CALL IT AN EARLY WEEKEND! Wow, you have to get “sick” today, but it’s more like spring fever than buck fever. With highs clipping 80, light winds and a new moon to back your play on the water, you better let the boss know you’re not coming in. We talk tips for late season fish in these amazing conditions as part of today’s Three Things.
(Featured Photo: Hot walleye bites are materializing across the region as fall feeding coincides with good weather over major moon phases. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Thu 10/19 – I think we skipped winter! Hi 80, Lo 40, Winds S@7.
Tomorrow: Fri 10/20 – Bottle & save for January. Hi 78, Lo 48, Winds S@10.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 8:08AM Sunset: 6:47PM
Moonrise: 7:45AM Moonset 7:14PM
Overhead: 1:33PM Underfoot: 1:11AM
Moon Phase: New at 2:12AM
EDGE HOUR. DOUBLE EDGE! 7:30-8:30AM & 6:15-7:15PM. Calm winds all day, warm temps, and a moon at the peak of its new phase will combine to give you two awesome stretches in today’s Double Edge Hours. Fishing in shorts & tees? In mid-October!? You betcha!
FALL FRENZY. It may not feel like it, but this is the end of the hard-core feeding season for many predator fish. Cold water slows things down, and extended warm-ups like what we’ve had the last four days spur crazy binges. Toss big lures and big baits to simulate what’s on the regular menu, or if you find fish feeding on young-of-the-year minnows, perch or other forage, match the hatch in terms of size. Know what the food is, adjust your presentation and your dinner stringer will be heavier.
FRONTAL FUNCTION. We know these conditions can’t last forever (see last winter), but we can time the bite by watching the weather. Use an hourly forecast model to pick up on frontal movements, and time your fishing efforts before and during the shifts. Typically this time of year, it takes a few days to recover, and it won’t be long until there isn’t a warm-up that follows.
FREE A FEW. Practice selective harvest this time of year, even though we’re still six months away from spawn. Let the big ones and the babies go, and save a few in the middle for the frying pan. A good spawning-size fish (ie: 5-9 pound walleye, 3.5-5 pound largemouth, 15-20 pound pike) removed now has the same impact as the one taken out in spring. Of course, if you catch the lunker of a lifetime, all fattened up on fall forage, we couldn’t fault you for wanting to preserve the memory, but make selective harvest part of your fall practice.