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Maryland Fishing Report – June 12

Photo of man on a small boat with a fish

Bret Grossnickle found some quiet time and this beautiful smallmouth bass at Liberty Reservoir. Photo by Bret Grossnickle

Summer breezes and warm temperatures set the stage for all kinds of fishing this week. Whether fishing in the Atlantic Ocean or Chesapeake Bay, or just lazily watching a fishing rod nestled in a forked stick at your favorite freshwater fishing hole, it’s all good. We can all find a bit of peace and reflection wherever the outdoors takes us.

As the weather gets warmer, so does the water temperature. Summer heat can be damaging to fish, and for the striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay, certain conditions can be deadly for fish that are caught and released. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides a weekly striped bass fishing advisory forecast during the hottest months, using “warning flags” to let anglers better plan their fishing to help protect our state fish. 

Striped Bass 7-Day Fishing Advisory Forecast for June 12-18, with green flag days every day except Thursday and Friday, which have yellow flags..

Read more…


Qualification Shoots Scheduled for Managed Deer Hunts

Proficiency Tests Necessary to Participate in Managed Deer Hunts

Photo of man shooting at targets with a shotgun

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released the 2024 shooter qualification schedule, which includes 21 qualification sessions at 9 locations across the state. Additional events are available upon reservation.

These events allow hunters to take the necessary proficiency test required to obtain a shooter qualification card in order to participate in many of the managed deer hunts scheduled in the fall and winter. The department uses a lottery system to select participants for many of the managed deer hunts. There are various deadlines for the lotteries, which can be found on the department’s website. Read more…


DNR Offers Kayak Fishing Program at Janes Island State Park July 9-12

Photo of person fishing from a kayak in a marshy area

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Adult Angler Education Program is offering a four-day kayak fishing course July 9-12 at Janes Island State Park in Somerset county. Staff will teach basic skills and showcase the angling opportunities within Maryland’s brackish tidal marshes. 

Only a limited number of spots are available and registrants are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Participants must be able to attend all four days as each instructional day builds on the previous one.  Read more…


New Land Purchase Gives Wills Mountain State Park a Path for Public Access

Environmental cleanup and ecological survey will take time, but officials look forward to opening the long-inaccessible park

A view from a high vantage point showing a valley and mountains.

The view from Wills Mountain State Park. Photo by Joe Zimmermann/Maryland DNR

Just past the stone ruins of an old hotel, Maryland Park Service Ranger Cliff Puffenberger came to a clearing.

The edge of an outcrop revealed green mountains that filled the horizon and birds of prey that swept over rocky cliff faces. The expansive view, which stretched from Pennsylvania to West Virginia, overlooked the nearby city of Cumberland and the roads and rail lines that made it a hub of transportation in western Maryland.

“This is a magical place, it really is,” Puffenberger, manager of the nearby Rocky Gap State Park, said.

The lookout is part of Wills Mountain State Park, a scenic stretch of land in Allegany County that’s been officially inaccessible to the public for decades. But a new property acquisition by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will open the way for public access. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: Blaze a New Trail this Summer

Photo of people hiking on a trail near a lake

Hiking at Tuckahoe State Park. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

June is Great Outdoors Month, and this year the month kicked off with National Trails Day. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers thousands of miles of great trails for hiking, biking, horse riding and other activities. These marked paths can be found for any skill level or terrain, within the hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife management areas, state parks, and state forests

DNR is also expanding the way trails can be enjoyed. Among our many activities statewide, the Department of Natural Resources dedicated a new “sensory trail” at Tuckahoe State Park. This easy-to-navigate loop trail provides a series of stations designed to allow hikers to recognize different sounds, textures, and smells along the trail, thereby gaining confidence in their own abilities to interpret the environment at their own pace. We are continually looking for ways to make sure that nature is accessible by everyone.  Read more…


State Forest Trails Trek Deep Into Maryland’s Nature

Photo of stream in forest

Savage River State Forest in early fall. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

For those looking for an outdoor experience that truly gets away from it all, Maryland has 214,000 acres of public forest land, much of which is open to hikers, bikers, birders, anglers, photographers, and campers.

Trails are available in all 11 forests managed by the Maryland Forest Service. State forests have short hikes that are perfect for a day trip, as well as long trails through remote terrain for real wilderness aficionados. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 5

Photo of woman on a boat holding a fish

Chesapeake Channa, photo courtesy of Brooke Wolf.

