Tro­phy sea­son for rock­fish to kick off April 15

Record Observer - - Sports -

It’s of­fi­cial. The 2017 spring sea­son for striped bass kicks off April 15 in Mary­land’s por­tion of the Ch­esa- peake Bay.

Recre­ational fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for striped bass, aka rock­fish, will run from 5 a.m. April 15 through mid­night May 15, with a catch limit of one fish per per­son, per day, 35 inches or larger.

Reg­u­la­tions for the com­bined sum­mer/fall sea­son, run­ning May 16 through Dec. 20, will re­main the same as last year. An­glers can keep two fish per day greater than 20 inches, with one re­quired to be less than 28 inches. Size is mea­sured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail.

Striped bass fish­ing in the At­lantic Ocean and Mary­land’s coastal bays and trib­u­taries is open year-round with a two-fish daily limit. Striped bass on the coast must be be­tween 28 and 38 inches or larger than 44 inches.

The le­gal-catch tro­phy sea­son ex­tends from Brew- er­ton Chan­nel south to the Mary­land-Vir­ginia line, ex­clud­ing all bays, sounds, trib­u­taries, creeks and rivers, ex­cept Tang­ier Sound and Po­comoke Sound.

Eels may not be used as bait.

Some trib­u­taries are open for catch-and-re­lease ac­tion. You can find a map of the lo­ca­tions on­line on the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources’ web­site.

* * * Shore­line li­cens­ing open

Own­ers of ri­par­ian, or wa­ter­front, prop­erty can now re­new or ap­ply for off­shore blind and shore­line li­cens­ing by June 1.

Any­one who owns or has an own­ers’ per­mis­sion to use ri­par­ian prop­erty may li­cense their shore­lines to es­tab­lish sta­tionar y blinds or blind sites for hunt­ing wa­ter­fowl, or to pre­vent oth­ers from li­cens­ing the shore­line at a later date.

Ri­par­ian prop­erty own­ers may li­cense their shore­line for a pe­riod of one year for a $20 fee or three years for a $60 fee. Landown­ers who miss the June 1 dead­line may par­tic­i­pate in an “open” li­cens­ing process that be­gins Aug. 1.

* * * Fresh­wa­ter bass news A big thank you to bass tour­na­ment di­rec­tors and an­glers who vol­un­tar­ily adopted best-man­age­ment prac­tices last year, such as low­er­ing creel lim­its or dis­tribut­ing han­dling prac­tices to an­glers.

Ac­cord­ing to the DNR’s Black Bass An­nual Re­view, di­rec­tors re­ported 189 tour­na­ment fish­ing days in Mary­land last year. The ma­jor­ity (59 per­cent) of those were held in the Po­tomac River and the up­per Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. About 3,604 an­glers fished tour­na­ments be­tween March and Novem­ber. Only a few tour­na­ments were re­port­edly held in other tidal wa­ters of the state.

An­glers fish­ing the Po­tomac River and the up­per Ch­e­sa­peake Bay weighedin about three bass per day dur­ing the 12-inch sea­son, which was bet­ter than the past two years. This in­crease in catch could be be­cause of bet­ter re­pro­duc­tion, bet­ter adult sur­vival, and sub­merged veg­e­ta­tion, which is of­ten tar­geted by an­glers.

An­glers re­port­edly weighed-in be­tween three and four bass per day from Eastern Shore rivers.

Most bass were re­leased alive after tour­na­ments. In to­tal there were 163 re­ported mor­tal­i­ties — that’s 98.3 per­cent sur­vival. Mor­tal­ity at the scale has re­port­edly de­clined in re­cent years.

You can find a list of up­com­ing tour­na­ments in­clud­ing one March 15 in Sharp­town on the Nan­ti­coke on the DNR’s web­site (dnr.mar yland.gov/fisher ies/pages/bass/ta.aspx). * ** Duck blind know-it-all The north­ern shrike, a large song­bird, im­pales its prey (mostly ro­dents) on thorns to pick at and to save for eat­ing later. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss / email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

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