Friday, July 22, 2011

Delaware Bay Kayaking

The Delaware Bay is one the largest estuaries in the Mid Atlantic region. The Delaware Bay is a semi-enclosed body of water where freshwater from the Delaware River mixes with salt water from the Atlantic Ocean. The estuary serves as a vital nursery area for fish, shellfish, birds and other marine life.

The north shore of the bay belongs to the state of New Jersey, while the southern shoreline is occupied by Delaware. Kayakers have plenty of access to the region, including several state parks.

The lower section of the bay is notorious for its dangerous conditions, especially in areas where shoals and deep channels are located in close proximity to each other, causing dangerous rips.

The Delaware Bay is famous for its outstanding fishing, including fisheries for striped bass, seatrout, tautog, sea bass, flounder, croakers, spot and other species. In addition to fishing, kayakers and other boaters enjoy harvests of crabs, clams, mussels and other shellfish.

In winter, outdoor recreation continues. Saltwater fishing remains good in much of the bay. In addition to fishing, winter pastimes include waterfowl hunting, birdwatching, oystering, or simply exploring backwater areas of the estuary.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kayaking in Mid Atlantic Rivers and Creeks

The Mid Atlantic region is home to some of North America's most beautiful kayaking destinations. Habitats in these waterways are determined by salinity and tidal flow. Depending on location, the transition from salt to fresh water may span hundreds of miles or occur in a very short distance.

In the lower sections of these rivers, marsh grasses, crabs, oysters, saltwater fish and other marine life is usually present. Birds are abundant in salt marsh areas, ospreys, kingfishers, herons, egrets, plovers, and rails being a few of the most commonly seen species. Salinity can fluctuate considerably, depending on rainfall, tidal flows and other factors.

Moving up river, salt marsh grasses give way to pickerelweed and trees begin to appear along the banks. Saltwater fish species disappear and brackish species such as channel catfish, white perch, yellow perch and gar become common.

Further up tidal areas, rivers and creek habitats change considerably. Lily pads and cypress trees begin appearing in greater numbers. A wide range of wildlife is abundant. Species of fish that live in these areas include largemouth bass, chain pickerel, sunfish, crappie, several species of catfish, shiners, white perch, yellow perch and other species. In some remote waterways, beavers and river otters are present.

The final zone occurs above the tidal line. Here water levels occasionally rise and fall due to extreme high tides, but the apparent flow is always downstream. This type of habitat is famous for American shad, hickory shad and river herring spawning runs, which occur for 2-3 weeks in the spring. At this stage, water visibility varies widely, depending on a range of factors. A variety of freshwater fish species are found in these smaller creeks and streams.