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Maryland Spring Trophy Season Begins May 1
The 2018 benchmark stock assessment for striped bass indicated declines, so the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has determined that conservation measures are needed for the 2020 fishing season. ASMFC is a management entity comprising 15 member states on the East Coast, including Maryland. Read more…
State Leads Effort to Combat Rockfish Mortality
Following deliberations by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) on the status of the striped bass population along the Atlantic Coast, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources continued its ongoing leadership in striped bass conservation efforts.
At this week’s ASMFC meeting, Maryland again addressed the most pressing problem facing the Chesapeake Bay’s striper population — the significant volume of “dead discards” in the recreational fishery, where many striped bass are caught and released, but do not survive when they are returned to the water. Maryland emphasized that the most recent science and data shows that any measures that do not address this problem directly will not result in conservation. Read more…
Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) officers checked a record number of Atlantic coast recreational anglers and commercial fishermen in December and January as part of enforcement efforts to support striped bass conservation measures. Read more…
Here in Maryland’s section of the Chesapeake Bay, gamefish such as striped bass are under constant pressure both from fishing and large fluctuations in environmental conditions like high temperatures and low oxygen. Striped bass, known colloquially as rockfish, are Maryland’s state fish. Pursuing this fish for sport is a time-honored tradition, as is protecting them, ensuring striped bass remain in our waters for future generations to enjoy. Read more…
Conservation Measures Include Two-Week Midseason Closure in July
The 2021 summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries will be open May 16 through July 15, and resume August 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers would be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption.
During the closure period from July 16 through July 31, anglers will be prohibited from targeting striped bass, which includes catch-and-release and charter boats. Read more…
Department Cites Charter Boat Operators
Maryland Natural Resources Police have charged six charter boat operators with multiple fishing violations following a lengthy investigation into the use of prohibited fishing gear. The investigation began in October 2019 in response to tips received by concerned citizens.
During the investigation, police discovered several charter boats had violated the size and catch limit for striped bass, failed to use non-offset circle hooks while chumming or live-lining in tidal waters as required in Maryland, and committed other violations.
The Natural Resources Police has been working tirelessly to make sure that those fishing for striped bass are following the law. This investigation is in addition to the more than 800 citations written to recreational fishers this season related to striped bass violations. Read more…
Maryland Sets New Regulations to Conserve Species
Under the new final regulations, the 2020 summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries is open May 16 through Aug. 15, and Sept. 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers will be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. The season will be closed on all other dates. During the closure period from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31, anglers will be prohibited from targeting striped bass, which includes catch-and-release and charter boats. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption. Read more…
UPDATED May 7
Marylanders are reminded that the governor’s Stay at Home directive to reduce COVID-19 transmission remains in place, and recreational fishing and boating are currently prohibited. Fishing for sustenance is allowed, which means anglers must catch and keep any legal fish and should return home as quickly as possible after doing so.
Effective Thursday, May 7, at 7 a.m, recreational fishing activities, including catch-and-release, are allowed, however:
- When fishing from a boat, one must be with immediate family members or people with which they reside.
- No more than 10 people may be on a boat at one time, including captain and crew.
- When fishing from onshore or at a pier, social distancing guidelines must be followed.
- Fishing tournaments remain prohibited at this time.
Under those guidelines, trophy-sized striped bass may be targeted in the Chesapeake Bay from May 1 through May 15 with a limit of one fish per person, with a 35-inch minimum size limit. All conservation regulations for this season can be viewed on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website. Read more…
Conservation Measures in Review by Legislative Committee
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is proposing changes for the Chesapeake Bay summer-fall striped bass season. Due to the timing of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approval process, some changes will be made by public notice. Measures that require regulatory changes have been submitted to the Maryland General Assembly Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR). The combination of the public notice and these proposed regulatory actions ensure Maryland’s compliance with the ASFMC directive to meet a coast-wide conservation target.
The proposal calls for the 2020 summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries to be open May 16 through Aug. 15, and Sept. 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers would be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. The season would be closed on all other dates. During the closure period from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31, anglers will be prohibited from targeting striped bass, which includes catch-and-release, charter boats and commercial hook-and-line fishing. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption.
