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Chesapeake Bay Seasons, Sizes & Limits


Minimum Size Limits


Creel Limit


American Eel

9 inches Jan 1–Aug 31, except open year round for spears and baited traps or pots Daily—25
Bass (Largemouth and 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 May 15–December 31 Daily—15


8 inches Open Year Round Shore or Private Boat: Daily—3
For-Hire Boat: Daily—5


None Open Year Round None

Chain Pickerel (Pike)

14 inches CLOSED March 15–April 30 Daily—10


40 inches June 15–September 15 1 cobia per person per day; or up to 2 cobia per vessel per day if there are 2 or more individuals on the vessel

Croaker (Hardhead)

9 inches Open Year Round Daily—25

Northern Snakehead

None Open Year Round None Illegal to possess live snakehead fish.

Red Drum (Channel Bass or Puppy Drum)

18–27 inches Open Year Round Daily—1


See Highly Migratory Species


None Open Year Round Daily—4

Snapper Species (includes many species, please see list)

None Open Year Round Daily—20 Snapper species—

Spanish Mackerel

14 inches Open Year Round Daily—15 Must be landed with head and fins intact.


None Open Year Round Daily—50

Spotted Seatrout

14 inches Open Year Round Daily—4

Striped Bass

See Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass

Summer Flounder (Fluke)

16.5 inches Open Year Round Daily—4


16 inches CLOSED May 16–June 30 January 1–May 15: Daily—4
July 1–October 31: Daily—2
November 1–December 31: Daily—4


15 inches Open Year Round Daily—5


13 inches Open Year Round Daily—1

White Perch

None if caught with hook and line; 8 inch minimum if caught with other gear Open Year Round None

Yellow Perch

9 inches Open Year Round Daily—10

Alewife Herring, American Shad, Atlantic Sturgeon, Blueback Herring, HICKORY SHAD and Shortnose Sturgeon

Areas Closed to Fishing—Feb, 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.