I have always believed that the sun and the moon movements affect fish and wildlife activity. Looking on the internet you will find numerous products offered that will show you the best fishing times for any given day. Some of these seem pretty generic and often don’t seem to truly coincide with real time results. A long time fishing guide and pro fisherman, Joe Bucher has recorded stats and activity for many years. He has studied the information offered in many of these products.
He often pondered the validity of factors such as full moon, dark moon, and major and minor activity periods. He wondered if any of this data really could be validated and also wondered if the solunar theory is a valid tool to determine the best day and time to go fishing.
In 1976, when Joe decided to become a full time fishing guide, he began documenting daily fishing catches and solunar chart predictions. He was then able to use his data from catches that included hundreds of muskies, and thousands of bass and walleyes on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. He cross referenced his data to the predicted activity levels from some of these solunar tables and learned more about determining the best time to go fishing.
One conclusion immediately came to mind. His analysis convinced him that some of the traditional solar, lunar criteria proved all too often to have no validity. He came to the conclusion that most of the solunar tables published offered no real consistent correlation to fishing success and at that point he decided to put these theories on the back burner.
Over time he just could not continue to ignore this popular theory. Why do you suppose it kept nagging at him? It was because he actually discovered that there was in fact a certain solar and lunar effect on fish activity. His discovery worked so well that it was hard to believe at first. His daily fishing logs had surely disputed the commonly accepted predictions, but they just as surely pointed to indisputable evidence that here did exist solar and lunar factors that were worthy of closer attention.
He gained a new respect regarding the solar and lunar theories being offered. He confesses that he went from totally disbelieving to being totally convinced. In fact, He now will tell you that he can predict the most probable daily, monthly and even yearly times when the biggest fish are most likely to be caught. He discovered that his own predictions about the best time to go fishing were correct almost every single time!
He had concluded that the true secret to determining actual daily solar, lunar influences was nothing more than observing when the sun and moon rose and set on a 24 hour basis. The answer to using this data could be best utilized by determining to the minute, when the sun came up and went down, and when the moon came up and went down each and every day. His 21 year old fishing log revealed without question that fish were active during a 90 minute window surrounding each one of these four daily influences.
Unfortunately many of the current publications do not make their predictions based on these four vital factors sun rise, sun set, moon rise and moon set.
It is certainly no secret that feeding movements of both fish and game is accelerated during dawn and dusk. This correlates with sun rise and sun set. Moon rise and set is a bit trickier to key in on though since they can often occur at mid-day or mid night.
Another fact that his logs identified was the predictable frequency of big fish catches during the peak moon phases of full and new moon. Many more big muskies, walleyes, and bass were taken right on the scheduled calendar day of both the full or new (dark) moon peak, and continued for a three to five day period afterward. This would indicate that if the full moon peak is on June 10th, June 10 through 15 have great potential for trophies.
He came to the conclusion that you should plan your fishing trips to fall during the peak of the full or new moon. Then you want to be on your favourite big fish spots during the daily rise and set of both the sun and the moon.
He also discovered that you should consider one other factor. That would be the influence caused by the local weather changes. Whenever a major weather change occurs during the daily rise or set of either the sun or the moon and during a peak monthly moon period, he expects to catch big fish. Given a severe summer thunderstorm right at sunset, and just before moon rise during the new moon period and he is comfortable in claiming that he will catch some of the biggest muskies or the biggest catch of lunker walleyes.
His ultimate conclusion is now that the rise and set of both the sun and moon has far more impact than any other daily sun or moon position. That is without exception the single most important daily triggering factor of both fish and game. Monthly peaks in both the full and new moon are a secondary factor definitely worth considering.
When fish of all sizes are feeding infrequently due to a prolonged streak of bad local weather conditions, that small window of three to four days right after the actual moon peaks, full or new, may be the only time that the largest fish of any species is truly vulnerable. Fishing during the daily rise or set of the sun and moon during these key monthly moon phases should be your priority when arranging your fishing schedule.