Tuesday, May 16, 2023

MD Announces New Summer/Fall Striper Regs

MDDNR, Maryland Summer-Fall Striped Bass Season Regulations Includes New Maximum Size to Conserve Spawning Stock

Regulations Take Effect May 16, Following Actions Approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced regulations for the summer recreational striped bass fishing season beginning May 16, 2023, including a new maximum size of 31 inches that is being enacted in states throughout the Atlantic Coast. The department will continue other conservation actions – including a one-fish daily catch limit and a summer closure – that have been in place the past two seasons to protect the future of striped bass fishing.

The summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries will be open May 16 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 31 inches. A smaller maximum size of 26 inches is in place in the Susquehanna Flats, Lower Susquehanna River, and North East River until June 1.

In Maryland’s portion of the Atlantic Ocean and its coastal bays, which are open to striped bass fishing all year, anglers may keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum length of 28 inches and a maximum length of 31 inches. This regulation also goes into effect May 16.

The Maryland Trophy Striped Bass season, ongoing through May 15, is not affected by these regulations.

On May 2, 2023, the Striped Bass Board of Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission took emergency action requiring every recreational fishery from Maine to North Carolina, including the Chesapeake Bay, to implement a 31-inch maximum size limit. This conservation measure was done in order to provide protection for the strong 2015 year class as they grow into spawning age. Although the emergency rule expires October 28, it is likely to be extended by the board, and Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission are setting the 31-inch maximum for the entire 2023 season. The Commission has scheduled four virtual public hearings on this emergency action beginning May 17 – information on registering these hearings is available on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission website.

More information and complete regulations on striped bass fishing in Maryland waters is available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

The summer size lower size limit of 19 inches, and the two week moratorium are the same as in recent years. What has changed is the imposition of the upper limit of the slot, 31 inches. While this is not as hard on recreational fisherman than what I thought I saw yesterday a 31 inch lower limit, but I do have mixed feelings about it. It's really not much of a change in practice. As I pointed out yesterday, 31+ inch fish are rare in summer but they do occur, and sometimes in pretty big schools. Most fisherman not of the catch and release religion will go out, sort through a bunch of 12-18 inch fish to find a 19+ inch fish to keep. However, starting today, if by some odd chance, the catch a 31 or long inch fish they will have to release, with a good likelihood of mortality during the warm periods. Would their behavior be any different because of the 31 inch maximum? I doubt it.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: The Komi Girls up at The Other McCain.

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