Although the season doesn’t officially change until June 20, it sure feels like summer, and everyone is enjoying the outdoors, especially their favorite fishing adventures. A popular pastime is fishing for invasives like blue catfish and Chesapeake Channa, also known as northern snakeheads, which provide a wonderful dinner item. 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists are busy studying striped bass; interested anglers can keep up on the latest striped bass findings and other current news on our website.

Two license-free fishing days remain for the 2024 fishing season, on June 8 and July 4. This is a wonderful opportunity to invite someone who has never fished before or has given it up, don’t let the opportunity pass – you just might find a new fishing buddy.

Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves $4.5 Million for Recreation and Land Preservation

Funding includes $2.1 million for Rural Legacy Area conservation easements

Photo of farm with mountain in background

Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Board of Public Works today approved Maryland Department of Natural Resources items including $4.5 million in grants to local governments and land trusts to preserve and protect land, and provide recreational opportunities for Marylanders. Read more…


Maryland Aquaculture Leases Produce Record Yield of Oysters in 2023

Photo of oysters being gathered into large baskets

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

Maryland’s growing shellfish aquaculture operations harvested a record 94,286 bushels of oysters in 2023, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported.  Read more…


Wineberries Are a Tasty Treat—and a Lesson in Invasive Species Management

The plant is widespread in Maryland, but eating their fruit can help stem their growth

Wineberries on a branch

Wineberries are known for their bright red color and sweet, slightly tart taste. Photo by Anna Paff

In the summer, spots of red begin to appear in the forests of Maryland.

Wineberries pop up every year, and it’s an increasingly common tradition in the area to pick these bright red, raspberry-like fruits from forests and trails. Their sweet, somewhat tart taste makes them a sought-after ingredient in baking or cocktail recipes, or they can be a quick snack, pulled straight from the bush.

They’re also highly invasive, and experts and plant managers are trying to balance the species’ delectability with their harm to local ecosystems.

For Maryland Department of Natural Resources staff who do a lot of work in invasive plant management, the wineberry’s taste can be a tool for its control. Read more…


Maryland Spring Turkey Hunters Harvest 4,959 Birds

State reports second-highest seasonal harvest on record

Photo of wild turkey in a field of buttercups

Photo by Erik Yetter, submitted to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo contest.

Maryland hunters harvested 4,959 wild turkeys during the 2024 spring regular and junior turkey seasons. This year’s harvest was 7% lower than the record amount set last spring, but surpassed the harvest totals from previous seasons. Read more…


Baltimore Project Brings Together Environmental Resilience and Community Development

The Middle Branch Resiliency Initiative could be a model for urban and community-led restoration

Water against a rocky shore, with trees in the background.

The Middle Branch area on the shore of the Patapsco River will be the site of the first phase of a large-scale restoration project. Photo by Joe Zimmermann

Located in the shadow of a Baltimore City hospital, within earshot of the highway, a stretch of waterfront along the Patapsco River may not appear to be a likely place for a living shoreline.

But a community-led environmental partnership is transforming this area, the Hanover Street Wetlands, as the first step in an ambitious initiative for habitat restoration, coastal resilience, community development, and environmental justice.

“It’s right in our backyard,” Peggy Jackson-Jobe, a 49-year resident of the adjacent Cherry Hill neighborhood and the chair of the Cherry Hill Community Coalition. “It gives the residents a beautiful place to go and to be a part of. And it’s great to know we had a hand in what’s evolving right now.”

The Middle Branch Resiliency Initiative is the largest planned coastal resilience initiative in Maryland, aiming to restore more than 50 acres of habitat and 11 miles of shoreline. Hanover Street Wetlands, the first phase of the project, is anticipated to be completed in 2025.

Read more…


Free Pumpout Adapter Kits Available to Maryland Boaters and Marinas

Department develops kit to help keep waters clean

Photo of device on pier at a marina

Pumpout stations, like this one at Sandy Point State Park, provide boaters a place to cleanly and safely empty their wastewater. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources  Pumpout Grant Program is offering boat owners and marinas free adapter kits, which department staff developed to help boaters empty holding tanks securely at area pumpout stations. 

