The bay anchovy is a small, translucent fish that lives in schools throughout the Chesapeake Bay. It is the most abundant fish in the Bay.
The bay anchovy has a slender, silvery-green, translucent body that grows to four inches in length. A silver stripe runs along its sides. It has a large mouth, a single dorsal fin on its back and a forked tail fin.
Bay anchovies are common in the Chesapeake Bay’s shallows during warmer months, moving to deep waters in winter. It lives in schools.
Abundant year-round throughout the Bay and the lower reaches of rivers.
The bay anchovy feeds mostly on zooplankton, such as fish larvae.
Bay anchovies are a critically important food source for larger predators such as bluefish, weakfish and striped bass.
Spawning occurs in May-September, with a peak in July. Bay anchovies are believed to live longer than one year, but seldom longer than two years.