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Seasons, Minimum Sizes, Daily Creel & Possession Limits

Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

The following tables summarize rules governing the harvest and possession of fish species that anglers commonly catch in Maryland. This is an abridged summary and does not include all regulated species. Full information and updates are available at www.dsd.state.md.us/COMAR/ComarHome.html

Nontidal

Species

Minimum Size Limits

Season

Creel Limit

Remarks

American eel 9 inches Open Year Round Daily—25

Possession—25

Eels may not be taken by gig in any Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Areas or Special Trout Fisheries Management Area.
BaitFISH
(Including Madtoms)
None Open Year Round Daily—35 in aggregate

Possession—35 in aggregate

Bass (Largemouth & Smallmouth) 12 inches or as provided for by
special regulations.
CLOSED
March 1–June 15
Daily—5 in aggregate

Possession—10 in aggregate

Catch & Release is permitted at all times.
Bivalve/shellfish (mussels & clams) CLOSED
Carp None Open Year Round Daily—15

Possession—30

Chain pickerel 14 inches Open Year Round Daily—5
Channel Catfish None Open Year Round Daily—5

Possession—10

Crappie None Open Year Round Daily—15

Possession—30

Herring
(Alewife & Blueback)
CLOSED
Muskellunge & Tiger Muskie 36 inches Open Year Round Daily—1

Possession—2

Northern pike 30 inches Open Year Round Daily—2

Possession­­—4

Shad (American/White & Hickory) CLOSED Catch & Release is permitted.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRID STRIPED BASS 18 inches Open Year Round 2 striped bass/striped bass hybrid per day, only one of which may be over 30 inches.

Possession—4

Striped bass and hybrid striped bass in nontidal waters may be taken only from Liberty Reservoir, Piney Run Reservoir, Triadelphia Reservoir, Conowingo Reservoir, Broadford Lake, Jennings Randolph Reservoir and Rocky Gorge Reservoir. See table footer for contact information.
Suckers None Open Year Round Daily—30

Possession—60

Sunfish, including Bluegills & Rock Bass (commonly known as Red Eye or Goggle-Eye) None Open Year Round Daily—15 in aggregate

Possession—30 in aggregate

Trout—statewide
(all species of Trout)
None—Except as provided in Special Trout Management Area Regulations. Open Year Round—Except as provided in Special Trout Management Area Regulations. Daily—2 in aggregate

Possession—4 in aggregate—Except as provided in Special Trout Management Area Regulations.

Trout:
Put-and-Take Areas (all species of Trout)
None Open Year Round Daily—5 in aggregate

Possession—10 in aggregate

See Put-and-Take section for
specific requirements.
Walleye Minimum Size: 15 inches year round, and during January 1–April 15 the minimum size is 15 inches with a maximum size of 20 inches, in the Potomac River mainstem approximately 0.5 miles upriver from Chain Bridge to the spillway in Cumberland. Open year round—Except on Deep Creek Lake and the Youghiogheny River downstream of Route 42 bridge where it is closed from March 1 through April 15. Daily—5

Possession—10

White Perch None Open Year Round None
Yellow Perch Nontidal rivers and streams 9 inches Open Year Round Daily—10

Possession—20

The possession of yellow perch eggs requires prior authorization from DNR.
Nontidal lakes and ponds None
The taking of American shad, hickory shad, blueback herring, alewife herring, Atlantic sturgeon, and shortnose sturgeon is prohibited.

Special Closures:

1. Magothy River from the base of Lake Waterford Dam downstream for 3,300 feet is closed to all fishing during February, March, and April.
2. Severn River and Severn Run from the Route 3 Bridge downstream for 2,400 feet during February, March, and April.

Contact Information for Restricted Areas: Baltimore City Reservoirs—for Prettyboy and Liberty (boat permits required) information, rules, and regulations, call 410-795-6150. For Loch Raven call 410-887-7692. Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Lakes—Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge fishing by permit only. For permits, rules and regulations call the information center at Brighton Dam 301-774-9124.

YOUGHIOGHENY RIVER LAKE (RESERVOIR)

Species

Minimum Size Limits

Season

Creel Limit

Remarks

American eel 9 inches Open Year Round Daily–25
American Shad None Open Year Round Daily–3
Baitfish, fish bait None Open Year Round Daily–50 in aggregate
Bass –
Largemouth,
Smallmouth
& Spotted
15 inches January 1–April 14 and November 1–December 31 Daily–4 in aggregate No Harvest (Catch and Release) all other dates; No tournaments during closure.
12 inches June 17–October 31 Daily–6 in aggregate
Crayfish None Open Year Round Daily–50 Head must be immediately removed behind the eyes upon capture unless used as bait in the water from which taken
Gizzard shad None Open Year Round Daily–50
Mud bugs (dragonfly nymphs) None Open Year Round None
Muskellunge & Tiger Muskie 40 inches Open Year Round Daily–1 in aggregate
Northern pike 24 inches Open Year Round Daily–2
Pickerel 18 inches Open Year Round Daily–4
River herring None Open Year Round Daily–50 in aggregate
Sauger 12 inches January 1–March 14 and May 6–December 31 Daily–6
Striped Bass &
Hybrid Striped Bass
20 inches Open Year Round Daily–2 in aggregate
Sunfish, Yellow perch, White perch, Crappies, Catfish, Rock bass,
Suckers, Carp & White bass
None Open Year Round Daily–50 in aggregate
Trout & Salmon (all species) 7 inches 8 a.m. April 15–September 4 Daily–5 in aggregate
January 1–February 28 and September 5–December 31 Daily–3 in aggregate
Walleye & Hybrids 15 inches January 1–March 14 and May 6–December 31 Daily–6 in aggregate
PADDLEFISH, MUSSELS, CLAMS, & THREATENED & ENDANGERED SPECIES Closed

