Summer Striper Season

May 16th is the opening of the summer rockfish season.

We can now keep one striped bass per day in the bay with a 19-inch minimum and two per day in the Potomac with a 20-inch minimum. Reports from experienced fishermen indicate good quantities of keeper fish in the shallows most everywhere, Trollers should do very well with small umbrellas and tandem rigs along the edges of drop-offs and oyster bars. The Patuxent River is open for stripers now as far up as Point Patience. There should be plenty for jiggers around the pilings of the Solomons bridge and along the rocks of West Basin of the Naval Air station. Trollers in the mouth of the Patuxent will find keeper rockfish in the great circle from Town Creek to Fishing Point in about 25 feet. The entire Patuxent opens for stripers on June 1.

Excellent early rockfish most everywhere.

As soon as we get some rising temperatures and calm days, I think there will be a fair amount of trophy fish taken by trollers. On May 16 the minimum keeper size will drop to 19 inches, one per day, in Maryland portions of the bay and some river mouths (check website or regulation book}. The Potomac changes to 20-inch minimum and two per day. All waters will be open on June 1.

There have been numerous speckled trout caught in all the local spots, and there was a puppy drum of 18 inches reported in the mouth of the Patuxent.

The skate (cow-nosed rays) have arrived, and some schools are in the hundreds. They are in Cornfield Harbor and in the mouth of the Patuxent. These guys are big and strong; they will take your bait or lure so be careful and tend your gear lest it gets hauled out to sea.

Eric Packard with rockfish from the shallows around Pont Lookout. Starting May 16 anglers can keep two per day 20 inches or longer in the Potomac.

Catfish are plentiful at Bushwood Wharf. Some there can be huge, 30 to 50 pounds.

The upper Potomac and Patuxent are loaded with catfish. Senator Jack Bailey's bill has passed that allows any angler to purchase a $15.00 license to sell his catch of blue and flathead catfish. The license allows its bearer to set trot lines for catfish. These measures indicate a serious effort to reduce or eliminate these invasive species from our waters. These fish are good eating and an excellent source of protein.

Keeper stripers like this are very plentiful in the bay and Potomac, promising very good spring fishing.

Reports of snakehead are rampant with nighttime giggers and archers finding plenty of action. Fishermen targeting the snakeheads find plenty in the creeks and rivers now.

Freshwater fishing is excellent with plenty of smaller-sized largemouth bass in St. Mary's Lake, plus pickerel, bluegill, and crappie.

The new 31-inch maximum will be in effect on May 16 for the Maryland portion of the Bay for striped bass (rockfish). We have essentially a slot limit for striped bass of one per day, 19-inch minimum, and a maximum of 31 inches.

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission has also put a maximum of 31 inches on Rockfish. So their slot is 20-inch minimum, 31-inch max with creek limit of two per day.

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