Nov. 3, weak full moon; Nov. 12-18, super new moon; Nov. 27-Dec. 2, weak full moon; Dec. 11-16, strong new moon; Dec. 27-News Years Day, weak full moon.

Seasonal Safety Alerts: Lightning is a real threat during the rainy season. Anglers need a timed escape plan when fishing from boat or shoreline. Never take cover under a tree, but instead select a building or vehicle. In fact, you’re better off laying down flat in an open field than to select trees as cover. If you’re caught in your boat, lay as low as possible, keep the motors in the water to act as grounds.

Highlands Bass Angler Bass Guide Specials: A 4-6 hour bass charter trip for $250 for two anglers, all gear, artificial bait and tackle included. Or, if you need to learn a particular lake and discover where fish are, call for a ‘Custom Bass Fishing Classroom on the Lake’ quote. Call 863-381-8474 to plan and book your bass fishing experience today.

Istokpoga.info News: The lake level is at 38.50 feet above sea level today. Currently, the South Florida Water Mgmt. District’s (SFWMD) lake-level schedule is 38.65 feet for the high-level mark, and 38.25 feet for the low-level mark. The low lake level parameter will be gradually raised to 39 feet and the high level to 39.5 feet by Oct. 15.

The S68 Spillway Status: (Yesterday morning 4 a.m.) Three gates are open 18 inches, flowing a combined 1,270 cubic feet per second. Currently the lake is at the maximum level of 38.65 feet.

Lake Istokpoga information can be accessed at Istokpoga.info. Check SFWMD real-time S68 and S68X spillway gates status and the Army Corps of Engineers’ annual graphical plot schedule.

Access this article online at BassFishingForecast.com, or HighlandsBassAngler.com.

Fishing from Shorelines: Learn where fish feed along shorelines by consulting a lake contour map. There are 45 Highlands County lake maps published online at FloridaLakesMaps.com. Each map is edited to include boat ramp locations and have been enlarged for easy reading. You’ll discover that the majority of the lakes’ public boat ramps and docks are located within the better shoreline fishing areas.

HighlandsBassAngler.com offers bass fishing guide-trip options, 72 lake-contour maps and additional map resources, plus fishing philosophy, bass photos from customers and readers of this article. Personalized custom fishing package options for leisure fishermen to professional anglers are available upon request.

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and is an experienced instructor on 25 lakes, from the towns Kissimmee to Clewiston. Offers general bass fishing charters and specializes in tournament type bass fishing strategies on Istokpoga, Kissimmee Chain of lakes, Okeechobee, and several smaller lakes throughout Highlands and Polk counties. Visit HighlandsBassAngler.com for complete details. Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: DavidPDouglass@hotmail.com.