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Fishing Conditions Forecast

July 17 - 23, 2019

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Long-term DNR water monitoring shows that Bay water temperatures are typically the warmest of the year during these last weeks of July. True to form, anglers will experience a week of very warm water, hot weather with low winds, and a chance of rain or thunderstorms Wednesday, and again Sunday through Tuesday. Rockfish and other Bay gamefish will be holding in areas with adequate oxygen and the coolest water just above the “Do not fish below this depth.” Since rockfish will avoid water temperatures above 84⁰F, at this time of year they are being squeezed into smaller areas with adequate temperature and oxygen. Recent DNR water monitoring indicates that the coolest, oxygenated water is found in the Kent Island region of the Bay. The other way to find cooler water is to fish the shallows at first light when surface water temperatures can be several degrees cooler.

Bay surface salinities are well below normal for this time of year but improving slightly.  In most Maryland shallower Bay waters, anglers will find adequate oxygen from the surface to bottom for Bay gamefish. However, to avoid low oxygen conditions in the deep channel waters from the Bay Bridge down to the Maryland State line and the lower Potomac River, in general avoid fishing deeper than ~22 feet. For oxygen forecasts, see VIMS Depth to 3 mg/l. To see oxygen levels by depth, check the “Do not fish below this depth map.”

As recorded at the real-time NOAA and DNR buoys, Bay water temperatures continue to increase towards peak levels.  For the mid/upper/lower Bay, water temperatures are in the low 80⁰s. Choptank area water temperatures also have risen to the mid 80⁰s. For the Potomac River at Point Lookout, surface water temperatures have risen to 83⁰ while water temperatures at Little Falls has risen to the mid 80⁰s. To see water temperature by depth, check “Water temperature by Depth map”.

Expect average water clarity on most areas of the Bay but reduced water clarity on the Nanticoke, Fishing Bay and below the Susquehanna Flats on the western edge down to the Gunpowder River. On the Potomac River, expect reduced water clarity moving from around Mallows Bay downriver to Colonial Beach. Expect normal flows from most Maryland’s rivers and streams this week. However, as result of the potential thunderstorms Wednesday and again Sunday through Tuesday, there may be localized elevated flows.  There will be above average tidal currents all week as a result of the upcoming full moon on Wednesday, July 17th. For further details continue with the 'Fishing Condition Details' below.

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Fishing Condition Details:

  • Pattern Stability - Very warm weather this week, and likely the hottest week of the summer so far. Except for next Tuesday, which will likely be slightly cooler, expect daytime temperatures in the low to high 90⁰s and night temperatures around the upper 70⁰s to low 80⁰s (F) all week. Expect chance of thunderstorms Wednesday and again Sunday through Tuesday. Generally low Bay winds from 5 to 10 knots excluding thunderstorm periods. Sunrise around 5:56am and sunset at about 8:28pm.

  • Salinity –  Bay surface salinities are well below normal for this time of year but improving slightly.

  • Oxygen – In most Maryland shallower Bay waters, anglers will find adequate oxygen from surface to bottom for Bay gamefish. However, to avoid low oxygen conditions in the deep channel waters from the Bay Bridge down to the Maryland State line and the lower Potomac River, in general avoid fishing deeper than ~22 feet. For oxygen forecasts, see VIMS Depth to 3 mg/l. To see oxygen levels by depth from recent monitoring, check the “Do not fish below this depth map.”

  • Temperature – As recorded at the real-time NOAA and DNR buoys, Bay water temperatures are as follows: For the upper/mid-Bay, at Tolchester (81⁰F) and Baltimore/Patapsco River (82⁰F) and Annapolis (81⁰F). For the mid/lower-Bay, the NOAA Gooses buoy (surface) is holding slightly above 81⁰F. Bishops Head is at 82⁰F. Choptank area water temperatures are holding in the low 80s, with Cambridge at 83⁰F, Harris Creek at 81⁰F, and Tred Avon near 84⁰F. For the Potomac River at Point Lookout, surface water temperatures near the mouth of the river have risen to 82⁰F while temperatures near Washington DC are at 85⁰F at Little Falls. To see water temperature by depth, check “Water temperature by Depth map”.

  • Clarity – Expect average water clarity on most areas of the Bay but reduced water clarity on the Nanticoke, Fishing Bay and below the Susquehanna Flats on the western edge down to the Gunpowder River. On the Potomac River, expect reduced water clarity moving from around Mallows Bay downriver to Colonial Beach. Conditions for the localized areas may degrade as a result of the predicted thunderstorms Wednesday and Sunday through Tuesday. 

  • Moving water –  Expect normal flows from most Maryland’s rivers and streams this week. However, as result of the potential thunderstorms Wednesday and again Sunday through Tuesday, there may be localized elevated flows.  There will be above average tidal currents all week as a result of the upcoming full moon on Wednesday, July 17th.

  • 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 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. Have a safe and enjoyable fishing trip, and as always, drop us a line with comments or suggestions!