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Fishing Conditions Forecast

April 17 - 24, 2018

forecast iconExpect an unstable, windy weather pattern through Friday with warming weather for rest of the next week. These slowly warming temperatures will help heat Maryland Bay waters for rockfish, shad and other Bay fish preparing to spawn in the next several weeks in Maryland waters. Temperatures on the Susquehanna Flats are hovering around the low 50s, but climbing, for the start of the trophy rockfish season on April 21st. Warming temperatures are also a cue for blue crabs to emerge from their winter slumber in the Bay's deeper areas. 

The Maryland portion of the Bay continues to have suitable oxygen conditions from surface to bottom. In addition, there are slightly warmer surface water temperatures so anglers may want to scan these shallower areas for fish during moving water and low light conditions after the sunset (~7:48pm) and before sunrise (~6:23am). 

Note:
 Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom oxygen, temperature, salinity, etc.) from the latest cruises (4/9-16) 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 are holding around 51°F the Annapolis, Gooses Reef and Point Lookout buoys. However, surface waters on the Susquehanna Flats should be hovering around 52°F. In addition, expect temperatures in smaller, dark-bottomed shallow creeks to hold slightly warmer temperatures. As tides empty the water in these warm creeks, look for nearby structure to target feeding gamefish.  Expect above average flows for the Potomac, Susquehanna and for smaller rivers and streams entering the Bay. There will be above average tidal currents through Saturday as a result of the new moon on Monday, April 16th.

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 through Friday with warming weather for rest of the next week. Expect windy conditions on Thursday through Saturday and partly sunny skies all week. Expect daytime temperatures in the mid 60s with nighttime temperatures in the upper 40s to the lower 50s.

  • Salinity – Bay surface salinities are slightly below normal for this time of year. 
    Note:
     Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom oxygen, temperature, salinity, etc.) from the latest cruise (4/9-16) will be available shortly. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface to bottom water quality conditions as a starting point.

  • 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.
    Note: Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom oxygen, temperature, salinity, etc.) from the latest cruise (4/9-16) will be available shortly. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface to bottom water quality conditions as a starting point.

  • Temperature – Main Bay water temperatures are holding at about 51°F after cooling slightly from peak temperatures from 53-56°F on Sunday as reported from the NOAA buoys at Annapolis, Gooses Reef and Potomac River near Point Lookout. Surface waters on the Susquehanna Flats should be hovering above 48°F. However, expect upcoming warmer weather to cause water temperatures to steadily rise through next week. In addition, expect temperatures in smaller, dark-bottomed shallow creeks to hold slightly warmer temperatures. As tides empty the water in these warm creeks, look for nearby structure to target feeding gamefish. 
    Note:
     Maryland DNR Bay monitoring results (surface to bottom oxygen, temperature, salinity, etc.) from the latest cruise (4/9-16) will be available shortly. However, in the meantime, use the previous surface to bottom water quality conditions as a starting point.

  • Clarity  Expect below average water clarity as a result of the above average river and stream flows entering the Bay. In addition, expect reduced water clarity in the lower Potomac River and the mainstem of the Bay near Taylor’s Island. Windy conditions on Thursday through Saturday may reduce water clarity along shorelines from increased wave activity.

  • Moving water –  Expect above average flows for the Susquehanna, Potomac and for smaller rivers and streams entering the Bay. There will be above average tidal currents through Saturday as a result of the new moon on Monday, April 16th. Windy conditions on Thursday through Saturday could impact timing and magnitude of tidal currents. For shallow water fishing, fish the moving water times during low light conditions before sunrise (~6:23am) and after the sunset (~7:48pm).

  • 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.