The Freshwater Fishing Forecast for the second week of January gives anglers the new moon week, which starts today, and a typical winter weather forecast. The new moon occurs Wednesday, however the moon moves furthest out of the solar energy path to earth on Monday. And even though the moon arrived at its orbit perigee yesterday, the fact that it will have little interference rate with solar energy, means this month’s new moon will be fairly weak on causing fish adjustment activity.

When the moon’s interference rate with solar energy is low, the change in weather factors is also low and thus the concentrations and rate of feeding fish, are low. Such is the case this week.

The weather forecast predicts ideal wind speeds until Friday, however wind direction will change almost daily, which is typical during a winter weather pattern. A cold front entered the state yesterday and another cold front is predicted for Wednesday. When cold fronts arrive every three days, fish feed every four to five days at above-average rates and almost always during the warmest water temperature period of that five-day weather pattern.

Bass are currently in full spawning mode. Water temperatures in the 50-degree range trigger the spawn. Moon phase has absolutely nothing to do with it. And spawning bass 10 pounds or larger produce fry which ‘never contribute’ to the population due to genetic deterioration, thus they are nothing but ‘fish food.’ Spawning bass between 4 to the 9-pound range are the contributors to the population — two to three out of five thousand fry survive the first year of life.

The Florida Largemouth female bass will drop her eggs two to three times during her annual spawning effort. The more consistent the winter weather pattern is, the more successful the spawning results will be for a fishery.

A spawning fish needs healthy vegetation, due to the protection it provides to the fry immediately after they hatch. Fry have a 0.02% survival rate at best. And the greatest threat to those few fry which are successfully hiding is when vegetation in that spawning area is treated with herbicides during the spawning season. For an optimum bass spawn to occur — a natural spawn — all weed treatment activity should be suspended during the months of January and February. Especially when typical winter weather conditions are occurring — water temperatures in the mid-to-upper fifty degree range.

Best Fishing Days: Tuesday will be a pre-front day with a perfect west wind, and even though Wednesday is the day of the new moon a front and mild north wind will slow down action but Thursday and Friday afternoons could be slightly better. Bottom line, a minor cold front on the day of the new moon might or might not, negatively affect fish feeding activity. There’s only one way to know for sure. I certainly can’t know from my office desk four days before hand.

To truly know when fish are feeding at above-average rates during the winter weather pattern, fish every day until you experience above-average results, (a warmer than average day) then know that fish will feed like that again about 3-5 days later depending on the current warm-cold rollercoaster weather pattern.

The Major Fishing Period: The overhead moon occurs at 10:07 a.m. today and solar noon at 12:34 p.m. producing a feed rating of 3-4 from 10a.m.–1:30 p.m. Daily this period moves later by one hour and will increase in rating to a 5-6 rating by Tuesday and hold at that rating until Thursday. Note: I expect the rating to be best during the hottest period of the day since the new moon is weak this month.

The Minor Fishing Period: The moonset occurs today at 3:27 p.m. and the sunset at 5:49 p.m. producing a feed rating almost equal to the major period — a 3-rating. Again, fish are feeding during the warmest water temperature period of the day so the rating could very well be a 4-rating or better. I expect some concentrated feeding action from 3:30-6 p.m. Daily this period moves later by an hour.

Prime Monthly Periods: Jan. 10-16, new moon; Jan. 25-31, full moon; Feb. 8-14, new moon; Feb. 24-March 2, strong full moon; March 10-16, new moon; March 25-31, strong full moon; April 9-15, new moon; April 24-30, super full moon; May 8-14, new moon; May 23-29, super full moon.

Highlands Bass Angler Bass Guide Specials: I have added a “Sign-in/Register” option on the website. I invite you to register, which will provide you access to extra bass fishing content when you ‘sign-in’. I’ll publish ‘extra’ information when fishing factors changed from what this article predicted Sunday and Wednesday. We all know the weather is not always predictable three days or more in advance.

A 4-6 hour bass charter trip for $300 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 & Info: The lake level is at 39.47 feet above sea level today. The S68 spillway status as of yesterday morning: Two of four gates are open 3 inches and flowing a combined total of 230 cubic feet per second. The current seasonal maximum level is 39.50 feet and the low level 38.50 feet. Click on the South Florida Water Management and Army Corp of Engineer links for real-time lake level data and information.

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.

HighlandsBassAngler.com offers bass fishing guide-trip options, 72 lake-contour maps and additional map resources, plus fishing philosophy, bass photos and more. Personalized custom fishing-package options for the leisure fishermen and serious and or professional anglers are available upon request.

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and has experienced 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.