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Step 6 – In the remaining area, identify preferred habitat

Now take your chart that has been marked to exclude areas that don't meet salinity, oxygen and temperature preferences for your target fish, using the information you gathered in Step 1. In addition, your chart will be marked to eliminate areas with very poor water clarity from suspended sediments and algal blooms. In the chart area remaining, begin highlighting the preferred habitat areas for your target fish using the information you gathered in Step 1A. Such areas could be channel edges, current breaks, flats, humps, points, rock piles, bridge pilings, etc. These will be the areas where you will focus your fishing.


  • The potential for some of these spots to hold fish can be greatly improved if they are located on or near any or several of these great fish-attracting habitat areas including artificial reefs, oyster bars, underwater grass beds, etc.


  1. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MARI): Artificial Reefs
    This site shows the location (with coordinates) of Maryland’s artificial reefs. It describes the type of reef, the depth, size and also includes nearby bottom type. Pay attention to the depth of these reefs since some will be located in poorly oxygenated areas during the warmer months. However, the reefs may become fish magnets during spring and fall periods when oxygen conditions improve.

  2. Maryland Bottom Types Map
    This site shows bottom type from recent bottom mapping surveys. It identifies sand, silt, hard bottom, cultch (shell, stone) and mud. If there is adequate oxygen, these habitats can hold a variety of food for hungry gamefish.

  3. Virginia Institute of Marine Science - Baywide seagrass maps
    This site shows the location of underwater grass beds, a key nursery area for juvenile fish and crabs and a popular hunting ground for gamefish. Select "Interactive map" and zoom in to your fishing spots to look for nearby underwater grass beds.

Take your map showing prime fishing areas and mark nearby underwater grass beds green, oyster bars yellow, artificial reefs purple (or any color you like.) You now have a fishing map that shows potentially good spots and great spots to focus your fishing!

Now that you have identified your fishing hotspots, there is one more important step to maximize your potential to catch fish, you are ready to move on to: Go To Step 7 – Find moving water.

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