Attention anglers: you may remember from a previous alert, Angler Alert Another Rockfish Reg Shakeup, that back in January after the DNR announced an Emergency Action to close trophy season we were afforded the opportunity to comment on a number of changes to the May season. Now, the department has a new selection of changes to be instituted under the normal process, which includes opening them to public comment. The proposals just opened to comment include:

  1. The elimination of the recreational and charter boat spring season (May 1—May 15) for striped bass, also known as the Trophy Season.
  2. The elimination of the recreational and charter boat early summer and fall season (May 16—May 31) in the Susquehanna Flats, Susquehanna River, and Northeast River.
  3. The prohibition of targeting striped bass in the areas which are being closed by this action.
  4. The extension of gear rules (trolling prohibition and use of certain sized J hooks) to the new timeframes.
  5. Requiring that no more than two fillets per legal fish are possessed on board a charter boat where striped bass have been filleted.
spring rockfish season changes
Spring rockfish fishing has been, and remains, in the crosshairs.

We ask all recreational anglers to use the DNR Striped Bass Comment Form to voice their support of or opposition to each of these items. You'll be able to offer support or opposition to each in turn, and it took us less than five minutes to do so. We'd also like to point out that, while we hope everyone will offer comment as their conscious dictates, we at FishTalk find item number three particularly disturbing. There have been efforts to vilify catch and release fishing, even though it can stimulate the angling economy and provide fishermen with recreation at a time when there are few other options on the Bay - and in this specific timeframe catch and release mortality is nothing like during the summer months. During the month of May water temperatures in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay are such that catch and release mortality is exceptionally low, and areas of the main-stem Bay (the area affected by proposal number three) are 20-plus miles from the spawning areas. So, to assert it interferes with spawning seems off-target at best. To find out more about catch and release mortality as related to water temperatures before making your comments, see the DNR Catch and Release Mortality study. (Look for the section on the Susquehanna Flats).

Thank you for paying attention, anglers!