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Fishing Conditions Forecast

September 18-24, 2019

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For many areas of the Bay, windy, cool weather on Wednesday and Thursday will help mix more oxygen into the deeper waters, expanding areas for Bay fish. After Thursday, conditions will stabilize for the rest of the week with warm, calm days and cool nights. The recent absence of rain has helped bring Bay salinities much closer to normal, allowing some of the more salt-loving fish to push further up the Bay. In general, Bay gamefish will still hold at similar locations but improved oxygen conditions will allow them to move deeper to find food. During the day, while the smaller fish will be abundant in surface waters, focus on the deeper, cooler waters that still have adequate oxygen for larger Bay gamefish. As surface waters cool overnight, check nearby shoal areas at first light for larger striped bass hunting for breakfast.

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Fishing Condition Details:

  • Pattern Stability - Except for cooler temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday (70⁰s), expect warm temperatures through next Tuesday with daytime temperatures in the mid 80⁰s and night temperatures in the 60⁰s. Normal 5 to 10 knot winds all week, except for small craft advisory conditions on Wednesday and Thursday from Chesapeake Beach south. Low chance of rain and thunderstorms all week. Sunrise around 6:53am and sunset at about 7:06pm.

  • Salinity – Bay surface salinities are still below normal for this time of year but continue to increase from last month.

  • Oxygen – Current oxygen conditions (Don’t Fish Below These Depths) are as follows from the MD/VA Stateline north. Avoid fishing below the following depths:
    • Stateline up to Point no Point: ~45ft
    • Point No Point up to Little Choptank: ~32ft
    • Little Choptank up to Choptank River: ~25ft
    • Bloody Point: ~16ft
    • Bay Bridge: ~23ft
    • Swan Point: ~17ft
    • Still Pond: ~23ft
    • Up to the Flats: adequate oxygen to the bottom.
    For oxygen forecasts, see VIMS Depth to 3 mg/l

  • Temperature (⁰F)– As recorded at the real-time NOAA and DNR buoys, daytime Bay water temperatures have dropped slightly over the last week, and are as follows:

    • For the upper/mid Bay: On the Susquehanna River at Darlington, water temperatures are holding at 83⁰F during non-generating periods and 76⁰F during generating periods. At Tolchester (77⁰F), Baltimore/Patapsco River (77⁰F), and Annapolis (Arundel on the Bay) (77⁰F).

    • For the mid/lower Bay: The NOAA Gooses buoy (surface) is holding near 77⁰F. Bishops Head is at 76⁰F. Choptank area water temperatures are at in the mid- to upper-70⁰s, with Cambridge and Tred Avon at 77⁰F, and Harris Creek near 77⁰F.

    • For the Potomac River: At the NOAA buoy, surface water temperatures near the mouth of the river are near 77⁰, while temperatures near Washington DC at Little Falls are at 79⁰.

    To see water temperature by depth, check out our interactive “Water Temperature by Depth map.”

  • Clarity – Expect reduced water clarity from algal blooms on the mainstem of the Bay from Patapsco River across to the Chester River down to the Bay Bridge. Blooms are also present on the mouth of the Choptank River. On the Potomac River, a heavy algal blooms is present from the mouth of the Wicomico down to Ragged Point. To see the latest NOAA satellite maps, check “Eyes on the Bay Satellite Maps.” 

  • Habitat –To see locations of key Bay bottom habitat, see the ”Bay Bottom Habitat Mapper.”.

  • Moving water –  Expect normal flows from most Maryland’s rivers and streams this week. There will be above average tidal currents all week as a result of the full moon last Saturday, September 14th.

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

For a step-by-step way to find the best fishing areas based on water conditions, be sure to check out Eyes on the Bay’s Click Before You Cast. Have a safe and enjoyable fishing trip, and as always, drop us a line with comments or suggestions.