Maryland Nontidal Freshwater Fishing: Seasons, Sizes, and Limits

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources sets forth regulations for the fishing seasons, size limits, and creel limits for various species in nontidal waters to ensure sustainable angling practices. Below is a detailed summary of these regulations:

General Regulations

  • American Eel: Minimum size of 9 inches, with a daily and possession limit of 25. Fishing is open year-round.
  • Baitfish (including Madtoms): No minimum size, with a daily and possession limit of 35 in aggregate. Open year-round.
  • Bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth): Minimum size as specified by special regulations with a closed season from March 1–June 15. The daily limit is 5 in aggregate, and the possession limit is 10 in aggregate. Catch and release permitted at all times; cannot be used as bait.
  • Carp: No minimum size, with a daily limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30. Open year-round.
  • Chain Pickerel: Minimum size of 14 inches, with a daily and possession limit of 5. Cannot be used as bait; open year-round.
  • Channel Catfish: No minimum size, with a daily and possession limit of 5. Open year-round.
  • Crappie: No minimum size, with a daily limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30. Open year-round.
  • Herring (Alewife and Blueback): Season closed, but catch and release is permitted at all times.
  • Muskellunge and Tiger Muskie: Minimum size of 36 inches, with a daily limit of 1 and a possession limit of 2. Cannot be used as bait; open year-round.
  • Northern Pike: Minimum size of 30 inches, with a daily limit of 2 and a possession limit of 4. Cannot be used as bait; open year-round.
  • Saugeye: No minimum size, with a daily and possession limit of 5. Open year-round.
  • Shad (American/White and Hickory): Season closed, but catch and release is permitted at all times.
  • Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass (Lakes and Ponds): Minimum size of 18 inches, with a daily limit of 2 (only one may be over 30 inches). Possession limit of 4 (only one may be over 30 inches). Illegal to keep those caught in nontidal streams and rivers; cannot be used as bait.
  • Suckers: No minimum size, with a daily limit of 30 and a possession limit of 60. Open year-round.
  • Sunfish: No minimum size, with a daily and possession limit of 15 in aggregate. Open year-round.
  • Trout: No minimum size, with a daily limit of 2 in aggregate and a possession limit of 4 in aggregate. Open year-round with specific rules for Put-and-Take Areas and Special Trout Management Areas. Brown and Brook Trout cannot be used as bait.
  • Walleye: Minimum size of 15 inches, with specific size requirements for Potomac River and Deep Creek Lake. Daily limit of 5 and a possession limit of 10. Cannot be used as bait; open year-round with specific closures.
  • White Perch: No minimum size or creel limit. Open year-round.
  • Yellow Perch: Minimum size of 9 inches in nontidal rivers and streams, with a daily limit of 10 and a possession limit of 20. No size limit in nontidal lakes and ponds.

Special Closures and Restrictions

  • Certain areas have seasonal closures and restrictions to protect local ecosystems.
  • Baltimore City Reservoirs and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Lakes require permits for fishing.
  • Special regulations apply for the possession of yellow perch eggs and the introduction of aquatic species into Maryland waterbodies.

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Disclaimer:

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.