Trophy season for rockfish to kick off April 15
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 firstname.lastname@example.org