Solunar Forecasting - Real stuff or crystal ball voodoo

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iliketofish's picture
Solunar Forecasting - Real stuff or crystal ball voodoo

I've had some pretty good success roughly following solunar charts in the past a few species. Enough so that it's always something that I'm at least aware of when I go fishing as far as what the moon is doing. But I've never really known if my success was percieved or a real thing, or if maybe I was just fishing more confidently because the moon said I would catch more, or even simply going fishing more around full/new moons because I had reason to suspect it would be good. I hadn't really done any direct testing...

Here's the one I use: It lets you input your zip code so it's supposedly location specific.


So anyway, this past holiday weekend provided a unique oportunity to do a little testing on the theory. I went out to one of my go-to perch spots on both Friday and Monday.

Friday was the day after the new moon, and the solunar chart gave it four stars and called the day "Best++". Basically about as good as it gets on that calendar.

Monday (four days after the new moon) on the other hand was rated one star and merely labeled "Average". Basically as bad as it gets.


I drilled my holes in the exact same spot as near as I could tell on both days, used the exact same jigs and bait, and fished the same time of day. The only difference I could think of was that the barametric pressure was a little higher on Monday, but it was still partly cloudy.


So for the results:

Friday was just stupid fishing (see pics). I filled my bucket and brought home about 80 perch (no limit, recent illegal perch introduction into this particular lake so anglers encouraged to harvest, plus they're perch so they can handle/need some harvest anyway) and that was after letting the little ones go. It took longer to drop my jigs the 45 feet to the bottom than it did to get a bite, reel the next one in and unhook it. For several hours.

Monday on the other hand, was quite slow. I ended up with about a dozen perch landed. I still saw a decent number of fish on the Marcum, though not as many as Friday, but I had a lot of lookers and not many biters. And yes I'm confident that I wasn't just missing light bites. I use good spring bobbers for that very reason. Just wasn't very good fishing.


So for the results, besides a sore back from standing there filleting my perch pile for several hours, I do think I found evidence that the lunar phase chart is a useful tool, at least for perch anyway, but I'm sure it affects other species as well.

I have few enough oportunities to get out that I'll still take what I can get, but if given the option to choose, I'll definitely fish on a good forecasted day over a poor one every time.

Any of you guys/gals have similar experiences? I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.


Susquehannock's picture
Solunar forecasting

I fished most days in June a couple of years ago, in the same place with the same lures at about the same time of day, and "graded" the productivity of the fishing on a scale of one through five after I quit fishing each time. At the end of the month, I compared my results with one of the calendars. And the results were... absolutely random. While the moon probably does affect fish in ways that we don't quite understand- and probably never will fully understand- I think that there are just too many valuables at play here to separate one from the others and bill it as something of absolutely paramount performance.

And anyway, fun as it is, I'd rather just go fishing when I want, which is to say as often as possible.


andy's picture
Moon phases and freshwater fish

The way that the moon and tides affect everything in the oceans is mind-boggling.  Most spawning activity is based around solunar cycles, from sea turtles to krill to blue whales.  I personally think that in Freshwater, far inland from the oceans and tidal influence, the moon still might regulate spawning of some fish populations.  I've heard about burbot, lake sturgeon and ciscos which wait until a specific moon phase to congregate on the spawning grounds.  In fact, any fish which gathers in large groups to spawn might take their cue from the moon.  This might tip an angler off as to when to plan a trip after anadromous burbot to better his chances of encountering large females, for example.


As far as general affect of the moon on fish feeding activity, I can't say I have seen it proven.  I've read some books by musky guides and great lakes trollers who swear that the moon influences predatory feeding.  Your perch experiment is a good example pointing to the importance of timing angling effort to the optimal times.  Would it work as well next time?  It's definitely worth trying out.  But I'm with you guys, with my time on the water limited I just go whenever I can.


Good topic!



J Dunfee
J Dunfee's picture
I try to always be mindful,

I try to always be mindful, act accordingly, and keep the results in mind. Not that it'll keep me from going. Or I'll know what's happening on an impromptu trip after not getting out for awhile. But I've been sold on it since long ago. It's always going to kind of be crystal ball voodoo to me. But sometimes stuff like that is real. In this case, I don't think there's much of a reasonable argument against it. 

And those who argue against it probably haven't given it a good shot..

Mike B
Mike B's picture
Interesting topic but

Interesting topic but likewise have not seen any evidence that the lunar cycle effects fishing where I am. I went to the same location twice last month, both Sundays, Feb. 11 and Feb. 25. The first Sunday -- waning moon of 17 per cent -- produced pretty decent fishing. Caught several pike, including one 41 incher, a walleye and a lake whitefish. It was bitterly cold and most of my fishing was out of one hole inside a tent. 

Last Sunday, a waxing gibbous moon, absolutely terrible. A fairly sunny day with mild temperatures, I drilled about 40 holes and runned and gunned all over lake. I caught one tiny pike of about 100 grams, I walked the dog on my Marcum all day but nothing wanted to bite. 

Both days were supposed to be crummy according to the solunar calendar but clearly there were many other factors at play. They were hungry the first weekend but not the last.

Here's the 41 incher from Feb. 11



mike b

philaroman's picture
to me, the Moon matters

to me, the Moon matters anywhere near S/W due to the tides

the cycle is just another factor that effects tidal influence


well away from tidal waters, I'm more concerned w/ the barometer

not that I look at it -- my joints tell me both:

least comfortable time to fish & greatest likelihood of a skunk

one small benefit of Lyme -- every silver lining has a big F'in cloud

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

iliketofish's picture
Thanks for the input fellas

Well if nothing else, this thread lead us to seeing a MikeB pike and those are always worth seeing! Would love to pull one of those out of a hole some day!

Yep I'm definitely in the "Fish when the opportunity arises" category too either way. And I agree that the barometer is a huge one to watch too.

I don't put much stock in the mediocre lunar forecast days as those can be hit or miss for me. The notable ones for me are the forecasted really good days and really bad days. All things being equal though is the important thing. I certainly don't think the lunar chart is the only variable at play. A "good" day with bad weather conditions will probably still be a bad day etc...

Just something I think about. It's interesting to hear your guys' thoughts on it. Interesting that it's sort of a mixed bag of oppinions too. So thanks for the input guys!  More testing is needed... Guess I'll have to go fishing again!

Moose439's picture
I think it makes a difference

I think it makes a difference but it doesn't guarentee success or fauilure by any means. I'm a total bum and spend weeks and sometimes months at a time on the water and have definitly noticed certain bites at certain times of year heating up as the moon waxes. That being said I've also been skunked on my intended target under seemly perfect conditions (lunar and otherwise) more times than I care to remember. My brother who is an avid Whitetail Deer and Black Bear hunter is adamant if not fanatic about the validity of moon phases and after seeing him prove this theory time and time again I'm not able to completely write it off as meritless mysticism.