The Freshwater Fishing Forecast for the second week of February gives anglers the arrival of the first quarter moon phase on Tuesday and a minor cold front Tuesday night and Wednesday. The good news is, weather factors will not be serious enough to negatively affect the current feeding pattern of the past two weeks.

All fishing factors considered, anglers will see greater-than-average ‘fish adjustment activity’ as the winds change daily due to southern winds dominating winter weather from the north—a weak northern wind prevails for eighteen hours Wednesday and a southeastern wind on Thursday.

Significant rainfall is forecast late Tuesday and perhaps we might see rain Monday evening. A thirteen miles per hour easterly wind occurs today with ideal wind speeds the rest of the week.

Best Fishing Days: Of the next four days today through Tuesday offer the best fishing factors. And there will be a pre-front feeding migration sometime during Monday evening and Tuesday midday, all depends on the arrival of the front which will drop temperatures fifteen degrees on Wednesday—from a high on Tuesday of 85 degree to a high of 70 degrees midday Wednesday.

Major Fishing Period: The moon is overhead today at 4:28 p.m. and the sunset at 5:32 p.m. and will create a feed intensity rating of 4 today and a 5-rating Monday and Tuesday, all three days during the hours of 4-6:30 p.m. Daily this period moves later by about a half hour.

Minor Fishing Period: The moon-rise occurs at 10:02 a.m. today and solar noon at 12:40 p.m. and will create a feed intensity rating of 3-4 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday the rating will increase slightly as the lunar and solar periods merge during the midweek (daily the moon-rise occurs later by 30 minutes). A rating of 4-5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will occur.

Prime Monthly Periods: February 16-21 super full moon, March 3-7 new moon, and 18-23 full moon, April 2-8 new moon, and16-21 full moon.

Istokpoga Weed Management News: The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has suspended all weed herbicide spraying activity statewide due to ‘angler protests’ of the new weed spraying policy consisting of weekly-daily small-spot treatments instead of mass 1000-plus acre block treatments, two or three times annually on all lakes like Istokpoga.

Attention: FWC Public Meeting on Weed Treatment Policy, Feb. 13 at 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Bert J. Harris Agri-Civic Center at 4509 George Blvd on route 27S in South Sebring.

The reason FWC claims justification for this change in past weed treatment policy is, “significantly less herbicide will be required to manage invasive weeds such as water lettuce and Hyacinth and thus less money and chemical will go into the lake annually to accomplish invasive weed management.”

This new weed treatment policy has now been used for over two years. The FWC claim is; that bass and other freshwater fish do not become negatively affected by these chemicals, and bass are not aware of the herbicide being present. And floating plants never become a hazard for boaters and seasonal flood controls.

However any bass biologist will tell you that bass rely on cover to survive—“cover” meaning plants. What FWC doesn’t tell you is the ‘small spot spraying’ has a greater ‘collateral damage factor’, meaning native submerged grasses die along with the invasive plants. This occurs because far too much chemical ends up being sprayed onto a 24 inch block of floating invasive plant which is inside native plant areas.

And since the invasive target plants are always within the main migration route areas the fish naturally use, the health of the essential plants used, become unusable---plants die, decompose, create a layer of muck and use dissolved oxygen in decomposition.

Fact is, invasive plants are brought to the areas all fish use naturally, transferred by anglers’ boats from one natural fishing hole to the next one. When boats come off plain and idle into a fishing hole the weeds fall off props and begin to grow.

And contrary to many angler’s belief and some FWC biologist, fish can’t reason and simply move 100 yards left or right to unsprayed, untreated vegetation areas without invasive plants. Instead they travel back through the route they always travel toward deeper water, and never ‘think’, “I guess I’ll have to search diligently for better cover plants elsewhere”.

“Fish are one dimensional thinkers at best, and they don’t have the ability to reason beyond the hostile environment of eating one another or anything they can fit in their mouths in order to survive.”

Consider this; during the bass spawn 5-12,000 eggs are fertilized per adult pair during the season’s reproductive effort. Of that number 2-3 fry might survive one year, (“2-3 is not a typo). Survival is completely dependent on ‘submerged grass-cover not being removed, altered, or ‘killed off’ by chemicals.

The new FWC small-spot weed treatment policy significantly disrupts the spawning season of all fish. The fish populations will suffer greatly due to constant interruption when weeds die due to consistent constant weekly spraying of weeds both invasive and native within the areas fish naturally inhabit.

Large block treatments are preferred by all anglers to control invasive weeds, simply because fish have greater periods of uninterrupted seasonal migrations, and a spawning effort which has the greatest protection possible. A bass reproductive effort has a natural 99.98% failure rate in a fish-eat-fish world without weed management factored in.

Is it true that herbicides don’t have a negative affect and don’t therefore further ‘increase that failure rate to 100%? Are Istokpoga’s bass in an artificial-unnatural migration pattern influenced by the damage of herbicide treatments? Do gators have an advantage over bass now that they are stressed by having significantly less cover to survive?

Attend this Wednesday’s meeting at the Bert J. Harris Agri-Civic Center at 4509 George Blvd off of R27S in South Sebring to have the FWC reps provide their reasoning.

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

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and teacher on twenty-five lakes, from the towns Kissimmee to Clewiston. Visit HighlandsBassAngler.com for complete details. Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: DavidPDouglass@hotmail.com.

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