Chesapeake Bay Fishing Regulations

Guidelines for Seasons, Sizes, and Creel Limits

American Eel

  • Minimum Size: 9 inches
  • Season: January 1–August 31 (Year-round for spears, baited traps, or pots)
  • Creel Limit: Daily—25

Bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth)

  • Minimum Size: 15 inches (March 1–June 15); 12 inches (June 16–February end)
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—5 in aggregate

Black Drum

  • Minimum Size: 16 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—1; Boat Limit—6

Black Sea Bass

  • Minimum Size: Refer to current public notices
  • Season: Check dnr.maryland.gov
  • Creel Limit: See current regulations

Bluefish

  • Minimum Size: 8 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Shore/Private Boat: Daily—3; For-Hire Boat: Daily—5

Catfish

  • Minimum Size: None
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: None

Chain Pickerel (Pike)

  • Minimum Size: 14 inches
  • Season: Closed March 15–April 30
  • Creel Limit: Daily—10

Cobia

  • Minimum Size: 40 inches
  • Season: June 15–September 15
  • Creel Limit: 1 per person/day; 2 per vessel/day with 2+ persons

Croaker (Hardhead)

  • Minimum Size: 9 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—25

Longnose Gar

  • Minimum Size: None
  • Season: April 15–June 30: Daily—1; July 1–April 14: Daily—5

Northern Snakehead

  • Minimum Size: None
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: None (Live possession illegal)

Red Drum (Channel Bass or Puppy Drum)

  • Minimum Size: 18–27 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—1

Sharks

  • Minimum Size: See Highly Migratory Species Section
  • Season: Refer to regulations
  • Creel Limit: Check specifics

Sheepshead

  • Minimum Size: None
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—4

Spanish Mackerel

  • Minimum Size: 14 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—15

Spot

  • Minimum Size: None
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—50

Spotted Seatrout

  • Minimum Size: 14 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—4

Striped Bass

  • Minimum Size: See Striped Bass Section
  • Season: Consult regulations
  • Creel Limit: Refer to specifics

Summer Flounder (Fluke)

  • Minimum Size: Refer to current public notices
  • Season: Check dnr.maryland.gov
  • Creel Limit: See current regulations

Tautog

  • Minimum Size: 16 inches
  • Season: January 1–May 15; July 1–December 31 (Closed May 16–June 30)
  • Creel Limit: Jan–May & Nov–Dec: Daily—4; Jul–Oct: Daily—2

Walleye

  • Minimum Size: 15 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—5

Weakfish

  • Minimum Size: 13 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—1

White Perch

  • Minimum Size: None (Hook and line); 8 inches (Other gear)
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: None

Yellow Perch

  • Minimum Size: 9 inches
  • Season: Open Year Round
  • Creel Limit: Daily—10

Conservation Measures

  • Closed to fishing in specific areas during February, March, and April to protect spawning fish.
  • Alewife Herring, American Shad, Atlantic Sturgeon, Blueback Herring, Hickory Shad, and Shortnose Sturgeon are closed to fishing.

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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.