Saltwater Fishing Regulations in Maryland: Recreational Gear Use in Tidal Waters

Bait Traps

  • Identification: Must display the user's name and address or DNRid number.
  • Maintenance: Required daily checks.
  • Placement: Within 100 feet of the shore; must be attached to property or marked by a buoy if on public land, and with landowner's permission if on private property.
  • Limitation: Only one trap per individual.

Hook and Line, Rod and Reel, and Handlines

  • Control: Must be actively managed by the individual.
  • Restrictions: Snagging prohibited; no more than two hook units per line.
  • Circle Hooks: Mandatory use of non-offset circle hooks or J hooks with certain baits and for striped bass fishing.


  • Usage Area: Tidal tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Season: July 1–February 29.
  • Monitoring: Must be attended from sunset to sunrise.
  • Limitations: Up to 10 jugs with specific marking and hook restrictions.


  • Baiting: Prohibited.
  • Restrictions: Usage may be restricted in certain areas and times.
  • Cast Nets: Radius limit of 10 feet.
  • Seines: Specific size and mesh restrictions; targeted for minnows and baitfish only.
  • Landing Nets: For landing fish caught by other means.

Bow, Gig, Spear, and Spear Gun

  • Safety: Retrieval line required; gigs must be hand-propelled.
  • Distance Restrictions: Not to be used near people, swimming areas, or occupied vessels without permission.
  • Species Restrictions: Prohibited for fishing certain species.

Hand and Noodling

  • Regulations: No special rules.

Tidal Sport Fishing: Legal and Illegal Practices

  • Legal: Keeping any size white perch on hook and line; specific regulations on umbrella rigs and catch and release of certain species.
  • Illegal: Possession of cut or filleted striped bass; possession of over 15 pounds of regulated fish in indeterminable condition; use of Sabiki rigs or mackerel trees; operation near Conowingo Dam; special local ordinances may apply.

Statewide Restrictions

  • Trade: Prohibited to trade fish or crabs caught recreationally.
  • Gear: Restrictions on waders and boots.
  • Environmental Protection: Regulations against disturbing wildlife nests or using certain species as bait.

Note: Regulations are subject to change. Always check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for the latest updates and detailed regulations.

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