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Fishing Conditions Forecast

October 18- 25, 2017

forecast iconIt is finally starting to feel like Fall has arrived. Main Bay temperatures have cooled about 6 degrees since last week and are now down to about 70 degrees.  Expect stable conditions until early next week with cool, sunny days and 5-10kt winds. Possible rain early next week. These cool conditions will continue to move water temperatures and oxygen conditions towards the liking of hungry rockfish. While most Maryland waters have adequate oxygen from surface to bottom, start your search just above the “Do not fish below this depth.” In the upper Bay near Swan Point (along Tolchester channel) and Baltimore Harbor avoid fishing depths below 13 feet. At the Bay bridge on the west side, fish above 20 feet. On the east side of the bridge, don’t fish below 15 feet. From Bloody Point and into Eastern Bay, suitable oxygen can be found above 23 feet. From the Choptank River south, there is plenty of oxygenated water well below 30 feet and in many places, throughout the entire water column. NEW FEATURE – Water Temperature by Depth – This helps you identify if there are water temperature differences from the surface down to the “Do Not Fish Below This Depth” layer. You can quickly determine whether the water column has a uniform temperature or if deeper waters are warmer or cooler than surface waters. For this week, most waters are well mixed and have uniform water temperature from surface down to the maximum fishing depth. However, in the mainstem of the Bay from the Little Choptank south to the mouth of the Potomac River, maximum fishing depths are running about 2 degrees cooler than surface waters. Expect some reduced water clarity from algal blooms/mats in the Gunpowder, Back and Susquehanna Flats.  However, normal flows for streams and rivers entering Maryland’s portion of the Bay should not impact Bay water clarity. In addition, there will be excellent tidal currents from Wednesday through next Tuesday as a result of the upcoming new moon on Friday (10/20/17).

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 stable weather patterns for the next week. There will be sunny but cooler (low 70’s day, 50’s night) conditions with 5-10kt winds from Wednesday through SaturdayOn Monday through Wednesday, increased chance of rain and increased winds.

  • Salinity – Bay salinities are relatively stable since last week. Overall, salinities from Poplar Island north are slightly saltier than normal due to dry conditions. However, the Patuxent, Tangier Sound and the Lower Potomac are running a little fresher than normal. Localized rainfall early next week may freshen nearby waters.

  • Oxygen – In most Maryland Rivers, anglers will find adequate oxygen from surface to bottom. Regardless, start your search just above the “Do not fish below this depth.”  In the upper Bay near Swan Point (along Tolchester channel) and Baltimore Harbor avoid fishing depths below 13 feet. At the Bay bridge on the west side, fish above 20 feet. On the east side of the bridge, don’t fish below 15 feet. From Bloody Point and into Eastern Bay, fish above 23 feet. From the Choptank river south, the Patuxent, Point Lookout (56’), lower eastern shore, and the lower bay, there is plenty of suitable oxygenated water down to the bottom. At Ragged Point, fish above 16 foot depths.

  • Temperature – Current main Bay temperatures have cooled up about 5-7 degrees since last week and are now averaging about 68 degrees in the upper bay and 70 degrees from the Gooses Reef down to the Maryland Stateline. Forecasted cool weather will continue to drive down water temperatures over the next week. NEW FEATURE – Water Temperature by Depth – This helps you identify if there are water temperature differences from the surface down to the “Do Not Fish Below This Depth” layer. You can quickly determine whether the water column has a uniform temperature or if deeper waters are warmer or cooler than surface waters. For this week, most waters are well mixed and have uniform water temperature from surface down to the maximum fishing depth. However, in the mainstem of the Bay from the Little Choptank south to the mouth of the Potomac River, maximum fishing depths are running about 2 degrees cooler than surface waters.

  • Clarity  Water clarity conditions are generally average. Algal activity appears low on mainstem Bay. However algal blooms/mats continue in the Northeast, Back and upper Gunpowder Rivers and the Susquehanna Flats. Expect possible localized decreases in water clarity as a result of precipitation early next week.

  • Moving water – Due to dry continuing dry conditions, expect normal to low flows for streams and rivers entering Maryland’s portion of the Bay. Expect possible flow increases to some streams as a result of nearby rainfall early next week. In addition, there will be excellent tidal currents and low light conditions Wednesday through next Tuesday as a result of the upcoming new moon on Friday (10/20/17). For shallow water fishing, fish the moving water times after the sunset (~6:19pm) 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.

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.