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NEW STRIPED BASS REGULATIONS IN EFFECT

With striped bass action heating up across Southern New England, anglers are reminded that there are new regulations for harvest in effect.
By Toby Lapinski  |  April 27, 2020
NEW STRIPED BASS REGULATIONS IN EFFECT
With new regulations in effect for 2020, all striped bass 35 inches or greater must be released.

This week’s fishing reports included much-improved action on striped bass with a noticeable change from the tidal-river fishery we’ve been seeing to an open beachfront bite. I’ll leave the debate for another day as to whether these are “fresh fish,” but for me there is something special about getting fish out front as opposed to hunkered down in a tidal river.

However, with this influx of catching a very disturbing trend has reared its ugly head as it appears a disproportionately-high percentage of anglers have basically no knowledge of the change in regulations for harvest. Every time I see a post on social media where someone shows open anger and opposition to the subject, I can’t help but ask myself where the hell they’ve 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 on March 16 following many months of hearings, public meetings, public comment, and more hearings, we have been talking about it here at The Fisherman and 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 regulations 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 which 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.