The kit has a plastic adapter that screws into the existing waste discharge deck fitting on a boat, which is secured by a cam lock found on most pumpout hoses. The free kit also contains instructions, protective gloves, a storage tube, and a QR code to a list of pumpout stations in Maryland.  

Maryland residents can request a pumpout adapter kit using an online form. Supplies are limited. Kits are provided with funding from U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Clean Vessel Act Grant funding and the Maryland Waterway Improvement Fund. Read more…


Maryland Venison Donation Grant Program Seeks Partner Organizations

Funds available for processing venison donated to charity

Maryland DNR photo submitted by Gregory Ragan to Wild Maryland cookbook.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for partner organizations for the 2024 venison donation grant program. 

Grant money is available to organizations to assist with the direct costs of butchering and processing deer with the resulting venison being donated to organizations that assist Marylanders in need. 

A total of $25,000 will be awarded, and grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible grantees are county governments, municipal corporations, or any 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 29

Photo of girl holding a small fish on a line

Everleigh Zerance is all smiles with her bluegill. Photo by Kayleigh Zerance

Maryland anglers have a wide choice of fishing adventures this week, whether in the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, or the fresh waters of our western counties. One thing that many recall is the first fish they caught, which for many was the feisty bluegill sunfish.  

Maryland offers license-free fishing days for all state residents and visitors on June 1, June 8, and July 4. These annual events provide anyone a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration. It’s a great opportunity for anglers to introduce someone to fishing. 

Read more…


Tenth FishMaryland Master Angler is First Youth Angler to Achieve Milestone

Lucy Perez, 11, awarded for catching diversity of species

Photo of girl holding a fishing rod and a fish

Master Angler Lucy Perez with a bluegill. Photo by Nick Perez

Lucy Perez of Cecil County has earned a Master Angler Milestone Award under the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) FishMaryland program. The award recognizes recreational anglers who catch ten different trophy-sized species of fish in Maryland. Perez, 11, is the tenth Master Angler since the program began in 2019, the first female angler, and the youngest by a decade. Read more…


Tuckahoe State Park to Host Celebration of National Trails Day June 1

Park to debut new ‘sensory trail’ designed to enhance access

Photo of contoured wooden puzzle along a wooded trail

One of the activities along Tuckahoe State Park’s new sensory trail. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Office of Outdoor Recreation and Tuckahoe State Park invite the public to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1 with a full day of family-friendly programs at the park. Visitors will be invited to take part in activities such as guided walks, prize raffles, a fishing derby, informational displays, archery programs and much more. 

The day’s event will kick off at 10 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting for Tuckahoe’s new Lore of the Land: Sensory Trail. This type of trail,  planned specifically for people with disabilities and sensory impairments in particular, encourage visitors to use more of their senses, which will benefit all ages and abilities. The easy-to-navigate loop trail provides a series of stations designed to collectively immerse people in a multi-sensory journey. Hikers learn to recognize different sounds, textures and smells along the trail, thereby gaining confidence in their own abilities to interpret the environment at their own pace. Read more…


Marylanders Urged to Follow Safe Boating Practices As Waters Warm, Holiday Weekend Approaches

Maryland Natural Resources Police officers patrol the Severn River.

Maryland Natural Resources Police officers patrol the Severn River. Department of Natural Resources photo.

As Marylanders become much more active on the state’s waterways, Maryland’s Natural Resources Police is reminding waterway users to understand the state’s boating laws and safety requirements. All boaters, paddlers, swimmers, and others should take steps to ensure their safety before heading out on the water.

In 2023, Maryland recorded 123 boating accidents, including 43 with injuries and 11 that were fatal. In four of the past five years, double-digit fatal boating accidents were reported, and more than 90 percent of victims were not wearing a life jacket. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 22, 2024

Photo of boy holding a fish

Matt Ferenschak has a good reason to smile with this whopper of a Chesapeake channa (snakehead) that he caught in the Middle River. Photo courtesy of Matt Ferenschak

With Memorial Day weekend, the traditional beginning of the summer season is upon us. Remember to take a moment to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, including the ability to enjoy the outdoors with families and friends. 

