Fishing Timetables
Inside the Outdoors, July 19
, 2013

I’ve always believed the adage that presentation is everything. It didn’t depend when one goes fishing, but rather, how one presents his bait.

Many years ago, a friend took me to Berlin, PA, to go fishing in one of the big streams there, and we fished all day long and did spectacular. We didn’t depend on charts, advice from bait dealers or people’s comments from the area. In the rain we stood there in the water and pulled in fish after fish. That was over 50 years ago. I don’t think lunar fishing charts were talked about much compared to the goings on of today. Now such websites or newspapers are publishing times according to the moon’s activity when fishing is the best and when one should stay home, essentially.

Website not only revealed the rising and the setting of the sun, but good activity. For instance, if one is planning to go fishing July 21, the sun will rise at 5:43 a.m., and set at 8:57 p.m.; the moon will rise at 7:52 p.m. and set at 4:31 a.m. Good fishing activity takes place at 3:31 a.m. to 5:31 a.m., and then in the evening, 6:52 p.m. to 8:52 p.m.

A corresponding website, gives only the best fishing times as between 10:22 p.m. to 12 22 a.m. and 10:52 a.m. to 12:52 p.m.

So as can be seen, the two don’t even come close. “How are these decisions concluded,” one may ask. According to the latter’s website, “Lake-Link’s Fishing Forecasts are based on solar and lunar influences that cycle during each day. The chart shows each hour of the day graphically. The hours with the higher rating have a greater combination of solar and lunar influence thus indicate the best times to fish.”

It goes on to state, “Lake-Link’s Fishing Forecasts are more accurate because they are the only charts that consider diurnal inequality to determine the best time to fish. Declination and diurnal inequality occur each month during the 28-day lunar cycle.”

I turned to to understand what is meant by those two terms. It stated, “The plane of the moon’s orbit is inclined only about 5 degrees to the plane of the earth’s orbit (the ecliptic) and thus the moon monthly revolution around the earth remains very close to the ecliptic. The ecliptic is inclined 23.5 degrees to the earth’s equator, north and south of which the sun moves each half-year to produce the seasons. In similar fashion, the moon, in making a revolution around the earth once each month, passes from a position of maximum angular distance north of the equator to a position of maximum angular distance south of the equator during each half month.”

Turning back to, the simplification of the definition of “Declination” is explained as such, “Declination is the advancing and declining of the moon each month to its highest and lowest point in the sky. The highest or the maximum lunar declination is often called ‘high moon.’ The moon’s orbit does not follow the earth’s equator. In fact, its orbit is tilted in two different planes causing it to advance to a latitude of 28.5 degrees above the equator and then in about two weeks it will retreat to a latitude of 28.5 degrees below it. This advancing and retreating between these two points is what is called lunar declination. When the moon is at its maximum declination, its influence is greater in North America than at other times.”

From this same website came this statement. “The moon charts are based upon a single factor: the moon’s transit times. This site did not post the transit times, but did. So for the Sunday, July 21, I posted the best times to fish, the transit times for the sun is 1:20 p.m., and the moon, 12:46 a.m.

One area angler told me his wife gave him a watch that displayed all the best times to fish each day. He told me he planned to stick to its figures. Another fisherman read in a newspaper when activity times were the best. He, too, told me, he was going to go by what was printed. I’m doing what I believe is the best. I am mentally noting times that fish will strike my lures more each outing and then proceed from there. But when it comes right down to it, a body of water, creek or lake, that is fished little as opposed to one that is fished a lot may be the determining factor just when or when not fish will hit.

If an angler prefers to use one of these charts and swears by the lunar tables, then let his conscience be his guide. It’s his sport of relaxation. Why take it away from him. On the other hand, if it’s a matter of just getting out, go for it. Make your visit to the great outdoors a memorable one!.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.