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Fishing Conditions Forecast

March 20 - 26 2019

forecast iconWelcome Spring! For fishermen, this means from this point on, we will be gaining about two more minutes a day of daylight. More daylight equals warming waters, which helps drive Bay gamefish out of their winter haunts towards the spawning grounds. However, except for Sunday and Monday, cool day and night air temperatures won’t greatly increase water temperatures over the next week. Also expect windy conditions on Thursday through Saturday along with a chance of rain on Thursday and early next week, too. The Maryland portion of the Bay continues to have suitable oxygen conditions from surface to bottom. Bay salinities are still below average from the continued above average rainfall. 

Note:
 Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface-to-bottom oxygen, temperature, salinity, etc.) from the latest cruise (3/12-14) will be available shortly. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface-to-bottom water quality conditions as a starting point

From the Point Lookout NOAA buoy and MD DNR monitoring, main-Bay surface water temperatures are holding around mid-40s, with some tributaries slightly warmer. However, smaller, shallow, dark-bottomed rivers and streams and downwind areas on a sunny day will warm faster and will often hold water temperatures at or slightly above 50°F. In addition, there are still slightly warmer bottom waters, so anglers may want to scan these deeper, main Bay areas for fish.  Expect reduced, but improving, water clarity on the Potomac River downstream to near the Wicomico River as a result to above-average rainfall. In the upper Bay from the Aberdeen area to the Elk River, clarity will remain reduced as a result of Conowingo spilling water on March 18th. Expect normal flows for the Potomac, and smaller rivers and streams entering Maryland’s portion of the Bay. There will be above-average tidal currents conditions all week as a result of the full moon on Thursday, March 21st.

The following fishing condition details are a big-picture view, for more information 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.

Fishing Condition Details:

  • Pattern Stability - Expect temperatures to be stable (50s) through Saturday and then warm Sunday and Monday (60s). Windy conditions on Thursday through Saturday along with a chance of rain on Thursday and Monday/Tuesday. Night-time temperatures will be in the mid-30s to 40s. Sunrise at 7:05am and sunset at about 7:20pm.

  • Salinity –  Bay surface salinities are below normal for this time of year. This is due to the higher than normal flows last year and the continued elevated precipitation in February.

  • Oxygen – In all Maryland Bay waters, anglers will find adequate oxygen from surface to bottom for Bay gamefish. To see oxygen levels by depth, just click on any station on the Don’t Fish Below this Depth map.

  • Temperature –At the Point Lookout NOAA buoy, surface water temperatures are holding in the mid- to upper-40s (°F).  As reported from the NOAA Temperature Nowcast, main Bay surface water temperatures are warming and are ranging from the mid- to upper-40s. Due to recent spill conditions at Conowingo, upper Bay temperatures are hovering around the mid-40s. However, smaller, shallow, dark-bottomed rivers and streams, and downwind areas on a sunny day will warm faster and will often hold water temperatures at or slightly above 50°F. In addition, there are still slightly warmer bottom waters (>2°F) so anglers may want to scan these areas for fish.  

  • Clarity – Expect reduced, but improving, water clarity on the Potomac River, downstream to near the Wicomico River, as a result of above-average rainfall. In the upper Bay from the Aberdeen area to the Elk River, clarity will remain reduced as a result of Conowingo spilling water on March 18th. Windy conditions on Thursday through Saturday this week may reduce water clarity along shorelines from increased wave activity. 

  • Moving water – Expect normal, to above-normal, flows for the Potomac and smaller rivers and streams entering Maryland’s portion of the Bay. There will be above average tidal current conditions all week as a result of the full moon on Thursday, March 21st. Windy conditions on Thursday through Saturday could impact timing and magnitude of tidal currents.

  • 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. Feel free to drop us a line with comments or suggestions!