Slot Length Limit Regulations for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass in Maryland

In Maryland, specific bodies of water have slot length limit regulations for largemouth and smallmouth bass to protect and enhance bass populations. These regulations apply to the following areas:

  • Johnson Pond, Wicomico County
  • Leonard Mill Pond, Wicomico County
  • Little Seneca Lake, Montgomery County
  • St. Mary’s Lake, St. Mary’s County (located on MD Route 5)

Restrictions for These Areas:

  • Daily Limit: Anglers are limited to possessing no more than five bass (combining both largemouth and smallmouth bass) per day.
  • Slot Limit: It is prohibited to have in possession any bass that measures between 11 and 15 inches in length.
  • Maximum Size Limit: Only one of the bass in possession may be 15 inches or longer.

Catch-and-Release Bass Fishing Zones in Maryland

Maryland designates certain waterways as exclusive catch-and-release areas for largemouth and smallmouth bass to promote conservation and sustainable fishing practices. The designated catch-and-release zones include:

  • Monocacy River: Stretching from the Potomac River upstream to the Buckeystown Dam.
  • North Branch Potomac River: From the spillway in Cumberland upstream approximately 25 miles to the US Route 220 Bridge at Keyser, West Virginia.
  • Patapsco River: From Interstate 70 downstream to MD Route 144 (Frederick Road).
  • Potomac River: From Dam No. 2 (Seneca Breaks) upstream to the mouth of the Monocacy River.

Restrictions Applicable in These Areas:

  • Possession Prohibited: Anglers are not allowed to keep any largemouth or smallmouth bass caught in these areas; possession of these species is strictly prohibited.
  • Immediate Release Required: Any largemouth or smallmouth bass caught must be immediately released back into the water from where it was caught, without causing harm to the fish.

Black Bass Conservation Fund

Maryland now allows anyone to donate any amount to support black bass conservation through COMPASS. All money will be used to support black bass conservation in Maryland.

Black Bass Tournament Permit Requirements in Maryland

Maryland mandates a black bass tournament permit under specific conditions to regulate competitions and protect fish populations. This permit is essential for organizing largemouth and smallmouth bass tournaments, ensuring that these events are conducted responsibly and sustainably. Here are the key criteria that necessitate obtaining a tournament permit:

Permit Criteria:

  • Participant Boats: The tournament must feature 10 or more boats.
  • Weigh-In Location: There must be a designated location for weighing, measuring, counting, or otherwise processing the catch.
  • Incentives: The tournament offers rewards, incentives, or prizes for catching black bass.

Permit Application and Deadlines:

  • For Tournaments with 10–50 Boats: The application must be submitted at least 15 days prior to the event date.
  • For Tournaments with 50 or More Boats: The application deadline extends to 30 days before the tournament.

Permit Issuance:

  • Tournament directors receive their permits electronically within two weeks of submitting their application, facilitating efficient planning and organization of the event.

Additional Information and Permitted Tournaments:

Best Practices for Conducting Live Release Bass Tournaments

Live release tournaments are a great way to enjoy competitive fishing while promoting the conservation of bass populations. To ensure the health and survival of the fish during and after the event, here are essential tips for managing live wells and handling bass:

Live Well Management

  • Capacity: Ensure the live well is adequately sized, with a general guideline of one pound of fish per gallon of water.
  • Pump Efficiency: Use a pump with a minimum capacity of 750 gallons per hour to maintain water quality and oxygen levels.
  • Temperature Control: Keep the live well water 5–7 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the river temperature using ice and regular water exchanges to reduce fish stress.
  • Ventilation: Implement continuous circulation and frequent water exchanges. Periodically open live well lids to release carbon dioxide, especially important in rough water or high-stress conditions.

Summer Tournament Care

  • Heat Awareness: Extreme temperatures can be fatal to bass. Take additional measures to ensure the live well is cool and well-ventilated.
  • Emergency Preparedness: If the live well fails, act immediately. Manually add fresh water every 10 minutes, use a backup pump, share a working live well with other participants, or release the fish if necessary.

Fish Handling

  • Culling Strategy: Adopt a culling method that minimizes harm, avoiding damage to the fish's lips or body.
  • Deceased Fish: Promptly remove any dead bass from the live well. Properly dispose of harvested fish by following local regulations—do not leave them at boat ramps or parking areas. Consider donating consumable fish.

Equipment Maintenance

  • Cleaning: Regularly clean the live well and intake systems to remove algae, plant debris, and other obstructions that can affect water quality and flow.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.