Striped bass season opened with a couple good days until some wind and rain put a damper on weekend fishing. With the return of fair weather, anglers are enjoying a chance to land Maryland’s state fish. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges everyone to familiarize themselves with the 2024 striped bass regulations. The DNR website also has a map site link that shows the areas of the Chesapeake Bay where anglers can fish for striped bass as the season progresses. And you can keep up with the latest news and information about striped bass in Maryland. 

Maryland offers license-free fishing days for all state residents and visitors on June 1, June 8, and July 4. These annual events provide anyone a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration. It’s a great opportunity for anglers to introduce someone to fishing. 

Read more…


Maryland Department of Natural Resources Reports Results from the 2024 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey

Photo of a blue crab on top of a barrel

Photo by Jennifer Dudley, submitted to the 2023 Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, a cooperative effort between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), estimates 317 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay in 2024, compared to 323 million crabs last year.

The number of spawning age female crabs decreased from 152 million crabs in 2023 to 133 million crabs in 2024, but is still well above the management threshold of 72.5 million crabs. The threshold indicates whether the female crab population is being overfished or not. 

Adult male crabs also experienced a slight decrease from 55 million crabs in 2023 to 46 million crabs in 2024.

The number of juvenile crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has been below average for the past four years, but rose to 138 million juvenile crabs in 2024. Blue crab reproduction is naturally variable and influenced by many factors such as oceanic conditions, available nursery habitat, predation, and other environmental impacts.  Read more…


Researchers Prepare for Blue Crab Stock Assessment To Help Guide Future Management

Multi-year analysis to look at questions around juvenile recruitment, environmental factors

Two people on a boat sift through dredged material to look for blue crabs.

Crew on the winter dredge survey boat sort through blue crabs found in the Choptank River. Data from this survey will be included in the stock assessment. Photo by Joe Zimmermann, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

A team of researchers is preparing for a large-scale analysis of the blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay that will help guide future management of the crab fishery and investigate factors that influence the animal’s survival and reproduction.

The stock assessment comes as a response to ongoing questions about the regional population of the iconic crustacean, particularly around the recent juvenile recruitment, or the amount of young crabs in the system. This number has been below average for five consecutive years, including the results of the 2024 blue crab winter dredge survey.

Read more…


Horseshoe Crabs Begin 2024 Migration onto Maryland Beaches

Photo of horseshoe crab in the surf on a beach

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

Something ancient is making its way onto the shores of Maryland – the annual spawning migration of horseshoe crabs, Limulus polyphemus.

The migration usually takes place from May through July, and its peak culminates with high tides on or around each full and new moon in May and June. Dating back an estimated 350 million years, this yearly event along the Atlantic coast is believed to be the world’s oldest and largest wildlife migration.  Read more…


Cunningham Falls State Park Reopening Houck Area Day Use and Campground Ahead of Schedule

Photo of entry sign for Cunningham Falls State Park

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

Cunningham Falls State Park will reopen its William Houck Area for day use on Saturday, May 18, as a sewer line replacement project along Route 77 in Frederick County has been completed ahead of schedule. The Houck campground will reopen on May 23. 

The project, spearheaded by Maryland Environmental Service with cooperation from the Maryland State Highway Administration, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service, included the installation of 26 manholes and relining of the aging underground sewer lines that provide service to the William Houck Area of Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 15

Photo of woman on a boat holding a fish

Sarah Yow holds up a beautiful speckled trout she caught in  Tangier Sound. Photo courtesy of Sarah Yow

There are lots of great fishing opportunities this week, from freshwater to the coastal waters of Ocean City. The first segment of Maryland’s striped bass season starts May 16 in the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay below the line from Hart-Miller Island to Tolchester. Summer migrant species including spot, red drum, and speckled trout are arriving in the lower Bay, creating exciting fishing opportunities.

Read more…


Governor Moore Announces Maryland Meets 30% of State Land Conservation Goal Six Years Ahead of Schedule

Photo of landscape along a mountainside

The Artmor property in Allegany County was the former site of a plastics manufacturing plant. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources purchased the land to provide an access point to Wills Mountain State Park. Maryland DNR photo.

Governor Wes Moore today announced that Maryland has achieved a milestone goal for land conservation required by state legislation six years ahead of schedule. The Maryland Department of Planning, in the latest update of the Maryland Protected Lands Dashboard, reports that Maryland has already met the 30% mark with more than 1.85 million acres of land conserved as of February. 