Spawning Down Among Several Species
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the results of the young-of-year striped bass survey, which tracks reproduction of the species in Chesapeake Bay. The 2019 juvenile striped bass index is 3.4, below the 66-year average of 11.6.
The young-of-year striped bass survey measures the annual spawning success of the state fish, commonly known as rockfish. The index represents the average number of recently hatched striped bass captured in samples taken during the survey.
During this year’s survey, biologists collected more than 51,000 fish of 54 different species, including 445 young-of-year striped bass. While the abundance of some important forage species like silversides, spot, and menhaden increased in Maryland waters, the survey showed that white perch and yellow perch experienced below-average reproduction. Read more…
Alerts Will Advise of Fishing Conditions
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is launching a new awareness campaign to reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season. A color-coded recommendation system will advise of fishing conditions, allowing anglers to plan their striped bass fishing trips up to seven days in advance.
Seasonal high water and air temperatures as well as low oxygen can cause fish to become sensitive and stressed, with increased mortality during catch-and-release fishing. Larger striped bass – 24 inches or larger – have the most difficulty with these conditions.
State Expands Conservation Message and Outreach
Maryland’s regular striped bass season gets underway on May 16, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that conservation regulations put in place last year are in effect through the end of 2019.
When fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, anglers must use non-offset circle hooks when live-lining or chumming, and must use circle hooks or “J” hooks when using fish, crabs, worms, or processed baits.
The minimum size striped bass that may be kept is 19 inches. Catch limits are two fish per day between 19-28 inches, or one fish between 19-28 inches and one fish over 28 inches. Read more…
Enhanced Conservation Rules on Use of Bait and Hooks; Minimum Size Reduced to 19 Inches
The opening of regular striped bass season May 16 coincides with new conservation-minded regulations pertaining to the use of bait, gear and hooks.
The Maryland General Assembly Joint Committee Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee recently approved Maryland Department of Natural Resources regulations, which will be effective through Oct. 12, 2018.
Beginning May 16, 2018, in Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries:
- Anglers must use non-offset circle hooks when live-lining or chumming;
- Anglers must use circle hooks or “J” hooks when using fish, crabs or worms as bait, or when using processed baits; and
- The minimum size for striped bass is 19 inches.
Conservation-Minded Changes a Win-Win for Species and Sport
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has submitted revised regulations that aim to reduce the minimum size requirement of striped bass for recreational anglers and charter boats during the summer and fall fishing seasons in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries from 20 to 19 inches.
The changes, approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in February, are proposed to take effect May 16, 2018.
The proposal seeks to reduce the minimum size of striped bass with corresponding conservation-minded changes to gear, including the requirement that non-offset (inline) circle hooks be used when chumming and live-lining, and circle hooks or “J” hooks (of any gap width or size) when fishing with bait such as crabs, fish and worms.
In addition, the proposed regulations would sunset after two years, which will allow the department to determine if the new conservation actions were preventing fish mortality as intended. The department will have new stock assessment data available at that time. Read more…
New catch limits, license discounts and Governor’s conservation award in place
With the April 18 opening of spring trophy season just days away, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds striped bass anglers of new catch limits and incentives, including license discounts and a conservation award. Read more…
More than 500 anglers eligible for cash and prizes
Landing a big fish in Maryland could also land anglers big prizes, including cash, a powerboat, a tropical vacation, tackle packages, and Under Armour and Costa gear. Hosted by DNR and now in its eleventh year, the Maryland Fishing Challenge continues to showcase Maryland as a premier recreation destination with anglers reporting excellent fishing from the Appalachian Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Read more…
The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) filed charges in October for a variety of conservation law violations including illegal bear hunting, striped bass violations, and deer poaching. Read more…
Striped Bass Reproduction Below Average, Other Species Strong in Rivers
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of this year’s juvenile striped bass survey, which tracks the reproductive success of the iconic fish in the Chesapeake Bay. The 2021 young-of-year index is 3.2 which is slightly higher than last year but still below the long-term average of 11.4.
