nutrients

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Suspended fish, I hate ‘em. Scattered fish suspending in deep water is one of the most difficult situations a light tackle angler will encounter on the Chesapeake Bay.  In years past, I’ve refused to target suspended fish. I’d rather run fifteen additional miles looking for stripers feeding off the bottom than fool with the picky little snots.  But, as Bob Dylan might say, The Times, They Are a Changin’. Bad water makes everything different. As predicted in my last entry, low oxygen levels have led to prolific algae blooms in the tributary rivers and in some areas of the main stem of the Bay. Conditions are worse around the western shore rivers since more people live there and there is more pollution.

Pollution, especially nutrients like nitrates and phosphorus get into the Bay as a result of raw sewage dumping, storm-water runoff, and excessive fertilizer use. This makes the water very fertile, so small microscopic plants such as algae grow rapidly. The algae cells block sunlight, then die and sink to the bottom creating areas of low oxygen where fish can’t survive. Since dissolved oxygen levels were already at record lows this year, it didn’t take long for the blooming and decaying cycle to use up whatever oxygen was left. Read More!