“From the forests of Mountain Maryland to the coastal plains of the Eastern Shore, Maryland’s natural beauty must be protected. Land conservation isn’t optional—it’s a prerequisite for success,” said Gov. Moore. “By moving in partnership, we are meeting our goals ahead of schedule. But we know there’s more left to do. I will work closely with state and local leaders to find as many opportunities as we can to add to the state’s growing portfolio of public and protected lands, so we can reach our 40% conservation goal by 2040.”

Land conservation means to permanently protect land from development through purchase, donation, easement, or fee ownership to preserve the cultural, historical, ecological, or agricultural value of the land. The Maryland the Beautiful Act of 2023 established goals of conserving 30% of the land in the state by 2030 and 40% by 2040. Land protected by state agencies, local governments, nonprofit land trusts, and the federal government all count towards the goal. Maryland’s total land area is about 6.1 million acres. Read more…


Maryland Summer-Fall 2024 Striped Bass Season Begins May 16

Photo of fish in the water

During striped bass season in the Chesapeake Bay, anglers may keep one striped bass measuring between 19 and 24 inches per day. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo by Eric Packard.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced regulations for the summer recreational striped bass fishing season beginning May 16, 2024, which continues existing conservation measures put in place in an effort to protect the striped bass fishery on the East Coast.

Striped bass season in the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay will be open May 16; the remainder of Bay waters, including its tidal tributaries will open June 1 through July 15. All areas of the Bay will be closed to any targeting of striped bass from July 16 through July 31, and will reopen August 1 through December 10. Anglers may keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum length of 19 inches and a maximum length of 24 inches.

Targeting of striped bass has been off-limits in the Chesapeake Bay since April 1. In the tidal tributary rivers and the Susquehanna Flats, targeting of striped bass is prohibited through the end of May.  Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves $2.1 Million for Recreation and Land Preservation

Funding includes recreational facilities in Calvert and Frederick counties

Photo of farm along river

Among the items funded, a conservation easement in the Upper Patapsco Rural Legacy Area in Carroll County will help protected forested stream buffer in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Board of Public Works today approved Maryland Department of Natural Resources items including more than $2.1 million in grants to local governments and land trusts to preserve and protect land, and provide recreational opportunities for Marylanders.

Program Open Space – Local  provides funding for county and municipal governments for the planning, purchase and development of recreational land or facilities. A total of $622,000 in Program Open Space – Local was approved for three projects, including a $300,000 grant for basketball court improvements at Cove Point Park in Calvert County and $297,000 for the acquisition of 4.3 acres to expand the Brunswick Sports Complex in Frederick County.  Read more…


Maryland’s License-Free Fishing Days Provide Access to Angling for All

Photo of man and boy fishing from a rocky jetty

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will offer license-free fishing days for all state residents and visitors on June 1, June 8, and July 4. These annual events provide anglers a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration. 

The department hosts license-free fishing every year on the first two Saturdays of June and on the Independence Day holiday to take advantage of peak spring and summer fishing. On these days, any individual may catch and possess finfish for recreational purposes in any tidal and nontidal waters of Maryland. All anglers must follow all current regulations, including size and catch limits found in the department’s fishing and crabbing guide Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 8

Photo of man holding a fish hooked to a line

Angler Randyka Pudjoprawoto caught a 22-inch largemouth bass on Lake Bernard Frank near Rockville on May 3. Photo courtesy of Randyka Pudjoprawoto.

Spring is spreading its blanket of new growth and warmth across the Maryland landscape this month. The black locust trees are blooming, signaling the first blue crab shed of 2024. These warm and sunny days beckon anglers of all ages and skill levels to seek out the excitement of fishing in every corner of Maryland – don’t miss it!

Read more…


Secretary’s Message: Maryland State Parks Are Always Worth Celebrating

Photo of group in wooded area

Staff and volunteers help clean up invasives at Gunpowder Falls State Park for Earth Day 2024, which was the final day of Maryland State Parks Week this year. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

In April, the Department of Natural Resources celebrated State Parks Week, an annual acknowledgement of the special significance of our public lands. Our state parks, under the leadership of the department’s dedicated Park Rangers, provide the amenities and activities that nearly 20 million Marylanders enjoy every year, each with its own unique opportunities to connect with Maryland’s natural and cultural treasures.

