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Fishing Conditions Forecast

December 20-27, 2017

forecast iconAs we approach the Winter Solstice on Thursday with the fewest hours of daylight, expect moderate temperatures until Saturday to be replaced by very cold temperatures through next Wednesday. These typical December conditions will continue to cool Maryland Bay waters for gamefish still remaining in Maryland waters. The Maryland portion of the Bay continues to have a well-mixed water column with suitable oxygen conditions from surface to bottom. However, there are slightly warmer bottom water temperatures, so anglers may want to scan these deeper channel areas for fish. NEW CBYC FEATURE! - You can now see temperature and oxygen levels by depth. Just click on any station on the Temperature by Depth or the Don’t Fish Below this Depth map. 

Note: Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom oxygen, temperature, salinity, etc.) from the latest cruise (12/11-18) will be available shortly. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface to bottom water quality conditions as a starting point. 

As reported from the NOAA buoys, main Bay surface water temperatures have dropped to the mid 40s at the Gooses Reef south (44°F) and the mouth of the Potomac River (45°F). Water clarity is generally good with still some reduced water clarity areas in the Patapsco River and along the western shore from the Bay Bridge down to near Dares Beach. Expect normal to below normal flows for streams and rivers entering Maryland’s portion of the Bay. There will be excellent tidal currents conditions through Sunday as a result of the new moon that just occurred on Monday, December 18th.

The following details are a big-picture view, for more detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in your area of the Chesapeake Bay, be sure to check out Eyes on the Bay’s Click Before You Cast.

More Fishing Condition Details:

  • Pattern Stability - Expect an unstable weather pattern for the next week. Conditions will be generally warmer through Saturday with windy conditions Wednesday and Friday. Daytime temperatures in the mid-50s to the mid-40s and nighttime temperatures in the 30s through Saturday. Conditions will become colder from Sundaythrough Wednesday with daytime temperatures in the mid-30s and nighttime temperatures in the 20s. Chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Salinity – Bay surface salinities are relatively stable since last week. In the main bay areas, well mixed waters are resulting in relatively uniform salinity (surface to bottom) from south of Patapsco River down towards the MD/VA line. Note: Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom salinity) from the latest cruise (12/11-18) will be available for the next report next week. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface to bottom water quality salinity conditions as a starting point.

  • Oxygen – In most Maryland waters, anglers will find adequate oxygen from surface to bottom for Bay gamefish. NEW CBYC FEATURE! - You can now see oxygen levels by depth. Just click on any station on the Don’t Fish Below this Depth map.  Note: Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom oxygen) from the latest cruise (12/11-18) will be available for the next report next week. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface to bottom water quality oxygen conditions as a starting point.

  • Temperature – Main Bay water temperatures continue drop this week to the mid 40’s as reported from the NOAA buoys with the Gooses Reef south to the mouth of the Potomac River holding near 45°F. However, expect upcoming cool, windy weather to cause water temperatures to continue to drop over the next week. Recent prolonged winds have vertically mixed most of the Bay waters resulting in mostly uniform temperatures from surface to bottom. However, in the mainstem of the Bay from Bush River all the way to the Maryland line, bottom waters are >2°F warmer than surface waters. As surface waters continue to cool, expect to see this trend continue with more areas with warmer bottom waters. NEW CBYC FEATURE! - You can now see temperature levels by depth. Just click on any station on the Temperature by Depth map. Note: Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom temperature from the latest cruise (12/11-18) will be available for the next report next week. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface to bottom water quality temperature conditions as a starting point.

  • Clarity  Expect reduced water clarity from a recent algal bloom in the Patapsco River. In addition, remnants of algal blooms are present on the western shore of the mainstem of the Bay from near the Bay Bridge down to south of Chesapeake Beach. In addition, expect patchy algal caused reduced clarity in the Potomac from Mattawoman Creek down to Breton Bay.

  • Moving water –  Expect normal to below normal flows for streams and rivers entering Maryland’s portion of the Bay. There will be excellent tidal current conditions through Sunday as a result of the new moon that occurred on Monday, December 18th. Windy conditions on Wednesday and Friday could impact timing and magnitude of tidal currents. For shallow water fishing, fish the moving water times during low light conditions after the sunset (~4:49pm) and before sunrise (~7:22am).

  • Putting it all together – The best fishing areas could be further refined by intersecting these prime areas with underwater points, drop-offs, and large schools of baitfish.

Note: Until Spring 2018, The Click Before You Cast Forecast Summary will be posted monthly to highlight the latest results from the MD-DNR water monitoring cruise. However for more detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in your area of the Chesapeake Bay, please continue to check out Eyes on the Bay’s Click Before You Cast. Since this feature is designed for Chesapeake Bay anglers, drop us a line with comments or suggestions.

For more detailed and up-to-date fishing conditions in your area of the bay, be sure to fully explore Click Before You Cast. Since this is a new feature for Chesapeake Bay anglers, drop us a line with comments or suggestions.