The coastal striped bass population has decreased in size, but is still capable of strong reproduction with the right environmental conditions. Variable spawning success is a well-known characteristic of the species. The index is slightly higher than 2020 but consecutive below average indices are a concern, and biologists continue to examine factors that might limit spawning success. Read more…
The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) filed charges in September for a variety of conservation law violations including boating while intoxicated, possessing live snakeheads, illegal fishing and hunting, and selling potentially unsanitary crabs and oysters. Read more…
The Maryland Natural Resources Police recently charged several individuals throughout the state for illegal activities including weapons charges at a state park, operating watercraft while intoxicated, illegal fishing, and more. Read more…
As more people head outside for warm weather activities, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) have remained busy protecting the state’s wildlife, fisheries, and public lands. The following individuals were recently cited for a variety of conservation law offenses in Maryland: Read more…
The month of October is offering Maryland anglers some of the best fishing opportunities to be found at any time of the year. The fall trout stocking program is in full swing, other freshwater fish are feeding aggressively, and fishing for striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay is at its zenith.
As we all know, Maryland has taken numerous conservation measures to protect the Chesapeake Bay striped bass population. Anglers now have an opportunity to comment on striped bass closure period options for summer 2021. Comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020. Read about the options and comment online at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.
One of the most spectacular times of the year is upon us, but it will not last long — daylight hours become shorter as leaves burst in color before falling to the ground. All kinds of fishing awaits those that take the time to pursue it — the fall trout stocking program is in full swing, and other species of freshwater and saltwater fish await.
Please join us for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar Oct. 15 at noon. We will discuss the ongoing fall trout stocking season with Coldwater Program Manager Marshall Brown. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of the most recent juvenile striped bass survey, which showed a below-average spawning rate in the bay this year. Striped bass are known for highly variable annual reproduction that is often influenced by environmental factors. Maryland has implemented sound conservation measures to enhance the striped bass population in recent years, and it’s up to all of us to protect this important and iconic resource.
Striped Bass Among Species Below Average, Others Flourish
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of the most recent juvenile striped bass survey, which tracks the reproductive success of the state fish in Chesapeake Bay. The 2020 young-of-year striped bass index is 2.5, below the long-term average of 11.5.
Although the size of the striped bass population has decreased recently, the number of mature fish is not believed to be a limiting factor in reproduction. Striped bass are known for highly variable annual reproduction that is often influenced by environmental factors. Other species with spawning strategies similar to striped bass such as white perch, yellow perch, and river herring also experienced lower reproductive success. Read more…
The weather forecast for the next week predicts summer temperatures and offers a wonderful time to bring our younger anglers outdoors for some family fishing fun.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers license-free fishing days on June 6, June 13, and July 4 — a free option to explore Maryland’s diverse and unique fishing experiences without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration.
Finally, a reminder that the Department is encouraging all anglers to target and harvest invasive fish species such as northern snakeheads, blue catfish, and flathead catfish. DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are supporting an invasive fish tournament from now through Dec. 5 in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland.
What strange and difficult times the past two months have been for all — if it has been inconvenient for some, remember that it has been devastating to others. With the allowance of additional outdoor recreation under the governor’s stay at home order, we can enjoy fishing as long as we follow social distancing guidelines and stay safe. Answers to some frequently asked questions about outdoor activities are on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.
Starting on May 16, the size and bag limit for striped bass in the bay and tributaries (excluding the Susquehanna Flats) will be one fish per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. On the Susquehanna Flats, the limit will be one fish between 19-26 inches.
Charter boats participating in a pilot program of the E-reporting with FACTS system will be allowed to keep 2 striped bass per guest per trip. Only one of those two fish may be greater than 28 inches.
Also, remember that all conservation efforts implemented by the department last year, including the required use of circle hooks, remain in effect. More information on how to properly catch and release can be found on our website.
The department has posted a new map with color-coding which shows areas open to fishing (green), catch-and-release only (yellow), and closed areas (red).
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.
Each March I look forward to the return of the osprey. While this generally happens before spring’s official arrival on the equinox, it makes me feel that spring – and fishing season – have arrived.
