The Department of Natural Resources yesterday finalized the regulations for recreational rockfish seasons this year, and the guidelines now await approval of the Administrative Executive Review Committee of the General Assembly.
Pete Jensen, director of DNR's Tidewater Fisheries, said the "proposed striped bass [rockfish] seasons complies with the guidelines set by the coastal states" and represent increased seasons and creel limits for recreational and charter-boat fishermen.
If approved as written, Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay would have recreational and charter-boat seasons from April 28 through July 4 and Sept. 1 through Nov. 19.
In Maryland's coastal waters of the Atlantic, the recreational and charter-boat season would run from April 28 through Dec. 24.
In the Chesapeake Bay, the seasons are split into three sessions, with three different size and creel limits. To fish any or all of the sessions, recreational anglers would have to purchase a $2 rockfish permit in addition to a Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing License.
The spring season, traditionally called the trophy season, would run from April 28 through May 31, with a 32-inch minimum size limit and a limit of one fish per day and five for the season. Legal fish must be tagged and the catch must be reported on the day it is caught (1-800-999-2800).
The spring trophy season will be open only in main bay waters from Brewerton Channel (mouth of the Patapsco River to Swann Point) south to the Virginia line and including Tangier and Pocomoke sounds.
The second season would run from June 1 through July 4, with a 26-inch minimum and a limit of one per day. All Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries would be open, and tags and daily reports would not be required.
The fall season would run from Sept. 1 through Nov. 19 with a minimum of 18 inches and a creel limit of two for recreational and charter-boat fishermen. Neither tags nor daily catch reports would be required.
Along the coast, the minimum length would be 28 inches and the daily limit would be two fish for recreational and charter-boat fishermen.
Loch Raven Reservoir -- Crappie, bluegills and white perch moving into the shallows.
Piney Run Reservoir -- Crappie and bluegills moving into shallows.
Prettyboy Reservoir -- Bluegills, crappie and white perch moving in.
Liberty Reservoir -- Crappie and bluegills in the shallows.
Upper Potomac -- Smallmouth bass becoming active.
Tidal Potomac (upper) -- Largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and perch.
L Susquehanna River -- Herring and some white perch moving in.
Choptank River (upper) -- Small white perch at Red Bridges, catfish, perch and catfish at Denton and perch and catfish at Martinak State Park.
Chester River (upper) -- Catfish and perch, with some small white perch to be had at Millington.