View Full Version : Full Moon Patterns

12-15-2005, 07:54 AM
Planning on going to Cherry Lake this Sat. I have looked at the lunar table and it says the peak activity period is between 12:30 & 2:30 pm.

I plan to target bows mainly, however I suspect there are still a few brownies left in the lake and will plan to pull some plugs and she if I get lucky.

Based on the full moon, has anyone observed a pattern of lure, depth or particalur type of structure that seems to be consistanly productive Or do you fish as usual?


12-15-2005, 08:20 AM
If you figure out how to catch a lot of fish right after the full moon, please tell me. ;D I fish as usual, I just don't seen to catch as usual. The bite in the AM is usually poor. There is often a little activity during that mid-day solunar (it's around noon the day of the full moon).

On the other hand, I've caught a few pretty large fish during the full moon period. So you never know.

12-15-2005, 09:09 AM
I personally think that lunar influence is at its strongest during periods of stable environmental conditions (weather, reservoir level, etc.) That said, I find the full moon to be tough fishing, generally.

Here's what we KNOW about full moons:
(1) Baitfish and macroplankton do not feed as close to the surface.
(2) Light level is higher at night (see #1 above)

This all translates into less availability of food. Impacts vary, I think it's a bit of "one half dozen, or the other". In general, I think feeding times are less defined, because you do not have a set period where baitfish and plankton are migrating the furthest distance from "safety" and are therefore vulnerable- this extended vulnerability preenting an opportunity for trout to feed efficiently. So, you should be able to focus in on other environmental factors to reliably find fish- especially by targeting the locations where trout are more likely to be comfortable vs. "where the food is" looking for feeding trout. You can get action, but it tends to be slow.

However, due to the lack of food, or more specifically, the lack of opportunities to feed efficiently, your offering, an offering that's not quite EXACTLY like what the fish usually eat, may be pretty darn acceptable to the fish. I think it depends on how well they have fed prior to the full moon. If the trout has fed well, then they aren't going to chase anything very hard- they will wait for the next great opportunity to feed. Conversely, if conditions messed with the normal feeding cycle leadingup to the full moon- a storm, the dreaded "partly cloudy" during AM & PM peak feeding times, murky water, etc.- then your bait may find a welcome home in a trout's jaw.

I think the period of time around the last quarter tends to provide the absolute best opportunities, from a "lunar cycle" standpoint (at least, in fresh waters free of tidal influence). First, you have the fact that when the nocturnal light levels drop substantially, trout food starts travelling longer distances to play it's role as a predator. Second, the period of time when there is "transitional", or crepuscular, light conditions in the AM is at it's longest. Trout can't adjust their iris, so they benefit from long, slow, dim periods of light. Around the last quarter, the moon is rising in the early AM, providing some light for feeding activity, and that grades into early morning (pray for clear skies, or solid overcast, tho'). Last, the trout are usually HUNGRY. They just went through a full moon period where their prey was not as available, or not available for efficient feeding. So, that's the BEST time, vis-avis the moon.

Right now, and for Cherry Lake (at 4500' elev?), I think the more sensitive issue is water temperature. Most lakes over 1500' have already "turned" and are still cooling at a pretty good clip. Metabolisms of the trout have slowed, and food availability, in general, is down. So... You want to find shallower, warmer water next to drop offs. If the fish are up top, on the flats, then you are in luck- they're feeding. If not, dangle something smelly (like a worm) over the edge... My $.02.

12-15-2005, 09:10 AM
Hey WishnIwasfishn...good luck let me know how you do. I wish I had some advice to give you....try the big rock formation down on the left side...man wish I was going. Fished PML recently?


12-15-2005, 09:41 AM
Thanks for the advise.

Sometimes I think I know the answer to my question, but alway enjoy others perspective.

I agree to with what was said, and suspect the forage base at Cherry is low, hence the winter hunger will over power the lunar effect. I'll post and let everyone know how I did.

BB, fishing at PML has been inconsistant over the last 60 days. My first trip out was right after they pulled the lake two 2-3 feet in early Oct and I went 2-4. The second was during a full moon phase 2-2. The third was encourging 6-10, but the 4th time out was disappointing 1-1 and right after a cold front past through. My main concern is the size of fish. I have not caught anything bigger than 18 inches since July. From jan - july I bet I had 20 fish over 18 with 4 fish over 5 pounds. I hope 2005 was not a fluke!

Tight Lines,


12-15-2005, 03:26 PM
i think top lining a big plug at night durning a full moon is a good idea, but cold. i used to get big bass that way. i've only done it once trout fishing on a lake for a few hrs, 1 fish.

12-15-2005, 03:55 PM
Thanks Wishin....good luck...hope you get a good one....maybe a big brown!
;D :D

12-15-2005, 04:38 PM
I almost try to not fish on any type of bright full/ 3/4 moon. Don't know the science behind it all but I rarely catch fish during these times. Unless I am itchn to go fishing I just stay home.

12-15-2005, 04:50 PM
Two young kids and a wife. Anytime I get on the water is time well spent. As I look back in my fishing log, I too have only limited success when the moon is bright, but I know for sure that I will never catch my 10 pounder sitting on the couch. So I will do my time and one day will have my wall hanger to show for it.

remember...Stop WishN and go FishN

Tight Lines.

