Editor's Log: New Striped Bass Regulations - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: New Striped Bass Regulations

Striped bass fishing started off on a high note this year with very good holdover/tidal river fishing in the late winter and early spring transitioning into solid action along the oceanfront by the end of April. By the second week of May we had the first 40-pound-class fish entering the reports. Excited anglers posted plenty of photos confirming the good bite on various social media platforms, but what stuck out to me the most was the disproportionately-high percentage of anglers who had basically no knowledge of the change in regulations for harvest that went into effect on or about April 1. Of those who were aware of the changes, a few even blatantly disregarded the changes, saying they were keeping the fish come hell or high water. This group is a problem unto itself, and not one I’m addressing here today; it’s those who claim ignorance who I’d like to address.

Every time I saw a post on social media where someone showed open anger and opposition to the subject I couldn’t help but ask myself where they’d been for the past year or so. I mean, it’s not like these changes came into effect overnight without any prior notice. We first published the finalized regulations at TheFisherman.com on March 16 following many months of hearings, public meetings, public comment, and more hearings. We have been talking about it here on the pages of The Fisherman Magazine and online for about as long as I can remember, and we have been passing updates along to you since day 1; yet still there is far too large a piece of the angling public for whom this is news.

So for those of you who fall into that group where this is ‘new’ news, and for those of you who would simply like a refresher on the subject, what follows is the final recreational regulation list for Atlantic striped bass effective as of April 1, 2020.

A few items of note before you read on:

  1. The symbol < means ‘less than’ (see note #4)
  2. The symbol </= means ‘less than or equal to’
  3. When determining the harvestable range for noted slot limits, fish that meet the lower limit (28 inches for example) may be harvested unless otherwise noted
  4. When determining the harvestable range for noted slot limits, fish which meet the higher limit (35 inches for example) may NOT be harvested unless otherwise noted

So, with that out of the way, here is what has been approved in regard to recreational Atlantic striped bass measures effective on April 1, 2020, traveling from north to south along the Striper Coast.

  • Maine: 1 fish, 28 – <35 inches.
  • New Hampshire: 1 fish, 28 – <35 inches.
  • Massachusetts: 1 fish, 28 – <35 inches.
  • Rhode Island: 1 fish, 28 – <35 inches.
  • Connecticut: 1 fish, 28 – <35 inches.
  • New York:
    • Ocean & Hudson River below George Washington Bridge: 1 fish, 28 – 35 inches from 4/15 – 12/15.
    • Hudson River above the George Washington Bridge: 1 fish, 18 – 28 inches from 4/1-11/30.
  • New Jersey: 1 fish, 28 – <38 inches.
    • Striped Bass Bonus Program: 1 fish, 24 – <28 inches with a season of 5/15 – 12/31 for tag holders, only.
  • Pennsylvania:
    • DE Estuary: 1 fish 28 – <35 inches (1/1 – 3/31, 6/1 – 12/31); 2 fish 21 – <24 inches (4/1 – 5/31).
    • DE River (non-tidal): 1 fish 28 – <35 inches.
  • Delaware:
    • Ocean: 1 fish, 28 – 35 inches.
    • Delaware Bay, River, Tributaries: 1 fish, 20 – <25 inches (7/1 – 8/31).
    • No harvest permitted in spawning grounds from 4/1-5/31
  • Maryland:
    • Ocean: 1 fish, 28 – <35 inches.
    • Chesapeake Bay: 1 fish, 35-inch minimum (5/1 – 5/15); Shore/Private Boat 1 fish, 19-inch minimum (5/16 – 8/16, 9/1 – 12/10); For-Hire 2 fish, 19-inch minimum with only 1 fish >28 inches (5/16 – 8/16, 9/1 – 12/10).
  • Virginia:
    • Ocean: 1 fish, 28 – </=36 inches (1/1 – 3/31, 5/16 – 12/31).
    • Chesapeake Bay: 1 fish, 20 – </= 36 inches (5/16 – 6/15, 10/4 – 12/31).
  • North Carolina: 1 fish, 28 – <35 inches.

Related

STATE PARKS FAB Update

Editor’s Log: Talking In Circles

Editor’s Log: Commercial Striped Bass Talk