CHESAPEAKE BAY & ITS TIDAL TRIBUTARIES

Species

Minimum Size Limits

Season

Creel Limit

Remarks

American Eel 9 inches January 1 – August 31, except open year round for spears and baited traps or pots Daily—25
Bass (Largemouth & Smallmouth) 15 inches
March 1–June 15
Open Year Round Daily—5 in aggregate
12 inches
June 16 through last day in February
Black Drum 16 inches Open Year Round Daily—1

Boat Limit—6

Black Sea Bass 12.5 inches

CLOSED January 1 – May 14 and September 22 – October 21

Daily – 15
Bluefish 8 inches Open Year Round Daily—10
Catfish None Open Year Round None
Chain pickerel (Pike) 14 inches CLOSED March 15–April 30 Daily—10
Cobia None Open year round None
Croaker (Hardhead) 9 inches Open Year Round Daily—25
Northern Snakehead None Open Year Round None Illegal to transport live snakehead fish.
Red drum (Channel Bass or Puppy Drum) 18–27 inches Open Year Round Daily—1
Sharks See Highly Migratory Species Section
Spanish Mackerel 14 inches Open Year Round Daily—15 Must be landed with head and fins intact.
Spotted seatrout 14 inches Open Year Round Daily—4
Striped Bass See Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass Section
Summer Flounder (Fluke) 17 inches Open Year Round Daily – 4
Walleye 15 inches Open Year Round Daily—5
Weakfish 13 inches Open Year Round Daily—1
White perch None if caught with hook & line; 8 inch minimum if caught with other gear Open Year Round None
Yellow perch 9 inches Open Year Round Daily—10
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.

ATLANTIC OCEAN, COASTAL BAYS & TRIBUTARIES

Species

Minimum Size Limits

Season

Creel Limit

Remarks

American eel 9 inches January 1 – August 31, except open year round for spears and baited traps or pots Daily—25
Black Drum 16 inches Open Year Round Daily—1 Boat limit—6
Black sea bass 12.5 inches

CLOSED January 1 – May 14 and September 22 – October 21

Daily – 15
Bluefish 8 inches Open Year Round Daily—10
Cobia None Open Year Round None
Croaker (Hardhead) 9 inches Open Year Round Daily—25
Dolphinfish (Mahi-Mahi) None Open Year Round Daily—10 Boat limit—60 Only applies to federal waters.
Grouper species None Open Year Round Daily—1 Grouper species—www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/getfile.aspx?file=08.02.05.29.htm
Lobster
*Please see additional recreational lobster information below
33⁄8–5¼ inches
carapace length
Open Year Round
Except Feb. 1 – March 31
100/person/24 hour period or 500 for a 5-day or longer trip when using gear other than lobster traps Must be landed whole. Spearing is prohibited. No egg-bearing females. Refer to online regulations for details—www.eregulations.com/maryland/fishing/
Red drum (Channel Bass or Puppy Drum) 18–27 inches Open Year Round Daily—1
Scup (Porgy) 8 inches Open Year Round Daily—50
Sharks See Highly Migratory Species Section
Snapper species None Open Year Round Daily—20 in aggregate Snapper species—www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/getfile.aspx?file=08.02.05.29.htm
Spanish Mackerel 14 inches Open Year Round Daily—15
Spotted seatrout 14 inches Open Year Round Daily—4
Striped Bass See Atlantic Striped Bass Section
Summer Flounder (Fluke) 17 inches Open Year Round Daily – 4
Tautog 16 inches Jan. 1-Nov. 26 Jan. 1–May 15 and Nov. 1–Nov. 26, Daily—4
May 16–Oct. 31, Daily—2
Tilefish species None Open Year Round Daily—7 in aggregate Tilefish species—www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/getfile.aspx?file=08.02.05.29.htm
Wahoo None Open Year Round Daily—2 Only applies to federal waters.
Weakfish 13 inches Open Year Round Daily—1
The taking of American shad, hickory shad, alewife herring, blueback herring, Atlantic sturgeon and shortnose sturgeon is prohibited.
*Gear: A lobster trap must have:

  • A minimum of one rectangular escape vent which must be a minimum of 2 inches by 5¾ inches; or
  • A minimum of two circular escape vents which must have a minimum diameter of 25⁄8 inches

It is unlawful to catch, land, possess, sell, offer to sell, or transport any:

  • Lobster that is egg-bearing or from which eggs have been intentionally removed;
  • Female lobster bearing a V-shaped notch which is:
    • A straight-sided triangular cut with or without setal hairs, at least 1/8 inch in depth and tapering to a sharp point
      in the flipper next to the right of the center flipper as viewed from the rear of the female lobster; or
    • Mutilated in a manner which could hide, obscure, or obliterate such a mark.

An individual who catches an egg bearing female lobster that measures 338 inches to 5¼ inches in length from the rear end of the eye socket along a line parallel to the center line of body shell (carapace) to the rear of the body shell (carapace) must:

  • Mark the lobster to the right of the center flipper as viewed from the rear of the female lobster when the underside
    of the lobster is down with a v-shaped notch that:

    • Is made by means of a sharp bladed instrument;
    • Is at least ¼ inch in length;
    • Is not greater than ½ inch in depth; and
    • Tapers to a sharp point; and

• Immediately release the lobster.