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Step 5 – Eliminate areas with low clarity

Now take your updated chart and use the water clarity and algal bloom information found on the following links to begin shading out areas that are likely to negatively impact your fishing.

Tips:

  • Clarity Pattern Stability - General water clarity patterns will remain stable unless there are prolonged periods of substantial rain or high water flow (reduces water clarity) or algal blooms (reduces water clarity)
  • In nearshore areas, waters flowing off underwater grass beds are often clearer than surrounding waters due to the filtering effects of the underwater grasses.

Links:

Step 5A: General Water Clarity
  1. Chesapeake Bay Satellite maps (NASA maps hosted by Eyes on the Bay) -
    This composite map includes daily satellite data over all Maryland Bay waters and will provide a good overview of general water clarity conditions. The most recent satellite image will load automatically. Avoid areas with brown water resulting from excessive sediment runoff during rains or from re-suspension of nearshore sediments from prolonged winds.

  2. Current vs. historical clarity comparison (Eyes on the Bay)
    This site will help you determine if the water clarity is better or worse than typical conditions in your general fishing area.

  3. Water clarity monitoring stations (Eyes on the Bay)
    This site will help you determine the specific water clarity at the stations nearest to your general fishing area.
       - Use the "Filter station" dropdown to select continuous monitoring, long-term monitoring and partners/other data providers.
       - The long-term monitoring sites (red square red squares) are generally located in deep water and can be selected and will show you how current year's secchi results compare to the long-term average. In the pop-up for a station, click on 'secchi depth' to view a chart of water clarity.
       - The continuous monitoring sites (orange circle orange and light green circle light green circles) are generally located in shallow waters and show water clarity (secchi) conditions at real or near real time. Because these sites collect data every 15 minutes you are able to see the clarity (turbidity) changes that occur. Clarity (turbidity) data can be plotted numerous ways. You can find recent 'turbidity' values by clicking on a station to view more detailed information.
       - The Partners/Other Data Providers sites (orange cross orange and yellow crosses yellow crosses) are additional sites that show water clarity or turbidity conditions at real or near real time. Because these sites collect data every 15 minutes you are able to see the clarity or turbidity changes that occur in response to local rainfall (reduces water clarity), wind mixing (reduces water clarity) or algal blooms (reduces water clarity).

  4. Turbidity monitoring buoys (Chesapeake Bay Observing System [NOAA CBOS])
    This real-time site will help you verify your clarity conditions at several mainbay/main river sites. Select the station nearest to your general fishing location, and select "Turbidity." Normal turbidity conditions in the Bay range from 5-20 NTUs. Areas with turbidity over 50 NTUs have very poor water clarity. For your convenience, you can plot turbidity information from 1 to 30 day periods.

Step 5B: Algal Blooms
  1. Chesapeake Bay Satellite maps (NASA maps hosted on Eyes on the Bay) -
    This composite map includes daily satellite data over all Maryland Bay waters and will provide a good overview of general algal conditions. Under “Choose a Data Map,” select chlorophyll, and then select “View Selected.” Most fish will avoid areas with chlorophyll levels over 50 ug/l (algal bloom). Algal blooms can cause low oxygen levels at night or when the algae die and decompose. In addition, some algal blooms can be toxic to fish.

  2. Chlorophyll monitoring buoys (Chesapeake Bay Observing System [NOAA CBOS])
    This real-time site will help you verify algae conditions at several main Bay/main river sites. Select the station nearest to your general fishing location, and select “Chlorophyll.” Most fish will avoid areas with chlorophyll levels greater than 50 ug/l (algal bloom). For convenience, you can plot out chlorophyll conditions from 1 to 30 day periods.

  3. Harmful Algal Blooms Map (Eyes on the Bay) - This site will help you determine if there are high concentrations of harmful algae at the stations nearest to your general fishing area. Avoid areas with a red triangle (red triangle) which indicate the presence of a harmful algal bloom (HAB), as these can be toxic to fish and crabs.
Now that you have eliminated areas that don't have adequate water clarity on your chart, you are ready to move to: Step 6 – In the remaining area, identify preferred habitat

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