“I’ve been mooned!”
So, there I was, minding my own business, going about my daily guided trips on the Eagle River, and having a blast. The fishing was great, predictable, and steady. Then I was mooned…
Not sure how to explain it, but the day after our last full moon, the bottom fell out of the river. There was a futile hatch at best, and not one brown trout was brought to the net. Areas where we had been raking fish where inhabited only by crickets. I want to press charges. That was a big moon job.
I’ve bow hunted big game nearly all of my life, and I’m pretty confident that moon phase has a direct effect on deer and elk sized critters, but I was not totally sold on the moon effects on freshwater species of trout. Maybe, because I have to guide anyway, any day, I always just chalked it up to some other factor like water temps, barometric pressures, or clarity. Not so sure after this moon job…May be more to it than I realize.
When you look at the SolarLunar Tables, you’ll notice that peak activity is usually 45 minutes before and after sunrise/set and moonrise/set. That equates to about 3 hours of peak activity daily. Okay, I can buy that, but what the hell happened to go from solid fishing the day(s) before, to having to absolutely do hand to hand combat with the river? Not sure.
First off, the bug activity on the Eagle River flat out was non-existent. Combine that with haze/smoke filled skies from the fires in the northwest, a steady wind from the west, high barometric pressure, and the fish, especially the brown trout, suddenly turned vegetarian. The rainbows and cutts ate, but not like the previous two weeks or so.
Here’s what I think, and I have zero scientific fact to back this up, I think the fish are affected by the full moon, but I don’t understand nor exactly know what to do about it. I’m not so sure it wasn’t the incredible lack of baetis hatching, or the fact that the fish, especially the browns, fed all night. Might be a combination of several factors, and the moon job just exacerbated the whole enchilada.
I’m going to start paying more attention. By the way, second cast the next day, a 16” brown hammered a Chubby Chernobyl on the surface…..Go figure.
Fear No Water
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