The Maryland Park Service is encouraging visitors to complete challenges this year related to its 2024 theme: “In their footsteps, stepping forward in nature and back in time.” Challenges include visiting a park they have never been to before, finding animal tracks and visiting historical sites to appreciate those who walked the land centuries ago. Read more…


Maryland Department of Natural Resources Confirms 52 Deer With Chronic Wasting Disease

The state’s chronic wasting disease management area has expanded to include two additional counties

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported today that 52 white-tailed deer sampled within Allegany, Baltimore, Frederick, Montgomery and Washington counties in 2023 tested positive for chronic wasting disease, a neurological disease found in deer, elk, and moose.

Of the positive samples, 49 came from within the existing chronic wasting disease management area (Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties), while one positive sample came from Baltimore County and two positive samples came from Montgomery County. Read more…


Maryland DNR Biologists Monitor a Critical Year of Striped Bass Eggs, Larvae

An iconic fish begins its life cycle

Three biologists on a small boat, casting a net into the Choptank River.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists Marisa Ponte, Jim Uphoff, and Shannon Moorhead traverse the quiet Choptank River that bisects Maryland’s Eastern Shore, casting out a net to collect samples of striped bass eggs and larvae. Photo by Joe Zimmermann, Maryland DNR.

Laughing gulls circled and cawed in anticipation. An osprey hauled an improbably large branch through bright green treetops. It was Earth Day, April 22, and the living things on the Choptank River marked the occasion by going on as usual.

But below the water’s surface, a process was underway that repeats every year in the rivers of the Chesapeake Bay, a modest beginning to a mythic Mid-Atlantic cycle, one that powers fisheries and attracts recreational anglers up and down the coast. Another generation of striped bass had come into the world. Read more…


One Month Later: Natural Resources Police Played Important Role in Key Bridge Incident Response

NRP and U.S. Coast Guard vessels patrol the Patapsco River.

NRP patrol vessels establish a 2,000-yard safety zone around the wreckage of the Key Bridge. Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) has been an integral part of the multi-agency response to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge after it was struck by a container ship on March 26.

During the initial response, NRP officers assisted with above- and below-water search and recovery operations, aerial reconnaissance, and safety zone enforcement. Now one month removed from the disaster, NRP officers continue extended patrol of the safety zone, monitor traffic in temporary channels, and assist with transporting political officials and members of joint allied agencies to the scene.

As one of the first responding marine agencies on the scene, NRP officers arrived at the Key Bridge at 2:30 a.m. – shortly after the collapse – and began searching the surface of the Patapsco River for potential survivors. Within hours, NRP officers had eight boats from four surrounding counties at the scene.

Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 1

Photo of woman on a beach holding a fish

Ivanna Harshman holds up a large bluefish caught near Ocean City. Photo by Mary Harshman

As we celebrate the beginning of May, balmy weather makes for comfortable fishing from the mountains of western Maryland to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Summer migrant species are showing up in the Ocean City area; among the arrivals is the spring migration of bluefish.

Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves $12.9 Million for Recreation and Land Preservation

Funding includes recreational facilities in Anne Arundel, Montgomery counties

Photo of farmland next to a river

Nanticoke Rural Legacy Area in Dorchester County, Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Board of Public Works today approved Maryland Department of Natural Resources items including more than $12.9 million in grants to local governments and land trusts to preserve and protect land, and provide recreational opportunities for Marylanders. Read more…


21-Year-Old Angler Earns FishMaryland Master Angler Award

Photo of man holding a fish

Adam Krauss of Baltimore County holds a northern snakehead. Photo courtesy of Adam Krauss.

Adam Krauss of Baltimore County has earned a Master Angler Milestone Award under the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) FishMaryland program. 

The award recognizes recreational anglers who catch ten different trophy-sized species of fish in Maryland. Krauss, 21, is the ninth Master Angler since the program began in 2019.  Read more…


La Policía de Recursos Naturales de Maryland Organiza el 5 de Mayo un Curso de Seguridad para Embarcaciones en Español

Photo of people swimming from a boat and raft

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

La Unidad de Educación y Divulgación de Seguridad de la Policía de Recursos Naturales de Maryland organiza su evento comunitario inaugural de seguridad náutica en español desde las 8 de la mañana hasta el mediodía del domingo 5 de mayo en el Parque Estatal Sandy Point de Annapolis. Read more…


Keep Maryland’s Wildlife Wild and Safe: Handling Fawns is Dangerous and Illegal

Photo of fawn laying in the woods

Photo by by Lori Crisler, submitted to the 2021 Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources cautions anyone who encounters a fawn to avoid disturbing it and resist the urge to feed or handle it. Removing deer from the wild and keeping them in captivity is against the law in Maryland to protect animal welfare and ensure public safety. 

