Rockfish Spring Trophy Season Begins April 17
ANNAPOLIS – The day that anglers across the state have been waiting for has arrived. Tomorrow, Saturday, April 17, is the start of the Rockfish Spring Trophy Season, which runs through May 15.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service Ecologists predict that this season will be “excellent,” and that anglers may have the opportunity to catch the “fish of a lifetime.”
Ecologists have been out on the spawning grounds for the past two weeks, and rockfish are staged in those areas in large numbers, waiting for temperatures to warm sufficiently for spawning. Once that warming begins and spawning commences, anglers will see rockfish in their catches as they down run from their spawning grounds in the rivers and upper bay.
The duration and intensity of angler catches will be dependent upon how rapidly bay water temperatures warm. If bay waters warm slowly, as they did last year, the action will last longer. If waters warm quickly, the action will be fast and furious and somewhat shorter in duration. For now, conditions could not be better for the start of this season.
“As the striped bass stock continues to expand, we are seeing more and more larger fish, and there is a chance for anglers to catch fish in excess of 50, 60 and possibly even 70 pounds,” said Martin L. Gary, an ecologist with the Fisheries Service.
During the Spring Trophy Season, fishermen are allowed one rockfish per person, per day. The minimum length of the fish is 28 inches. Neither the captain, nor the mate of a charter boat is eligible. Anglers may not possess striped bass while fishing between 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. and no eels may be used during this season.
Spring Trophy Season is restricted to the mainstem Chesapeake Bay from Brewerton Channel to the Maryland/ Virginia Line, Tangier & Pocomoke Sounds and no fishing in tributaries is allowed. Charter boats may make a maximum of two trips per day.
Anglers looking for the most up-to-date information on rockfish should call the Rockfish Hotline, 1-800-R-O-C-K-F-I-S-H. The Hotline is updated weekly and is available throughout the entire season.
However, this is just one of the many recreational fishing opportunities brought to Maryland anglers from Fisheries Service. Here are some additional opportunities for Marylanders, young and old, to get out and fish:
For more information about fishing in Maryland including fish reports and license information, visit the Fisheries Service web page, http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/.
- Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs fly tying and fishing clinics for teens begin in Annapolis on April 17 and continue throughout the year in different locations around the state. More information is available at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/education/hofnod.html.
- DNR offers three free fishing days per year. In 2004, anglers can fish anywhere in the state without a license on June 5 and 12 and July 4.
- License-free fishing is also available any time in areas across the state. Specific locations are listed by county on DNR Online at http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/recreational/freefi.html
Posted April 16, 2004