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Maryland Fishing Report – March 25

Photo of boy holding red-eared sunfish

Mason Bair went fishing with family and caught this large red-ear sunfish. Photo by Zack Stough

A lot of people find themselves with extra time on their hands. We encourage anglers to take advantage of the incredible fishing opportunities Maryland has to offer, provided everyone practices social distancing, avoids crowded areas, and minimizes social interaction. This is an especially good time to safely take youngsters out of the house to enjoy some fishing together, again being careful and thinking everything through when planning your trip.

Department biologists have instituted several volunteer angler surveys to help them understand and better manage some of the important fish species to anglers as well as blue crabs and horseshoe crabs. This information is very important to the biologists who manage the species listed in the surveys, which are available on our website. 

Anglers are reminded that all catch and release of striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay ends March 31 and will not open to striped bass fishing of any kind until May 1. A review of catch-and release-tips can be viewed on our website

In order to protect public health and safety and to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all Licensing and Registration Centers are now closed. Governor Hogan has issued an executive order related to licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations that may be expiring or up for renewal during the state of emergency. The executive order immediately grants a grace period of 30 days after the date of termination of the state of emergency — this includes fishing and boating licenses.

Our online COMPASS portal provides 24/7 self service access to our entire product catalog of recreational licenses, permits, and stamps plus many other Maryland Department of Natural Resources programs. 

Read more…

Pumpout Grants Available for Maryland Marinas for 2020 Boating Season

Applications Due April 15

Photo of a pumpout station at a marinaThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the availability of Pumpout Operations and Maintenance grants for the 2020 boating season. This program assists marinas in offering reliable pumpout service to Maryland boaters. Applications are due April 15. 

State and federal laws prohibit the discharge of raw sewage from boats. Maryland law requires marinas with more than 50 slips, as well as any new or expanding marina, to have a pumpout station.

Pumpout Operations and Maintenance grants are made available through the federal Clean Vessel Act and state Waterway Improvement Fund, which are both funded by fees and taxes paid by boaters. Read more…

Maryland Fishing Report – March 18

Photo of boy holding a crappie he caught

Michael Novak Jr. caught this beautiful crappie recently while fishing with his dad. Photo by Michael Novak

We face extraordinary times and everyone must make decisions regarding the safety of ourselves and those we love. Given Maryland’s current State of Emergency, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has made adjustments as well.

After careful consideration, the department decided to suspend spring trout stocking to protect the health and safety of our state employees and also the public and angling community. We need to avoid a situation that encourages anglers to gather near stocked locations. The department may also cancel or postpone fishing-related events this spring, including youth fishing rodeos and fishing tournaments due to the Executive Order prohibiting gatherings of 50 people or more.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. In fact, the department has already stocked 82,700 brown, golden, and rainbow trout across the state. While it is unknown at this time when trout stocking will resume, we do encourage anglers to safely take advantage of incredible fishing opportunities Maryland has to offer.

For those looking for ways to occupy children stuck at home, consider a peaceful fishing adventure — obviously taking care to keep your proper social distance from others and avoid unnecessary exposure. 

Please keep an eye on the department’s website and social media for updates, and we will resume regular operations once we are safely able.

Be safe, be responsible, be kind to each other, and we will get through these trying times together. 

Read more…

DNR Activities During State of Emergency

Information for our Patrons, Customers, and Friends

Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are taking proactive steps to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland.

Following Governor Hogan’s emergency actions to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will remain operational, but we are implementing changes to certain department activities, customer service functions, and scheduled events to minimize the spread of the virus. Read more…

Maryland Fishing Report – March 11

Photo of girl holding a fish she caught

Julia Kennedy got to spend a fun afternoon fishing with her mom and sister on a sunny afternoon and caught her first bluegill sunfish. Photo by Carrie Kennedy

The signs of spring are everywhere and the warm sunny weather has families outside, enjoying the outdoors together. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is busy stocking local waters with trout and all are preparing for the grand event — the traditional opening day of trout season at 5:30 a.m. on March 28. Local community ponds are an ideal place to enjoy family fun and get our younger anglers started. Bluegill sunfish have been the most common fish youngsters start out with, they are feisty and usually a sucker for a garden worm and bobber.