12-15-2005, 09:04 PM
I was out fishing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Did not catch any trout, but the bass did not get affected by the full moon. I caught 4. Also in the full moon period of October, I caught 6 of them at night.
For those that have been fishing for trout at night, I must ask you to check the regulations for night fishing. I don't think it is permitted to fish for trout or salmon at night in most places.

12-16-2005, 08:17 AM
Joe Bucher has done quite a bit of research on the full moon and moon phases. www.solunar.com/Bucher.htm. Worth reading.

12-16-2005, 08:47 AM
Thanks Irish.

That is the article I read a few weeks back that encouraged me to go on this trip. Good stuff.

Hopefully it holds true for me on Sat. ;D

Tight Lines


12-16-2005, 10:59 AM
It is hard to tell the effects of a full moon on fish and water without a gauge. On a normal morning when I cut holes in the ice the water level will be about 2" below the ice surface. This morning, with the moon overhead, as the holes were cut the water came pouring out like an artesian well. A week ago we were averaging 5 trout an hour and in this moon phase we are averaging 2. Also, as the moon moves off into the horizon from overhead the ice drops and the cracking noises are incredible. 14" ice cracking up is a powerful experience, but it automatically jigs your poles as the water moves up and down in the holes.
MM 8) ;D 8)

12-16-2005, 01:57 PM
A thought on Big Sinus' short story ;) If the trout are not feeding because of lack of food, and say they are hungry, would a big plug be the best bet? Maybe like largemouth they sit and wait for a big easy meal?

I would think a hungry trout would be oppertunistic and snag a big bait when presented so it wouldn't have to use much energy to get a full belly. This coupled with a slow metabolism may increase times between feeding for trout at this time of year.

Say a good sized trout just ate some big prey, that trout may not need to eat again for 2-3 days(who knows for sure?) So the real trick is to find the hungry fish for that particular moment in time, which could mean every 2-3 days. Instead of when food is abundant and metabolism is faster the trout actively feed more often say twice a day and on much smaller prey with the occasional big prey. If this is true it would translate into maybe only being able to target 33% of the fish pool at a given time if a fish were to eat once every three days. Which is why we see drops in our catch rates.

So if that all holds true, which I don't know, then I would think a big plug would be the way to go.

I'm just thinking out loud, trying to see if my thought process is on track. I'm an accountant so things always need to add up, if they don't I go crazy til I find out why. Maybe someone could atleast tell me I'm right so I'll be able to sleep tonight ;D


12-16-2005, 02:02 PM
FD76, I think it is not so much the size of the plug as it is getting the bait close to the fish. *If the fish are not moving to feed, the location of the fish and the proximity of the bait to the fish, is going to determine the best results. You will still have to "match the hatch" with your plug size in order to trigger a response.
MM ;)

12-16-2005, 08:28 PM
Went out to Cascade Lake today with TahoeJeff. Cascade gets no pressure, its primarily private, and we managed to avoid the skunk with one nice bow. I think we had 3 bites total. We worked the bank, fished plugs, dodgers, flashers, spinners. Nothing worked. Water temp was down to 42F. Maybe night fishing is the way to go, except its illegal around here. Geeze, it just seemed like we were doing everything right, and barely anything in the boat. Tomorrow I am sleeping in, heading to Tahoe mid day and coming home around 3PM. Strange, but thats the best bite I get on Tahoe during the full moon.

12-17-2005, 07:25 PM
Have you walked over to Elenor from Cherry???

It has some nice fish in it!! 8)


12-18-2005, 06:28 PM
I would think a hungry trout would be oppertunistic and snag a big bait when presented so it wouldn't have to use much energy to get a full belly. This coupled with a slow metabolism may increase times between feeding for trout at this time of year.

Say a good sized trout just ate some big prey, that trout may not need to eat again for 2-3 days(who knows for sure?)

This reminds me of an article Mark Wiza wrote awhile back. He caught a big laker out of tahoe with a 12" ac plug which is surprising. Even more surprising is that Laker had a 18" rianbow in its stomach. You think it would be full with that!

12-18-2005, 09:12 PM
I've caught trout that were so full of minnows that they were spilling out of their mouths when I got them in the boat, yet they would hit a 21/2" spoon. I guess you could call that a real feeding frenzy. Maybe they are like some people, their brain just doesn't tell them when they are full. Go figure.

12-19-2005, 08:52 AM
Maybe they are like some people, their brain just doesn't tell them when they are full. Go figure.

Thats prodder willy syndrome. Not sure how to spell it but saw it on CSI. I wonder if trout really can get that?

12-19-2005, 09:51 AM
So how was Cherry .. did you go???

12-19-2005, 06:52 PM
"So the real trick is to find the hungry fish for that particular moment in time, which could mean every 2-3 days"

Every 2-3 days in warmer water... Assuming we are talking about big fish with big prey. Otherwise almost a daily cycle for small fish. Here's a good reason for big fish to prefer cooler water- they have more mass so a faster metobolism exposes them to more risk if they stay in warmer water- they have to feed more. I would guess that big fish in winter (water temps 38-42 degrees) "feed" every week, maybe.

Whatever triggers them to feed and not feed is most likely hormonal, assuming fish work like most animals, then just because they physically fill up doesn't mean they stop eating right then. Ever seen rugby players drink beer? Anyway... Also, abrupt light level changes are always bad, which is why I think the bite tends to be lame on partly cloudy days... Same probably holds true on partly cloudy full moon nights...