Trophy Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass Fishing Areas
- Blairs Valley Lake, Washington County.
- Centennial Lake, Howard County.
- Chesapeake Ranch Estates, Calvert County — All ponds
- Johnson Pond, Wicomico County.
- Leonard Mill Pond, Wicomico County.
- Little Seneca Lake, Montgomery County.
- Patuxent Naval Air Test Center, St. Mary’s County — All ponds
- St. Mary’s Lake, St. Mary’s County — Located on Maryland Route 5
- You may not possess more than five bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass combined) per day while fishing in these areas.
- No bass in possession can measure between 11 and 15 inches long.
- Only one bass in possession may be 15 inches or longer.
Catch-and-Return Bass Fishing Areas
- Potomac River — From Dam No. 2 (Seneca Breaks) upstream to the mouth of the Monocacy River.
- Monocacy River — From the Potomac River upstream to Buckeystown Dam.
- North Branch Potomac River — From the spillway in Cumberland upstream approximately 25 miles to U.S. Route 220 Bridge at Keyser, West Virginia.
- Patapsco River — From Interstate 70 downstream to Maryland Route 144 (Frederick Road).
- Wheatley Lake, Charles County.
- You may not possess Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass in these areas.
- You must immediately release any Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass into the water where it was caught.
Black Bass Tournament Permits
A black bass tournament permit is required if all of the following conditions apply:
- The tournament has 10 or more boats participating.
- The tournament has a specific location where fish are weighed, measured, counted or otherwise entered.
- The tournament provides anglers an offer, reward or incentive for catching black bass.
For tidal bass information and tournament registration, go to www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/bass.
The application deadline is either 15 days prior to the tournament if the contest will have between 10 and 50 boats, or 30 days prior for tournaments with 50 or more boats.
TIPS FOR LIVE RELEASE TOURNAMENTS
- Wipe down live wells before using them. Remove debris that can clog lines or intake systems. Remove algae or plant material that could promote bacterial growth.
- Don’t overload the live well.
- Use a minimum 750gal/hour pump.
- Use ice and water exchanges to keep live well water temperatures 5–7° F below the ambient water temperature.
- In hot weather, circulate the water every two minutes and exchange the water every two to three hours.
- On cooler days, circulate the water every two to nine minutes and exchange the water every half to one hour.
- Act quickly if the live well stops working! Oxygen can be rapidly reduced in a live well leading to lethal levels for fish within an hour. Bucket in fresh water every 10 minutes, use a spare pump, transfer fish to a working live well, or release them.
- Rough water and warm conditions can increase the stress on fish and require more of your attention to keep the fish alive.
- Use an effective strategy that minimizes wounding the fish.
- Remove dead fish from live wells and store in an ice chest.
- When transporting fish in a bag, be sure that there is enough water to cover the fish, and frequently refresh the bag with well-oxygenated water.
BASIC CATCH & RELEASE FISH HANDLING TIPS
- Don’t hold the fish out of the water for more than 30 seconds.
- Wet hands and hold fish by lip with one hand and support its body with the other hand.
- Hold fish over water in case it is dropped.
- When removing the hook, use a soft rubber or small-mesh nylon landing net to hold fish, or firmly hold the fish with a wet rag or glove.
- Use a non-offset circle hook when using bait to reduce the potential for deep-hooking the fish.
- Use barbless hooks with artificial bait. Barbs can be pinched down with pliers or filed off.
- Always have pliers, a de-hooker or hemostats handy for deeply hooked fish.
- If the hook cannot be removed from a deep or gut hooked fish without causing bleeding to the fish, then leave the hook in and cut the line as close to the mouth as possible.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.