How do the moonphases effect catfish fishing?

How do the moonphases effect catfish fishing?

This is a ‘hot-button’ for many fisherman, and many a fight has started over this. There are as many different opinions on this as there are types of people who fish. Moon phases are reported on reports called Solunar Tables, and are posted in every fishing magazine, website, marina and lakeside facility in the world. They are based on the positional relationship between the moon and sun. These postions are important because they indicate how much gravatational influence each exerts on our planet, and has a direct effect on tides. Does this effect inland lakes as well? Some say yes, some say no, I say maybe, but very slight. There have been many studies on the Solunar Tables and thier actual effect on feshwater fishing, but they have all been inconclusive. The problem is that there is no way to control the conditions of the experiment, which is essential to the scientific method. In other words, are more fish caught during peak times on the Tables because the Tables are valid, or because fisherman read the Tables and went fishing in greater numbers at these times? Who knows? Here are some of the problems I have (as an educated scientist myself) with the hypothesis. Most advocates swear that them best catfishing time is 2-3 days before a full moon, and 2-3 days after. However, according to the actual realitites, the new moon phase should be the peak time, because both the sun and the moon are lined up and exerting the greatest combined gravitational force on the earth in one direction at this time. Tides are 20% higher during a new moon. So how do we reconcile what we are told with the observable data? We can’t! That is just one of the problems I have with it. There are many others. Fishermen will tell you that at full moon, fish are more active. Veterinarians will tell you that they see more animal injuries and attacks at the full moon. Nurses and doctors will tell you that Emergency Rooms are more filled with violent injuries during a full moon, and policemen will tell you that the crime rates go up during a full moon. Statistics do not appear to support these contentions. In by-gone times, the moon was though to influence the mentally ill, hence the the term ‘lunatic’ (Luna is Latin for the moon). I feel that weather patterns have far more influence on freshwater fishing than do moon phases. If you like fooling around with Solunar Tables, then by all means indulge yourself. Anything that gets you on the water can’t be all bad! Happy Fishing!


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

One Response to “How do the moonphases effect catfish fishing?”

  1. Viper says:

    So far from my experience, when all the right conditions are combined a full moon will be an awesome night for catfishin. The bait fish are more active and big cats tend to go shallow. Ive had my best luck with a southwestery breeze and a cold front on top of the full moon. If the winds blows any other way I always get skunked. So I think its a combination of those factors.
    But the last good night I was out was crazy. The wind was blowing out of the Northwest at like 20 mph and we had a few taps then landed a nice flathead, the moon was covered by some thick clouds from an approaching cold front. The moon came out then the winds died down and all of us were sitting there listening, it was completely still. Then we started hearing splashing and this splashing was going up river towards us. What it was were these huge catfish chasing baitfish in the shallows. A few of these catfish almost beached themselves on shore. And were not talking about little cats, some of these could have went 30-40 lbs easily.
    So far I have only observed this behaviour either on or a few days of the full moon. Just some food for thought.

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