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Marine Fisheries


Closed Season (Saltwater) The period of time during which no person shall take, possess or land a particular species taken by sportfishing methods, regardless of where taken. Any species taken to the contrary must be returned immediately, without avoidable injury, to the waters from which it was taken.

  • Anglers cannot be in possession of fish legally taken in another state when on the waters or shores of Connecticut during a closed season for that species in Connecticut.

Daily Creel Limit The number of fish of a species or species group that can be retained by an individual angler during the period from 12:01 a.m. to midnight. Any species taken to the contrary must be returned immediately, without avoidable injury, to the waters from which it was taken.

“Culling” or “High-Grading” means discarding or returning a previously retained fish to the water in order to retain a more desirable fish. Any fish placed on a stringer, in a container, cooler, live well or similar device, or otherwise not immediately released to the water shall count against the daily creel limit. “Culling” or “High-Grading” is prohibited in the Marine District!

National Saltwater Angler Registry

Congress, through the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, called on NOAA Fisheries to create a national registry of saltwater anglers. As required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NOAA will deliver to congress a report on all the efforts underway to phase in the new Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP)a partnership working to improve saltwater recreational fishing data collection and provide more informed fisheries conservation.

The registry will improve data collection by creating a universe of saltwater anglers, essentially a phonebook of fishermen. This resource will help reduce bias and improve the efficiency of catch and effort surveys. Instead of asking a random sample of coastal U.S. residents if they’ve gone fishing (what is currently done), an angler registry would allow surveyors to call upon those who have already identified themselves as saltwater fishermen. The National Saltwater Angler Registry team is in charge of creating this “phonebook” of anglers to ensure that marine anglers are accurately accounted for.

Anglers please note:

New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts also have marine license requirements. Though Connecticut has reciprocity with these neighboring states, residents of Connecticut are required to have a CT Resident Marine Waters Sport Fishing License to fish in the Marine District.

Connecticut anglers holding valid Marine Waters Fishing License are exempt from National Saltwater Angler Registry.

For more information, please see


Connecticut State Waters Boundary

Fishing Across State Boundary Lines

Anglers are reminded that several states have areas of jurisdiction in Long Island Sound and fishing regulations can vary between these states. When on the waters or shores of each state, anglers must comply with all regulations of that state, regardless of the port they intend to return to. To be legal when crossing state boundary lines, anglers must abide by the most restrictive of the states’ regulations for each species.

Latitude/Longitude coordinates depicting the Connecticut boundary line in Long Island Sound and Fishers Island Sound are available in the Marine Fisheries Information Circular which can be found on the DEEP web site: The Information Circular can also be obtained by calling 860-434-6043 or email:


Long Island Sound map is for general reference only. For detailed information,
please refer to Navigational Charts.


Black sea bass occurs along the Atlantic Coast of the United States from Cape Cod to Florida.

Black sea bass has an unusual life cycle: they are protogynous hermaphrodites, which mean they start life as a female and when they reach 9–13 inches they change sex to become males initiated by visual cues. Most sea bass are born females. Although some fish are males from the time they reach sexual maturity, most produce eggs when they first mature.The age at which individuals “switch” from female to male is variable, although most fish have done so before they are 6 years old. In heavily exploited populations in which larger, older males are selectively harvested, the resulting death of males causes females to change sex at a younger age and smaller size than would be the case in populations less depleted by fishing.

Black sea bass generally overwinter offshore in deeper water on the continental shelf to 100 fathoms. In the spring, this species displays a general northward and inshore movement, expanding its range as far north as Cape Cod from May to October. During the summer, adult sea bass gatheraround rocky bottoms, sunken wrecks, old pilings, and wharves. At this time ofyear, they are most abundant at depths of less than 120 feet. Young-of-the-year and yearlings tend to summer in estuaries, which are critically important nursery grounds for this species.

Black sea bass reproduce from February to July, with the spawning season starting earliest in the southern portion of their range and progressing northward as spring passes. Off the southern New England coast, they reproduce from mid-May until the end of June. The eggs are buoyant, floating in the water column until they hatch 1½ to 5 days after fertilization. The larvae drift in bays, inlets, and offshore areas; they become bottom-dwelling when they have grown to about ½ inch in length.

The largest black sea bass caught by an angler in Connecticut’s waters weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces (Six-Mile Reef, Clinton). A 12-inch fish generally weighs 1 pound, while an 18 to 20-inch fish weighs about 3 pounds. Females mature at 2–4 years of age. Approximate size at maturity is 7 to 8 inches.


Holly Sulzinski with her youth state record black sea bass.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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