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Maryland Fishing Rules and Regulations

Rockfish

It is Illegal:

  • To possess any cut up or filleted striped bass at any time aboard any boat on the tidal waters of Maryland. Striped bass must be landed whole.
  • To use more than 2 hooks or 2 sets of hooks for each rod or line. Artificial lures or plugs with multiple hooks are considered 1 set of hooks.
  • To use eels as bait while fishing for striped bass with hook and line from Dec. 16 through May 15, inclusive, in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.
  • To cull striped bass.
  • To possess striped bass while fishing in the Chesapeake Bay or its tidal tributaries from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • To use a gaff to land striped bass.
  • To take or shoot striped bass with a spear gun and spear in the tidal waters of the state.
  • To fish for striped bass by any means or practice catch-and-release of striped bass in designated spawning areas from March 1 through May 31.
  • To intentionally snag a striped bass.

The following tables summarize striped bass fishing, harvest and possession regulations. This is an abridged summary.

Chesapeake Bay & Tidal Tributaries

(excluding the Susquehanna Flats, Lower Susquehanna River & Northeast River)

SeasonFishing Locations PermittedCreel & Size LimitsRegulationsRestrictions & Remarks
Jan 1 - Feb 28All MD portions of Bay and Potomac are open to catch and release fishing onlyNo harvestCatch and release only• Directed catch and release of striped bass in the Potomac requires barbless hooks.
• Eels may not be used as bait.
Spring Catch & Release Season
March 1 – April 20
Chesapeake Bay from the Brewerton Channel to the Virginia line including Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds.No harvest• Stinger (trailing) hooks are prohibited.
• Barbless hooks are required when trolling.
• Non-offset circle hooks or
J hooks with a gap of less than ½ inch are required when using bait.
• No more than 6 lines may be employed while trolling regardless of the number of anglers on board.
• These restrictions apply in all open catch and release areas from March 1 until 5:00 a.m., April 18
• Spawning rivers and the Upper Bay spawning area are off limits until June 1 to striped bass fishing.
• Eels may not be used as bait.
• See maps at: http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/striped-bass-maps.aspx
Spring Trophy Season
April 21 – May 15
Chesapeake Bay from Brewerton Channel to the MD-VA Line, excluding all bays, sounds, tributaries, creeks and rivers, except Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound1 fish per day, minimum size of 35 inches• Eels may not be used as bait.
• See maps at: http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/striped-bass-maps.aspx
May 16 – May 31Chesapeake Bay downstream from a line drawn from the south corner of Hart-Miller Island Dike to the end of MD Route 21 at Tolchester and south to the MD/VA line, excluding all bays, sounds, tributaries, creeks and rivers. EXCEPT: Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound; Chester River and its tributaries downstream of a line drawn from Hail Point to Long Point to Ferry Point; Patuxent River and its tributaries downstream of a line drawn from Point Patience to the west point of land at the entrance of Little Kingston Creek; and Choptank River and its tributaries downstream of a line drawn from Holland Point to a point of land at the west entrance of Chapel Creek are open.2 fish per day, minimum size is 19 inches, only one of which can be equal to or greater than 28 inches• See maps at: http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/striped-bass-maps.aspx
Summer/Fall Season
June 1–Dec. 20
All Maryland Chesapeake Bay waters and tributaries open to fishing2 fish per day, minimum size is 19 inches, only one of which can be equal to or greater than 28 inchesSee maps at: http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/striped-bass-maps.aspx
Dec. 21–Dec. 31All MD portions of Ches. Bay are open to catch and release striped bass fishingNo harvestCatch and release only
Atlantic Ocean, Coastal Bays & Their Tidal Tributaries

SeasonFishing Locations AllowedCreel & Size Limits
Jan. 1 – Dec. 31No area restrictions2 per person per day. Must be between 28 inches and 38 inches OR 44 inches or larger.
Reservoirs

SeasonFishing Locations PermittedCreel & Size LimitsRestrictions & Remarks
Jan. 1 - Dec. 31Liberty Reservoir, Piney Run Reservoir, Tridelphia Reservoir, Conowingo Reservoir, Broadford Lake,
Jennings Randolph Reservoir,
and Rocky Gorge Reservoir
18 inch minimum size;
2 fish per person per day—only 1 of those fish may be larger than 30 inches
Open Year Round

Tidal Seasons, Minimum Sizes, Daily Creel & Possession Limits

Chesapeake Bay & Tidal Tributaries

SpeciesMinimum Size LimitsSeasonCreel LimitRemarks
Americal Eel9"Open Year Round25 Daily
Bass (Largemouth & Smallmouth)15" Mar. 1 - Jun. 15
12" Jun. 16 - Last day of Feb.
Open Year Round5 Daily in aggregate
Black Drum16"Open Year Round1 Daily
6 per boat
Black Sea Bass12.5"May 15–September 21
October 22–December 31
15 Daily
Bluefish8"Open Year Round10 Daily
CatfishNoneOpen Year RoundNo Limit
Chain Pickerel (Pike)14"CLOSED Mar. 15 – Apr. 3010 Daily
CobiaNoneOpen Year RoundNoneClosed in Federal Waters
Croaker (Hardhead)9"Open Year Round25 Daily
Northern SnakeheadNoneOpen Year RoundNo LimitIllegal to transport live snakehead fish
Red drum (Channel Bass or Puppy Drum)18" - 27"Open Year Round1 Daily
Spanish Mackerel14"Open Year Round15 DailyMust be landed with head & fins intact
Spotted Seatrout14"Open Year Round4 Daily
Summer Flounder16"Open Year Round4 Daily
Walleye15"Open Year Round5 Daily
Weakfish13"Open Year Round1 Daily
White PerchNone if caught with hook & line;
8" if caught some other way
Open Year RoundNo Limit
Yellow Perch9"Open Year Round10 Daily

The taking of American shad, Hickory shad, Alewife herring, Blueback herring, Atlantic sturgeon and Shortnose sturgeon is prohibited.

Areas Closed to Fishing—February, March and April:
1. Magothy River from Lake Waterford dam downstream for 3,300 feet.
2. Severn River and Severn Run from the Route 3 Bridge downstream for 2,400 feet.

Maryland Fishing Rules and Regulations January 31, 2017

About Anglers

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