Maryland's Spring Rockfish Season Opened Saturday

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland’s spring rockfish season opened Saturday, April 21 and runs through May 15. Ocean-run striped bass have recently been reported in large numbers throughout the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake.

“The weather forecast for opening day and the following week is nearly perfect,” said Governor O’Malley. “That, coupled with the robust numbers of large rockfish currently in the Chesapeake, should make conditions ideal for anglers and their families to enjoy a day on the Bay,” said the Governor.

New regulations this year require that rockfish more than 35 inches but less that 41 inches be returned to the Bay’s waters to be caught another day. Catches are also limited primarily to the Bay’s mainstem waters, to allow spawning stock to be un-tempted in the tributary reaches where they proliferate. This still allows those whose catch is within the size limits to keep one for the table, or harvest a personal record. The regulations are intended to preserve precious spawning stock —the same stock that sustains the population of striped bass along most of the Atlantic Coast —while still offering quality fishing days for Maryland anglers and those who visit our shores.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary John R. Griffin also reminds the public that members of the Maryland Charter Boat Association are available to meet boating and fishing needs.

“Maryland’s Charter Boat captains –- our Ambassadors of the Chesapeake—stand ready to provide anglers with an exceptional fishing experience for a reasonable fee,” said Secretary Griffin. “They have the equipment and experience to ensure a memorable day of fishing for rockfish on the Chesapeake.”

DNR says that anyone who voluntarily releases a striped bass 40 inches or larger — in keeping with the growing catch and release ethic that is spreading through recreational fishing communities in Maryland and elsewhere — is eligible to receive a Governor’s striped bass conservation certificate. Applications for the citation are available on charter boats, at bait and tackle stores and at

DNR is giving striped bass anglers the opportunity to become more involved in the management of this treasured species in several ways. New this year, the Department will conduct a random telephone survey of Bay Sport License holders to estimate the number of anglers participating in the spring striped bass season. At the same time, DNR biologists will be visiting popular public access boat ramps and marinas to interview anglers and request permission to examine their catch. Anglers can also participate in the Striped Bass Volunteer Angler Survey at any time at Data collected by these three methods are crucial in the estimation of total harvest, discards and other important information such as sex ratios and age structure of the population.

For all the latest information on fishing in Maryland, visit .

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