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Chesapeake Regs Change.

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Recent emergency regulations from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have canceled the striped bass trophy season in 2024, affecting the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay. Currently, anglers can continue to catch-and-release fish for striped bass in Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries until the end of March. From April 1 to May 15, fishing for striped bass is now prohibited.

 

The changes, approved by the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review, were made to bolster striped bass spawning populations. Chesapeake Bay is a crucial spawning and nursery area for 70 to 90 percent of Atlantic Coast striped bass, so the emergency measures aim to safeguard mature fish during their spring spawning migration.

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1 hour ago, hydraman said:

This is good news hope they step up enforcement and get some of the poachers off the water ways. 

The spawning rivers in the bay are heavily patrolled this time of year. The guys on foot are super sneaky. I’ve had them scare the ever loving crap out of me when I’m shad fishing. Also historically the spawning areas of the bay are off limits till June 1st. This just shuts down the bay in general to C&R fishing. Pray for snow on the Delmarva, We need a wet cold spring for success. 

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3 mins ago, GoneCoastal said:

The spawning rivers in the bay are heavily patrolled this time of year. The guys on foot are super sneaky. I’ve had them scare the ever loving crap out of me when I’m shad fishing. Also historically the spawning areas of the bay are off limits till June 1st. This just shuts down the bay in general to C&R fishing. Pray for snow on the Delmarva, We need a wet cold spring for success. 


This has me very hopeful.

Between the slot and preventing pressure on post-spawn fish -- couldn't ask for more from the regulations side.

 

 

We'll see how enforcement shakes out

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From my general experience, I’ve never seen anyone hauling fish out of the Susquehanna from shore. I fish for shad and white perch during that time. Small males are caught sometimes as by catch. No one is targeting cows with 11 foot GSB’s and VS300’s. The DNR is heavy and as for the boat guys they are watching them hard too. I’ve had undercover guys in kayaks approach us several times. The boat ramps are patrolled well too. I can imagine with the regs changing this year they are gonna be extra vigilant. 

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21 mins ago, GoneCoastal said:

From my general experience, I’ve never seen anyone hauling fish out of the Susquehanna from shore. I fish for shad and white perch during that time. Small males are caught sometimes as by catch. No one is targeting cows with 11 foot GSB’s and VS300’s. The DNR is heavy and as for the boat guys they are watching them hard too. I’ve had undercover guys in kayaks approach us several times. The boat ramps are patrolled well too. I can imagine with the regs changing this year they are gonna be extra vigilant. 

Not sure what river system you're referring to, but I live upriver on a major spawning river and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen Natural Resource Police on patrol. That has been my experience during the colder months on most of the lower DelMarVa river systems. I only encounter them post spring when boaters get out. They don't get the funding or resources needed to run sting operations on any regularity.

 

Most poaching is going on at night time, and they have a network of people that notify them when to illegally set and pull nets. As for hook n line poachers, they know the game all to well, and use runners.

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7 mins ago, JAL said:

Not sure what river system you're referring to, but I live upriver on a major spawning river and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen Natural Resource Police on patrol. That has been my experience during the colder months on most of the lower DelMarVa river systems. I only encounter them post spring when boaters get out. They don't get the funding or resources needed to run sting operations on any regularity.

 

Most poaching is going on at night time, and they have a network of people that notify them when to illegally set and pull nets. As for hook n line poachers, they know the game all to well, and use runners.

I fish the Susquehanna from Havre De Grace proper to the Conowingo Dam pretty regularly from mid march on. I do see someone from DNR around regularly. If I don’t see them, I’m sure they’re hiding in the woods watching with Binoculars. Or watching from the parking lot. That being said I’ve also called them in myself on more than one occasion. That’s mostly after June 1st though. People are gonna poach regardless sadly. My post was more pointing out to our northern brethren that it’s not a no holds bar buffalo hunt down here. Atleast in my neck of the woods. 

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14 hours ago, bobber said:

fingers crossed this make a tangible difference in the fish's ability to spawn

Me too.  It's a "better" static measure(human) to the possible dynamic equation(mother nature) of the chessy bass population.

 

Checked some long-range models - lots of flip flopping in weather patterns like the usual El Nino winter/spring - this could cause a possible late winter snow storm in the region, but on the whole, odds are against this spring being a good spawning cycle imo.  Believe we are in decadal downturn of the striped bass spawns - but the fortunate thing about the striped bass >>> is that you only need 1 successful spawn in the chessy to get the population back on track.

 

When that happens???  No one knows, but we can make predictions based of trends, weather & weather anomalies, science, etc.  Striped bass populations can come back, and 1 successful spring spawning season can be a deal-breaker for the area/fishery.

 

We need to pray for a snowy March in the mid-Atlantic. 