March is also when the Department of Natural Resources resumes our weekly Maryland Fishing Report, available on our website, through our email newsletter, and also via your Amazon Echo device by saying “Alexa: open the Maryland Fishing Report.”
Regularly scheduled stocking of trout in Maryland’s streams, rivers, and ponds occurs across the state. And anglers are awaiting the beginning of the yellow perch run which will start as soon as water temperatures start rising in Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland creeks and rivers. Read more…
Even though it’s winter, periodic warm spells and days when there is little wind and plenty of sunshine afford fishermen a chance to wet a line. The pre-season trout stocking program is well underway and trout management waters are being stocked every week.
January through March is the time of the year when many attend outdoor shows to view or purchase new fishing tackle, or even book that fishing trip to a dream destination. The department’s Fishing and Boating Services will have staff present at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg from Feb. 1-9 at Maryland FishHunt booth 2521 in Fishing Hall. We hope you’ll come see us!
Many anglers have questions about what is going to happen in regards to management decisions and new regulations concerning striped bass. The entire striped bass fishery of the East Coast is impacted by the need to meet conservation targets established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. In Maryland, commercial quotas are being cut 1.8 percent and there are several proposals concerning the recreational fishery. You can follow the most recent regulation changes and proposals and find up-to-date questions and answers on the Department of Natural Resources website.
There is no doubt the hand of winter is passing over Maryland. Despite colder weather, there is plenty of fun fishing to be had from the sheltered shores of the many ponds, lakes, reservoirs, creeks, and rivers throughout Maryland. The preseason stocking of trout has begun, and other fish such as chain pickerel are active and waiting for you.
The Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission recently created an annual recreational fisheries achievement award, to be given once a year. This is a great opportunity to recognize someone you know who goes that extra distance to volunteer their services to help with the promotion and conservation of our recreational fisheries resources in Maryland. For more information and to nominate someone, find everything you need on the Department of Natural Resources website.
Now that Labor Day activities are behind us, anglers can focus on fishing more with family and friends. Cooler weather will begin to show its face and Maryland waters will begin to shake off the summer heat. Fishing for Spanish mackerel has been very popular in the bay.
The recent cooler weather has been a welcomed relief for all, and the hot summer months are beginning to fade into memory. Fishing has been good and recreational crabbers, in particular, are enjoying the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay, providing healthy and heavy crabs for crab picking with family and friends.
Impaired Boating, Theft of Rental Boats, Illegal Harvesting Top Police Blotter
A Pennsylvania man faces numerous charges after Maryland Natural Resources Police caught him fleeing the U.S. Coast Guard in the waters near Ocean City. Two Natural Resources Police patrol vessels answered a call for assistance June 29 after the vessel allegedly sped away from federal authorities trying to board it.
The patrol boats were able to catch and stop the fleeing vessel, which was travelling approximately 35 knots northbound in the Assawoman Bay, but Natural Resource Police say the operator remained uncooperative. Police boarded the vessel and detained the operator, identified as Anthony Gerard Campisi of Lansdale, Pa. Read more…
Welcome to May — a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors with family and especially children. There are few things more fun than taking children to any of Maryland’s many fishing derbies or rodeos. These events are usually held at a community pond and sponsored by a local service organization. Trophies and prizes for various categories are handed out, and it is just a great time for all.
The department has a schedule of fishing rodeos posted online. Gather up your kids and enjoy some of these events.
The 2018 striped bass season closes Dec. 15. The season ends a few days earlier than last year, as part of the conservation-minded regulations that included reducing the minimum length for Chesapeake Bay rockfish to 19 inches. The Potomac River below the Woodrow Wilson Bridge will be open to striped bass fishing until Dec. 31. Our readers should also keep in mind that there are other species that will still be in season for die hard cold-weather anglers.
Happy holidays from everyone at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources!
We are approaching the end of the 2018 striped bass season, which closes Dec. 15. The season ends a few days earlier than last year, as part of the conservation-minded regulations that included reducing the minimum length for Chesapeake Bay rockfish to 19 inches. Of course there are other species that will still be in season for cold-weather anglers.
