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salinity1It’s sometimes said that good fishermen think like a fish. While no one really knows what fish think, it’s usually possible to predict where they might be located based on climatic conditions and the time of year. Two very important factors to consider when looking for fish in the Chesapeake Bay are water temperature and salinity. Sometimes stripers congregate near underwater structure, at other times they travel in schools out in the open bay, but they always prefer specific depth zones which vary depending on the time of year. Fish are cold-blooded, so they’re more likely to be active in water that keeps them warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The “perfect” water temperature for stripers is around 68 degrees, but perfect conditions are rare. Since locating feeding fish is a fisherman’s primary challenge, it’s important to understand seasonally changing temperature zones in the Bay.

Salinity and temperature are closely related in the Bay. Striped bass are classified as anadromous fish, meaning they live primarily in salt water but migrate to fresh water to spawn. While they can live and thrive in fresh water, they prefer water with some salinity. Scientific opinions are mixed as to the optimum salt content, but there’s no denying that salinity influences the behavior of rockfish in the Bay. This is especially true in the spring and fall when many fish are traveling to and from the ocean. Read More!