The Chesapeake Bay striped bass catch-and-release season is underway and will be open through March 31. Regulations can be found on the department’s website.

When using fish, crabs, worms, or processed bait, recreational anglers in the Susquehanna Flats and Northeast River may only use a circle hook, or “J” hook with a gap of less than or equal to 1/2 inch between the point and the shank. Eels may not be used as bait.

For trollers, stinger hooks are prohibited, barbless hooks are required, and no more than six lines are allowed while trolling.

The proposed summer-fall Chesapeake Bay striped bass regulations are in the scoping stage and comments are being solicited at this time. The comment period is open now and will close at 11:59 pm on March 18, 2020. Send your comments to the department by email to  or submit online.

And finally, our biologists have instituted several volunteer angler surveys to help them understand and better manage some of the important fish species to anglers as well as blue crabs and horseshoe crabs. This information is very important to the biologists who manage the species listed in the volunteer angler surveys. 

Read more…

Maryland’s Endangered Tiger Salamanders Stage a Comeback

Rare Amphibians Rally in Newly Restored Habitat

Photo of a tiger salamander seeks love and parenthood in a restored Delmarva bay habitat

A tiger salamander seeks a mate in a restored Delmarva bay habitat. Photo by Kevin Stohlgren

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists are reporting a dramatic increase in the reproducing population of the tiger salamander — the largest American terrestrial salamander — in the department’s spring 2020 surveys.

“They are having a great year and it’s great to see them concentrated in the areas where we have restored the natural wetlands they need to survive,” department biologist Scott Smith said.

Maryland’s Eastern Shore provides a unique type of depression wetlands called Delmarva bays. In their natural state, Delmarva bays have few trees, are seasonally flooded, and usually dry out in late summer. However, most of these singular wetlands have been altered and no longer provide habitat for the many rare plant and animal species they once supported.  Read more…

Wildfire Risk Heightens as Spring Approaches

Maryland on Alert for Dangerous Conditions

Photo of wildfire burning in wooded areaSpring wildfire season has begun in Maryland, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents across the state to prepare and help prevent wildfires.

Wildfire occurrence is highest in the spring when forest fuels are the driest and weather conditions — warm, dry, and windy — are most conducive for the spread of fire. On days when this threat is most likely, the department will issue a “red flag” status. Read more…

Spring Trout Stocking Season Begins in Maryland

Hatcheries Providing 300,000 Fish Across State

Photo of trout in streamWith spring right around the corner, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is set to release hundreds of thousands of brown, golden, and rainbow trout across the state for its annual spring trout stocking. Crews will stock more than 300,000 trout in lakes, rivers, and streams in 18 Maryland counties and more than 130 locations from March through early June. 

The department raises the majority of these trout in the state’s hatcheries, including the Albert M. Powell Hatchery and Bear Creek Hatchery, and through a partnership with the privately owned Mettiki Hatchery.
Read more…

Annual Photo Contest Now Taking Submissions

2020 Contest Runs Through Aug. 31

Photo of female red-winged black bird gathering branches in springtime

This photo of a female red-winged black bird by Larry Helms earned second place in the Spring category of the 2019 Photo Contest..

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting entries for its annual photo contest. Photographers, novice or professional, can enter for the chance to win cash and other great prizes.

Winning entries will be posted online, featured in an issue of the seasonal Maryland Natural Resource magazine, and placed in the 2021 wall calendar. Read more…

Maryland Hunter Safety Education Class Offered in Garrett County

Three-Session Class Begins March 31

Photo of hunters being shown firearms safety tipsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering a Hunter Safety Education class on March 31, April 2, and April 4, 2020 at Herrington Manor State Park in Oakland, Garrett County.

Classes on March 31 and April 2 will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and class on April 4 will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants must attend all three sessions and the class is limited to 30 students. Any student under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Read more…

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AccessDNR March 2020

The March 2020 edition of a monthly video newsletter hosted by Gregg Bortz.