Deer are born with specialized adaptations, which have helped their species survive for ages. Born in spring, fawns instinctively lie motionless when approached by potential predators, relying on their adaptations to help them hide. Their virtual lack of odor, natural camouflage (spots), and freezing behavior help them avoid danger. These adaptations serve them well, as evidenced by the abundance of deer across Maryland’s varied landscapes. 

Despite this effective strategy, inquisitive fawns will sometimes explore new surroundings and may appear to be lost or orphaned. There is usually no need for human intervention since in most cases, the doe is nearby foraging and will return to nurse the fawn when it is safe. Read more…


Public Comment Sought for 2025 Maryland State Forest Work Plans

Photo of forest

Photo by Scott Campbell, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now seeking public comment on the proposed fiscal year 2025 annual work plans for the following state forests: Chesapeake/Pocomoke, Green Ridge, Potomac-Garrett, and Savage River. The comment period concludes Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Annual work plans help the department identify priorities within the scope of the forests’ long-range management. They address composition, establishment, growth, health, and quality along with construction and maintenance projects. Read more…


At Maryland’s State Nursery, Staff Grow Trees by the Millions

The trees planted at the Ayton State Tree Nursery go to reclaimed forests, restoration projects, and anyone who orders a bundle of 25 or more

An overhead look at the John Ayton Tree Nursery, including its acreage for tree plantings.

The state tree nursery in Caroline County. Photo by Steve Badger/DNR

At the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery, little green saplings progressed down rows of conveyor belts.

On both sides of the line, workers sifted through bread trays stacked with young trees, bundling them and placing them on the belt. At the end of the row, a worker lifted the clump from the creaking machinery and whacked it with a machete to prune off excess roots. Then they bagged the bundle and marked it off: “1,000 loblolly.”

This is just a small step in the production process at the state nursery, part of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Service, which oversees trees from seed to sapling, planting them, growing them, and then shipping them out. Every year, the nursery produces millions of trees. The team there is filling orders for 2.75 million trees this year.

Read more…


DNR Biologists’ Study: Older, Larger Female Striped Bass Produce Far More Eggs

A new study looks at the age at which female striped bass mature and how many eggs they produce as they age

Boat in the middle of a body of water

Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists survey for striped bass in 2018. Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland DNR.

Two of the most important traits to understand fish population growth are the age at which females mature and their fecundity, or how many eggs they can produce at each age on average.

A new study from biologists in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has helped to update information on those factors in striped bass, making available current biological information about the population for use in the stock assessment model, which estimates the numbers and biomass of mature females in the Atlantic coast striped bass stock.

The study, published in Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science in February, determined that half of females reach sexual maturity between ages 5 and 6, and larger, older females produce more eggs per kilogram body mass than smaller, younger females.

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Maryland Fishing Report – April 24

Zach Bennett caught this northern snakehead in the Patapsco River. Photo courtesy of Zach Bennett

Zach Bennett caught this northern snakehead in the Patapsco River. Photo courtesy of Zach Bennett

The weather forecast for the next week promises mild and sunny conditions, perfect for venturing into the outdoors for fishing with family and friends. Trout continue to be stocked each week in the put-and-take trout waters, and a wide variety of fish are active, including the northern snakehead.

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Maryland’s Striped Bass Emergency Closure Continues into May

Photo of boat on the water

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that Maryland’s striped bass fishing closure began on April 1 and runs until May 15, 2024 in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. 

Emergency regulations, enacted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and approved by Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review, were put in place to try to better protect large migratory striped bass after several years of below average spawning success.

The regulations effectively close Maryland’s “trophy” season during which striped bass longer than 35 inches have been harvested in Chesapeake Bay waters.

