Rockfish Season Opens on the Chesapeake Bay April 19 - Southern Maryland Headline News

Rockfish Season Opens on the Chesapeake Bay April 19

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. (April 3, 2014) – It’s the season fishermen in Southern Maryland and beyond have been waiting for: Rockfish season begins Saturday, April 19.

Also known as rock, stripers or striped bass, the fish come to the Chesapeake Bay tributaries from the Atlantic Ocean between April and June to lay their eggs in fresh water. The young fish spend up to five years in the bay before they go back to the Atlantic Ocean, where they could live 30 years.

During the trophy season that runs through May 15, anglers may catch one striped bass per day measuring a minimum of 28 inches in the mainstream Chesapeake Bay from Brewerton Channel to the Maryland/Virginia line and in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds. Between May 15 and Dec. 15, the rockfish size and limit changes to 18 inches or larger and anglers will be allowed to keep two rockfish, but only one may be larger than 28 inches. The record for a striped bass caught on the Chesapeake Bay is 67 pounds, 8 ounces for a fish caught in 1995.

The striped bass is the official fish of the State of Maryland and gets its name from the seven or eight dark stripes that run from head to tail. It has an olive green back, fading to light silver on its sides, with a white underside. Known for its size and ability to put up a good fight, the striped bass is considered by many to be the premier sport fish on the bay.

Calvert County is home to the bay’s largest charter boat fleet and anglers from across the East Coast and beyond visit the county to chase the big ones with help from the area’s knowledgeable boat captains. Sport fishing is an important industry in the county and it is serious business for people like Robin Payne, who owns and operates the Rock-N-Robin.

“Charter fishing is great for all ages because the Chesapeake Bay holds a fishery that offers a grade of fish from small ones to 40-pounders,” Payne said. “It’s good for kids looking for the smaller fish and adults who want the fish of a lifetime.”

To learn more about Calvert County’s sport fishing opportunities, visit

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