The Freshwater Fishing Forecast for the second half of the first week of July gives anglers the end of a weak full moon phase and the development of the last quarter moon phase which occurs Sunday. A rainy season weather forecast is predicted to occur this week driven by a consistent west to southwest wind reaching ideal fishing wind speeds by the midday hours.

As I have stated now for the past month, water temperatures have exceeded the maximum high of the ideal feeding temperature range of 70 to 85 degrees for a daily high. Due to the high temperatures, fish move into the deepest healthy vegetation to access the highest dissolved oxygen rates the lake can produce.

Shallow lakes lack adequate depths to maintain a five parts per million dissolved oxygen rate which freshwater fish require for proper digestion rates. Bass, for instance, will enter a stressed state and lose weight during the summer months. Bass in these lakes will feed when photosynthesis occurs on sunny days within healthy vegetation.

In deeper lakes fish and especially bass will feed in the deeper grass fields usually at depths of 8 to 18 feet, where water temperatures are in the ideal feeding range as stated previously.

It should be noted that fish kill events occur when the oxygen rates are lowest during the day, which is during the hours of 3-7 a.m. For this reason the early morning bite does not occur in shallow lakes ‘as much as it does in deeper lakes.’ It does occur, albeit you’ll have to work to find the location it occurs within — deepest healthy vegetation areas.

The moon currently does not have much of an effect on triggering fish feeding activity. And this weekend the moon arrives at its furthest orbit point from earth on Sunday as it enters the last quarter moon phase.

Therefore I predict that the sunset period will produce the best fishing factors; highest oxygen period of the day, a cooling of the surface temperature of the water column, and the harmonizing of the weak moon with the sunset. The only serious negative with this strategy is….lightning. Make an escape plan if you use this strategy.

Best Fishing Days: Friday during the mid-morning to early-afternoon hours, barometric pressure will climb at above-average norms for the rainy season which will force fish up into shoreline shallows for about 4-8 hours.

The Major Fishing Period: Today the moon is underfoot at 4:37 p.m. and the sunset at 8:24 p.m. producing a feed rating of 3-4 from 4-8 p.m. Daily this period moves later by 45 minutes and remains at a 3-rating.

The Minor Fishing Period: Today the moonset occurs at 9:47 a.m. and solar noon at 1:31 p.m. producing a feed rating of 2-3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Daily this period move later by one hour and remains at the same rating.

Prime Monthly Periods: July 17-23, new moon; August 1-5, full moon; August 16-21, new moon; August 30–September 4, weak full moon; September 14-20, strong new moon.

Seasonal Safety Alerts: Alligator mating season occurs from April through August. Males are very aggressive and will attack ‘anything’ which enters their area. Keep pets and children away from waterways. Stay alert.

We are in the season of “Lightning Strikes.” Lightning is a real threat. Anglers should have an escape plan when they fish 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 38.31 feet above sea level today. Currently, the South Florida Water Mgmt. District’s (SFWMD) schedule for the lake is, 38.25 feet for the high-level mark and 37.50 feet for the low-level mark. The low lake level parameter will be raised gradually starting July 1 and the high level parameter raised starting August 1.

The S68 Spillway Status: (Saturday 4 a.m.) Three gates are open one foot and flowing a combined 970 cubic feet per second. Currently the lake is one inch ‘above’ the maximum level of 38.25’.

Access Lake Istokpoga information at Istokpoga.info. SFWMD real-time S68 and S68X spillway gates status and the Army Corps of Engineers’ annual graphical plot schedule links keep you informed.

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 internet resources, and fishing philosophy and plenty of bass photos of 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.