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Striped Bass

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 Allowed

Creel & Size Limits

Regulations

Restrictions & Remarks

Jan. 1–Feb. 29

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 15

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: dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/sbmaps.

Spring Trophy Season
April 16–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

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: dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/sbmaps.

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: dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/sbmaps.

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

Striped Bass Tournament Authorization is required

Striped bass tournament organizers need DNR authorization to hold a tournament.

Submit requests including name of the tournament, date(s), location of check-ins, qualifying area, expected number of participants, and charity (if applicable) to fishingreports.dnr@maryland.gov.

The deadline for submitting 2016 striped bass tournament requests is 5 p.m. January 30, 2016.

Striped bass tournaments held prior to May 1 must be catch & release.

Be on the Lookout for Tagged Fish!

The success of tagging studies relies on anglers like you. If you catch a tagged fish, please follow the instructions printed on the tag, or call the Fisheries Service at 800-688-3467. Please record the tag number, capture date, fishing location, and total length.

To view maps of open catch-and-release and spring trophy season areas go to
dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/sbmaps.

SUSQUEHANNA FLATS, LOWER SUSQUEHANNA RIVER & NORTHEAST RIVER

Season

Fishing Locations Allowed

Creel & Size Limits

Regulations

Restrictions & Remarks

Dec 20–May 3

Susquehanna Flats, upstream of a line from Sandy Point to Turkey Point and the Susquehanna River downstream from a line connecting the Susquehanna State Park boat ramp at Lapidum to Twin Rocks to Tomes Wharf in Port Deposit; and the Northeast River

No harvest

Catch and release only

  • Stinger hooks are prohibited.
  • Barbless hooks are required when trolling.
  • Non-offset circle or J hooks with less than ½ inch gap are required when using bait.
  • No more than six lines per boat are allowed when trolling.
  • Eels may not be used as bait.

May 4–May 15

Susquehanna Flats closed to
striped bass fishing

Season Closed

Season Closed

No catch and release fishing

May 16–May 31

Susquehanna Flats reopen to
striped bass fishing

1 per person per day between 20 and 26 inches

Eels may not be used as bait

June 1–Dec. 20

Susquehanna Flats and all Bay waters including tributaries open to striped bass fishing

20 inch minimum size;  2 fish per person per day—only 1 of which may be  longer than 28 inches

Atlantic Ocean, COASTAL BAYS & THEIR tidal TRIBUTARIES

Season

Fishing Locations Allowed

Creel & Size Limits

Regulations

Restrictions & Remarks

Jan. 1–Dec. 31

No area restrictions

28-inch minimum size, 1 fish per person per day.

Striped bass may not be caught, harassed, or possessed in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which stretches from 3 to 200 miles off the coast.

reservoirs

Season

Fishing Locations Allowed

Creel & Size Limits

Regulations

Restrictions & Remarks

Reservoirs

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

Sport Fish State Records

Rules and Procedures

Maryland DNR maintains sport fish state records and awards a plaque to an angler whose catch exceeds the current state record or establishes a new species category. Positive identification of the species of fish is mandatory for consideration of state record applications. The catch must be inspected in person by a Maryland Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist. Immerse the fish in ice water until it can be weighed in order to preserve the weight.

Call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8300 to report a potential state record catch. You must submit a state record application within two weeks of the date you catch the fish.

State record fish are determined by weight. Most fishing tackle shops do not have certified scales, so call ahead. Other establishments that sell products by weight such as a grocery, deli or shipping store may have a certified scale and be willing to help.

Except for fish in the invasive species division, all fish must be legally caught with rod and reel during its open season. From the time that a fish strikes or takes a bait or lure, the angler must hook and fight the fish without the aid of any other person. The reel must be operated manually. Once the leader is brought to the rod tip, more than one person is permitted to help land the fish.

Fish designated as eligible for the Invasive Species division of the Maryland Fishing Challenge (currently northern snakehead, blue catfish and flathead catfish) can be caught and kept by all legal recreational fishing gear including rod and reel, bow and spear.

Fish caught from privately-owned fee fishing waters are not eligible for record consideration.

The fish must be considered trophy sized for DNR to consider opening a new species category for recognition. Thresholds for trophy size are established by DNR using the best data available to create a benchmark weight.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reserves the right to investigate the methods used in catching the fish and the accuracy of measuring and weighing. It also reserves the right to reject any application based on the results of the investigation.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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