Expanding your outdoor experiences is a new, learning adventure. It may involve trying a new sport such as bow hunting for a traditional firearm hunter or perhaps fly fishing when you’ve always used spinning gear. There is always something new to explore.
Rockfish Face Added Stress in Summer
Fishing for striped bass in Maryland is an annual rite of summer, but anglers are advised to follow a few basic measures to help protect the iconic species during the hottest part of the season.
Seasonal high water temperatures and low oxygen can cause fish to become sensitive and stressed, with increased mortality during catch-and-release. Larger striped bass – 24 inches or larger – will have the most difficulty with these conditions.
Natural Resources Police Also Nab Turtle Peddlers
A Frederick pet store received a citation after a Natural Resources Police investigator found it was attempting to sell a prohibited snake.
Rick’s Fish and Pets was listing a scarlet snake for sale at its shop in the 1000 block of West Patrick Street. Though not venomous or endangered, the rare species cannot be possessed without a special permit. Commercial sale of the species is illegal.
A hearing date is yet to be scheduled in Frederick County District Court. The maximum fine is $1,500. The investigators seized the snake pending the outcome of the trial.
Police Handle Oyster and Striped Bass Violations
A Washington County man known on social media as “VenomMan20” was found guilty Tuesday on two counts of illegal possession of venomous snakes.
Brandon Joseph Boyles, 29, of Cascade, was prohibited from owning “dangerous animals” in Maryland and was required to perform 20 hours of community service by District Judge Marc G. Rasinsky. Boyles also received one year of unsupervised probation.
Billing himself as “VenomMan20” on YouTube, Boyles had six Western diamondback rattlesnakes, one seven-foot-long forest cobra, one Cape Coral cobra and two boomslang snakes when Maryland Natural Resources Police officers searched his apartment Feb. 22. Read more…
This year, the Maryland Natural Resources Police is celebrating its 150th anniversary, a milestone that makes it the fourth-oldest state conservation law enforcement agency in the nation. Then as now, the mission is to protect the state’s most precious resources, its citizens and visitors. Read more…
Seeking the Input of Maryland’s Experts – You
I have the privilege of working with a dedicated team of experts in the natural sciences. The staff of every unit at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is committed to constantly refining the management of public resources – fisheries, forests, public lands, waterways and wildlife.
But nothing we do can move forward without the most important member of our team – you!
Public comment and input are essential to our mission.
Right now, Marylanders have multiple opportunities to make their voices heard before we design or implement policies and practices that impact our shared natural resources. Read more…
This is Erik Zlokovitz filling in for Keith Lockwood on the weekly fishing report. As I write this report, there is a disturbance bringing in some rain and winds along the mid-Atlantic coast, but it is nothing compared to the historic flooding being experienced now by the folks in the Houston area, southeast Texas and western Louisiana. The weather forecast here in Maryland is fair to good for the next few days, with rain in the forecast Saturday. We may be entering into a slight cooling pattern, which means that fishing will gradually shift into early fall mode. Take your kids out fishing at least one more time before school starts! Read more…
The aquaculture center at NRG’s Chalk Point Generating Station was built in 1987 to support the Maryland Department of Natural Resources striped bass restoration activities.
It produced approximately 3.6 million striped bass between 1985-2000. Out of those 3.6 million, 2.5 million were tagged and released into the Chesapeake Bay. The rest were used for research or recreational stocking in lakes and reservoirs. Today, the rockfish raised at the center are used for research, education or stocking. Read more…
Have you ever grumbled about the minimum size requirement, especially after you threw back that sixth undersized fish of the day? Have you ever wondered who makes these rules, why or how?
Fisheries management, like much of what we do at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, can be considered a balancing act between two extremes of absolute prohibition (no fishing allowed!) and no protection (catch them all!) As natural resource managers, we usually want to be somewhere in the middle—a “sweet spot” where people can benefit from the resource, either commercially or recreationally, while we ensure that enough fish are protected to support a healthy ecosystem. Read more…
You want to talk turkey? Talk to Frank Ryan.
The Reisterstown resident has seen them at their lowest point, when the state’s wild turkey population hovered near 2,000. And he’s watched with pride as their numbers puffed up like a tom in full strut to about 35,000 birds. Read more…