As in past years, targeting striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries has been prohibited throughout April. Catch and release is prohibited and anyone who accidentally catches a striped bass must release it into the water immediately. Emergency regulations have extended the closure – which prohibits all targeting – an additional two weeks, to May 15. This violation is punishable by fines up to $1,000 for the first offense, and up to one year in jail and/or a $2,000 maximum fine for second offenses.

Given the changes,  Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) encourages the public to familiarize themselves with the new regulations. NRP plans on regular enforcement patrols to identify striped bass targeting and out-of-season takes. Read more…


‘Women on the Water’ Fishing and Boating Workshop Offered May 9

Photo of woman kayaking

Photo by by Marilyn Stone submitted to the 2021 Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hosting “Women on the Water,” a free introductory workshop on boating and fishing for women and girls aged 12 and older, at Seneca Creek State Park on May 9 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

New or returning boaters and anglers can receive Information about boating education and opportunities, followed by fishing instruction. Department staff will provide fishing gear for use and teach the basics of fish identification, rigging a rod, and casting techniques.  Read more…


Governor Moore Celebrates Earth Day, Signs Executive Order Creating the Maryland Outdoor Learning Partnership

Photo of Governor Moore holding up a signed document as numerous people stand behind him.

Governor Moore signs the executive order creating the Outdoor Learning Partnership. Photo courtesy Office of the Governor.

Governor Wes Moore today visited the Maryland Department of the Environment’s headquarters in Baltimore in celebration of Earth Day. During the visit, the governor discussed the agency’s work to combat climate change, reduce pollution, and promote environmental stewardship. Governor Moore also participated in a ceremonial tree planting and signed an executive order establishing the Maryland Outdoor Learning Partnership—a new group of state agencies, educators, and nonprofits tasked with ensuring Maryland students have meaningful access to outdoor education about the environment, climate, and the natural world. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 17

Photo of two men holding a catfish

Tim Wills was out on the Bay recently fishing for blue catfish with his friends and enjoyed a great day on the water together. Photo by Bob Neighoff

We are in store for some nice weather this week, so be sure to get outdoors and enjoy some of the many fishing opportunities in Maryland. Trout fishing is bolstered with continuing stockings, other freshwater species are active, and blue catfish can be found in every tidal water of the Chesapeake Bay.

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Orlando D. Lilly Sworn In As New Superintendent of Natural Resources Police

Photo of man in uniform having a badge placed on him by his son.

Col. Orlando Lilly is pinned by his son, wearing his Natural Resources Police badge for the first time at his swearing in ceremony. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formally welcomed Orlando D. Lilly as the 11th Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police on Wednesday. The former Baltimore County Police Major and Navy veteran was sworn in at DNR headquarters in Annapolis. Lilly assumes the rank of Colonel.  Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves $14.8 Million to Preserve Outdoor Space for Marylanders

Program Open Space, Rural Legacy among programs funded

Photo of wooded trail

Oregon Ridge Park in Baltimore County will receive funds for new trails. Photo by Brittini Adams, submitted to the 2018 Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

The Board of Public Works today approved Maryland Department of Natural Resources items including more than $14.8 million in grants to local governments and land trusts to preserve and protect land, and provide recreation opportunities for Marylanders. Read more…


Maryland Forest Service Names 2024 Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners

Comptroller Brooke Lierman joins DNR as guest judge

Illustration of a river in a wooded area

This illustration by Edison Lee of Rockford Elementary School in Elkridge, Howard County won first place in the 2024 Maryland Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest.

The top three prizes have been awarded for the 2024 Maryland Fifth Grade Arbor Day poster contest, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Maryland Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman joined DNR Secretary Josh Kurtz and staff to review submissions and award three Maryland schools with tree plantings this spring. 

Edison Lee of Rockburn Elementary School in Elkridge, Howard County won first place and the school will receive 15 trees for planting. Second place, with a prize of 10 trees, was awarded to Riya Dholakia of Emmorton Elementary School in Bel Air, Harford County. Grace Birch of Chesapeake Public Charter School in Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County won third place and a prize of five trees. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 10

Photo of boy holding a fish

Joey Davis caught this white catfish – qualifying him for a FishMaryland award certificate – in an upper Bay tidal river. Photo by Lora Davis

Maryland anglers are taking advantage of pleasant weather to fish for a variety of species this week. Trout, largemouth bass, and blue catfish are at the top of the list, but fun fishing is where you find it. 

Read more…


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