Full Moon or Dark Moon? Major and minor solunar periods? Which is best? Does any of this moon mumbo jumbo make any real sense nor does it actually work? These are legitimate questions asked by thousands of anglers each year, and they deserve concrete answers backed up by some bonafide data. Yet as much as pro anglers endorse the effectiveness of moon charts and outdoor publications of every niche’ continue to print them, rarely does either source validate these solunar claims with data.
It’s not hard to find a solunar table of some kind. Nearly every fishing publication today publishes some kind of monthly solunar table, moon chart, activity calendar, action graph, or other similar version. All of these tables, charts, and calendars claim to predict daily feeding activity of fish with accordinance to moon and solar influences. Yet, so many other anglers, rarely find any consistent correlation with most of these references.
The real secret, to solar/lunar influences on a daily basis was nothing more than knowing when the sun and moon rose and set on a 24 hour basis. That’s right, it was simply a matter of knowing, to the minute, when the sun came up and went down, and when the moon came up and went down each and every day. Our fishing log revealed without question that more fish were active during a 90 minute window surrounding each one of these four daily influences.
Most of the solar/lunar charts, tables, and graphs you see depicted in today’s publications do NOT reveal nor coincide with these four vital factors:
- sun rise
- sun set
- moon rise
- moon set.
Yet it doesn’t take an astrologist to figure out how important the rise and set of both the sun and moon has to be.
It’s certainly no secret that feeding movements of both fish and game have been traditionally accepted as key during dawn and dusk — this correlates with sun rise and sun set. Moon rise and set is a bit more tricky to key in on though since they can often occur at mid-day or midnight. Overcast weather can also make it impossible to see a moon rise or set, and of course a dark/new moon is not visible to begin with. This information is readily available in several national weather publications.
The other “super secret” is the predictable frequency of big fish catches during the peak moon phases of full and moon. Specifically, a lot more big northern pike and walleye were taken right on the actual scheduled calendar day of both the full or new (dark) moon peak, and continued for a three to five day stretch afterwards. In other words, if the full moon peak is on July 2nd, July 2nd thru 7th have great potential for trophies.
Backing up a bit, the four daily factors previously discussed
- (the rise and set of both the sun and moon) inside each one of these predictable monthly moon peaks
- (four days on the back side of the full or new moon) further nails it down.
In other words, you want to plan your fishing trips to hit the peak of the full or new moon. Then you want to be fishing on your favorite big fish spots during the daily rise and set of both the sun and moon.
Finally, a third factor that really adds impact to this entire solunar secret is that unpredictable third influence is local weather. Whenever a local weather change coincides with the daily rise or set of either the sun or moon, during a peak monthly moon period, BIG things happen in bunches. BIG things meaning BIG FISH. For example, a severe summer T-storm right at sunset, and just before moon rise during the new moon period and it’s almost a sure bet that you could land a big pike or the year’s biggest catch of a lunker walleye. Or just as good – sit by a steep rocky shoreline with some spawning ciscoes right at the start of a storm in the just after sunrise and right before moon set during a full moon period. Big pike and big walleyes, will be snappin’.
Could there be a fourth factor? Absolutely. In fact, there might even be a 5th or 6th. However, an easy-to-detect 4th factor of influence that adds even more impact to an already good situation is a change in the photo period, or laymen’s terms — a change in season. Photo periodism is actually the measured ratio of daylight to darkness. The most drastic changes in the photo period occur in the spring and fall, but mini-differences are detected inside all seasons which are quickly detected thru their eyes and transmitted to their pituitary gland. The responses to these changes in the photoperiod trigger sexual responses such as reproduction and the development of eggs. This, in turn, also triggers increased movement and feeding binges by normally less active trophy fish.
The simple rise and set of both the sun and moon has far more impact than any other daily sun or moon position. That is, bar none, the single most important daily triggering factor of both fish and game.
Monthly peaks in both the full and new moon are a second 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 catchable. Fishing during the daily rise or set of the sun and moon during these key monthly moon phases is paramount.
Weather is also a legitimate third factor, and helps to elevate the impact of the daily rise and set of the sun or moon. It further elevates the entire realm of big fish possibilities when all three factors happen at relatively the same time. A changing weather pattern combined with a good monthly moon phase and rise or set of either sun or moon can activate some major movement from big fish. If all of these things happen during a good photoperiod, LOOK OUT! This is when the biggest fish of the year are generally caught. If you’re serious about taking such a fish, start really paying attention to the real scoop on moon phases. The simple rise and set of both the sun and moon has far more impact than any other daily sun or moon position. That is the single most important daily triggering factor of both fish and game.