Home > Tides
What are Tides?
What are Tides?
Tides refer to the gravitational pull of the
sun and moon on bodies of water. Depending on the alignment of
the sun and moon, tides will vary from day to day. Some tides cause
the water level to drop or raise by as much as six or seven feet at a
time. Other tides may only move the water level a few feet
at a time. Some tides in the delta cause the river to
flow downstream, become slack
like a lake, and then move back upstream.
The next time somebody tries to bet you that water doesn't flow
upstream, take them to the delta. Pretty weird, huh?
Tides are one of the most important factors while fishing the
delta. The best bite window usually lasts from one hour
before a tide change until one our after the slack
This will usually give you a few hours of really good fishing.
As with all factors involved in fishing, predicting action
using tides is not an exact science. There will be days when
the fish defy logic and bite during unexpected tides. I've
caught fish during all tides, and I've also been skunked during
all tides. I use the tides as a guide to plan my fishing
trips around the times that I hope will be the most productive.
The tide links on this site will take to you pages that show
when the tide is predicted to change. Keep in mind that the
tide changes shown on these links refer to the changes in tidal
pull by the sun and moon, not water flow. The change in
current direction in the delta seems to lag about 30 minutes
to one hour after the time shown as the tide change. For
example, if the high tide is shown as 10:00 am, the slack tide may
not happen until 10:30 am or 11:00 am. The tide changes
shown are just predictions and can be affected by dam releases,
rainfall, wind, etc. For a technical explanation of
predicting slack tide, see the
rule of twelfths.
The outgoing tide moves downstream towards the ocean.
It is usually faster because it moves with the flow of water.
Because of its fast speed, it us usually dirtier and more prone to
stir up weeds than the incoming tide.
The incoming tide moves upstream away from the ocean.
It is usually slower because it moves against the flow of water
from dams upstream.
Because of its slower speed, it us usually cleaner and less prone to stir
up weeds than the outgoing tide.
The slack tide is the time between the incoming and outgoing
tides. The current will stop flowing and go slack like the water in a lake
Neap Tides occur the day before, during, and after the first and
third quarter moons (a three day period). Neap tides are
small, or soft tides. They usually produce a slow current,
less water level change, less sediment and less weeds.
Spring Tides occur the day before, during, and after the full
and new moons (a three day period). Spring tides are big,
or hard tides. They usually produce a strong current, high
water level change, more sediment and more weeds.