 

^^^Odds are against it - but it can still happen during an El Nino season.  And, the ASFMC want to "assess the situation next fall in October" - which statistically is only going to "back-up" their theory imo - and not see the bigger picture about striped bass nurseries & spawns.  And, furthermore, you would need more data to make the conclusive evidence fact... or, be labeled as inconclusive >>> we really won't know the trend till 2025/26 in my humble opinion.

 

Be prepared, for another low recruitment/spawn period this season. 

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On 2/14/2024 at 4:57 PM, GoneCoastal said:

I fish the Susquehanna from Havre De Grace proper to the Conowingo Dam pretty regularly from mid march on. I do see someone from DNR around regularly. If I don’t see them, I’m sure they’re hiding in the woods watching with Binoculars. Or watching from the parking lot. That being said I’ve also called them in myself on more than one occasion. That’s mostly after June 1st though. People are gonna poach regardless sadly. My post was more pointing out to our northern brethren that it’s not a no holds bar buffalo hunt down here. Atleast in my neck of the woods. 


 

from a similar area and just recently started fishing turkey point - you mind if I PM some questions?

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On 2/14/2024 at 2:01 PM, Slacker said:

Recent emergency regulations from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have canceled the striped bass trophy season in 2024, affecting the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay. Currently, anglers can continue to catch-and-release fish for striped bass in Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries until the end of March. From April 1 to May 15, fishing for striped bass is now prohibited.

 

The changes, approved by the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review, were made to bolster striped bass spawning populations. Chesapeake Bay is a crucial spawning and nursery area for 70 to 90 percent of Atlantic Coast striped bass, so the emergency measures aim to safeguard mature fish during their spring spawning migration.

These same fish should be protected all the time or not at all… it is unfair to expect MD to bear the brunt of the responsibility of protecting the species again…

Captain of the 22' SeaCat aptly named Piscatologist
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10 hours ago, MarcusH said:

These same fish should be protected all the time or not at all… it is unfair to expect MD to bear the brunt of the responsibility of protecting the species again…

Maryland kills more bass every year than any other state does. A lot of this harvest also happens as the fish are preparing to spawn. And a majority of striped bass (+75%) originate from the Chesapeake in Marylands backyard. 
 

I can’t think of a more deserving state than Maryland to blame for the state of the fishery and they should bear significant responsibility in recovering the stock.

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53 mins ago, hairyfishhead said:

Maryland kills more bass every year than any other state does. A lot of this harvest also happens as the fish are preparing to spawn. And a majority of striped bass (+75%) originate from the Chesapeake in Marylands backyard. 
 

I can’t think of a more deserving state than Maryland to blame for the state of the fishery and they should bear significant responsibility in recovering the stock.

The worst of that occurred after Addencum IV, which was supposed to reduce landings in the Chesapeake Bay by 20.5% compared to 2012.

 

In 2012, Maryland anglers landed 719,622 bass, so the state's landings after Addendum VI went into place in 2015 should have been about 572,000 fish per year.  It never happened.  Instead, estimated landings were 1,111,582 in 2015, 1,545,586 in 2016, 1,091,614 in 2017, 993,304 in 2018, and 765,170 in 2019.  After that, Addendum VI governed the fishery.

 

Basically, Maryland shrugged off its entire conservation burden, and put it on the shoulders of the coastal states.  They got away with it because the ASMFC was still employing conservation equivalency at the time, the Technical Committee approved supposedly equivalent regulations ahead of the 2015 season, and the Management Board elected not to revisit the issue after it was clear that Maryland was killing far too many fish, because the coastal reductions appeared to be adequate (the 2019 benchmark later demonstrated that they weren't, but by then it was too late).

 

Probably the worst of the entire episode occurred at, if I remember correctly, the October 2016 Management Board meeting, when it was clear that Maryland wasn't achieving the required reduction, but its state fisheries representative argued that Maryland's regulations were a success, becsuse if the new regulations were not in place, Maryland would have been exceeding the targeted reduction by even more.  Then, because the coastwide fishing mortality rate was 0.02 below the fishing mortality target, Maryland tried, but ultimately failed, to convince the Management Board to relax regulations a little bit, so that Maryland fishermen, and particularly the Maryland charter fleet, could kill even more bass, making a farce of the 20.5% reduction.

 

It was a sad thing to see, but recent events at the Management Board, and particularly last month's meeting, made it pretty clear that the majority of the Board has tired of Maryland's games.  The special 2-fish bag for their for-hire anglers is gone, and they didn't get to delay implementation of the 7% reduction in its commercial quota until 2025, even though the majority of the Maryland delegation (but, it should be noted, not its legislative proxy, David Sikorski, who fought hard to do the right thing for the bass) incessantly tried to throw up obstacles to every conservation measure.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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