There’s more to fishing than the sun and moon | SierraSun.com

There’s more to fishing than the sun and moon

Bruce Ajari
Gone Fishin'

Fishermen are always looking for an edge. How many of you have those calendars that indicate by the shape of a fish when the fishing will be good? The fish is fully or partially shaded indicating how good the fishing is supposed to be on that day.

The basis for these calendars is the phases of the sun and moon and it’s expected relationship with peak periods of fish and wildlife activity. Solunar tables predict the time each day when hunting and fishing should be at its peak.

The name itself comes from sol, which is the sun, and lunar, which is the moon.

Those who strongly believe in these charts say that the moon probably has more of an influence than the sun does.

The tables were based upon some scientific studies that determined the moon triggered feeding patterns in things such as oysters. When the moon was directly above or below them and they were removed from the influence of tides, they opened their shells to feed.

Another scientist studied record catches of fish and determined that 90 percent of the catches occurred during the peak periods of the solunar tables.

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Is this definitive?

Anglers should treat these tables as a tool. Placing 100 percent reliance in them would seem foolish. Let’s face it, going fishing is not always about catching a lot of fish. Half the enjoyment is just getting out to that favorite spot of yours, with or without friends, just to relax and enjoy the day!

I used to look at my calendar and would write down my successes and failures to see how they would correspond to the solunar tables. What I found was that they did not seem to have a real pattern based on my successes or failures.

Maybe these tables work better for ocean fish than they do for freshwater fish. I cannot say that using the tables will make you a more successful angler, but they are just another tool that is out there for you to use.

Take this past weekend for example.

A group of my friends went out on Friday afternoon to fish Pyramid Lake, and reported having the most activity around 4-5:30 p.m. The calendar from the Fish Sniffer magazine, based on the solunar tables, indicates that this is not one of the better fishing periods for the month. The actual peak periods off another solunar table indicate that the best fishing period on Jan. 19 was between 11:19 a.m. and 1:19 p.m. The group had a very good day for Pyramid during the 4-5:30 p.m. time frame, hooking six fish.

Our group went out the following day, which, by the calendar, was not a good day. The peak period indicated by the tables was 12:16-2:16 p.m. The fishing was very slow with only three confirmed bites. Two of the fish were lost and the other landed. I managed to hook the first fish around 2 p.m., the second fish was hooked around 3 p.m. and the last fish hit around 4:40 p.m.

The data from our trip suggests that there is more to fishing than just the moon phases. There are many variables when it comes to fishing.

The tables and calendars are available so see how your results stack up. Use them as a tool to plan a trip, but do not make it the final determining factor of whether you go fishing or not.

Remember, getting out to go fishing is always fun, whether you catch fish or not!

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.