Saltwater Fishing Regulations
Rules are subject to change
Please check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fishing and Boating Services regulations page for possible changes at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/regulations/changes.aspx
Chesapeake Bay and Tributaries and Atlantic Ocean, Coastal Bays and Tributaries
It is Legal
- To keep any size white perch if caught by hook and line.
- To use an umbrella rig that has no more than two hooks or two sets of hooks.
- To catch and release alewife herring, American shad, blueback herring, hickory shad and sharks.
It is Illegal
- To have in one’s possession aboard any boat on the tidal waters of Maryland any striped bass cut up or filleted at any time. Striped bass must be landed whole.
- To have in one’s possession aboard any boat on the tidal waters of Maryland more than 15 pounds of any fish for which a size or weight limit is prescribed by law or regulation in a condition that the size or weight of the fish cannot be determined.
- To use Sabiki rigs or mackerel trees in Maryland. (Multiple hook rigs including Sabiki rigs and mackerel trees are allowed in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Atlantic Ocean.)
- To operate a boat within the area 400 yards below or 400 yards above the Conowingo Dam.
Towns such as Ocean City may have special fishing ordinances. Be sure to check local jurisdictions’ websites for restrictions.
These are the only types of gear you may use in tidal waters
Rules and Exceptions
Hook and line, rod and reel and handlines
Nets (general rules for allowable nets, including dip nets)
|May not bait nets |
Nets are prohibited in certain county waters at certain times of year. Call 410-260-8300 or 800-688-3467 for more information.
|Radius may not exceed 10 feet|
|May only be used to land fish caught by other means|
Bow, Gig, Spear and Spear Gun
Hand and Noodling
|No special rules|
It is Illegal
- To buy, sell, or offer to buy any fish or crab harvested under a recreational license.
- To use waders or boots soled with felt or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing liquid.
- To disturb, take, destroy or possess the nest or eggs of a terrapin or snapping turtle.
Leave No Trace
- Be considerate of others.
- Take trash with you.
- Pack it in. Pack it out.
- Clean your fish at home.
- Avoid impacting stream banks and lake shores.
- Do not dispose of unused bait on or near the water.
- Recycle or dispose of old lures and line.
- Avoid discarding dead or moribund fish.
- Respect private property.