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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)

Season Fishing Locations Permitted Creel & Size Limits Regulations Restrictions & Remarks
Jan 1 - Feb 28 All MD portions of Bay and Potomac are open to catch and release fishing only No harvest Catch 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 14

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 natural 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 15 – 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 Sound 1 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 31 Chesapeake 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 20 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 fishing 2 fish per day, minimum size is 20 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
Dec. 21–Dec. 31 All MD portions of Ches. Bay are open to catch and release striped bass fishing No harvest Catch and release only
Atlantic Ocean, Coastal Bays & Their Tidal Tributaries

Season Fishing Locations Allowed Creel & Size Limits
Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 No area restrictions 2 per person per day. Must be between 28 inches and 38 inches OR 44 inches or larger.
Reservoirs

Season Fishing Locations Permitted Creel & Size Limits Restrictions & Remarks
Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 Liberty 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

Species Minimum Size Limits Season Creel Limit Remarks
Americal Eel 9" Open Year Round 25 Daily
Bass (Largemouth & Smallmouth) 15" Mar. 1 - Jun. 15
12" Jun. 16 - Last day of Feb.
Open Year Round 5 Daily in aggregate
Black Drum 16" Open Year Round 1 Daily
6 per boat
Black Sea Bass 12.5" May 15–September 21
October 22–December 31
15 Daily
Bluefish 8" Open Year Round 10 Daily
Catfish None Open Year Round No Limit
Chain Pickerel (Pike) 14" CLOSED Mar. 15 – Apr. 30 10 Daily
Cobia None Open Year Round None Closed in Federal Waters
Croaker (Hardhead) 9" Open Year Round 25 Daily
Northern Snakehead None Open Year Round No Limit Illegal to transport live snakehead fish
Red drum (Channel Bass or Puppy Drum) 18" - 27" Open Year Round 1 Daily
Spanish Mackerel 14" Open Year Round 15 Daily Must be landed with head & fins intact
Spotted Seatrout 14" Open Year Round 4 Daily
Summer Flounder 16" Open Year Round 4 Daily
Walleye 15" Open Year Round 5 Daily
Weakfish 13" Open Year Round 1 Daily
White Perch None if caught with hook & line;
8" if caught some other way
Open Year Round No Limit
Yellow Perch 9" Open Year Round 10 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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