Thanks to actions by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Committee, we enter the 2024 striped bass season, or the 2024 rockfish season as most locals would call it, with very different regulations than we’ve had in the past. Rockfish bag limits are, for the first time in a long time, the same throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Anglers will be allowed to take home one fish between 19 and 24 inches. Striped bass season begins throughout the Bay tomorrow, May 16. However, the seasons differ between the jurisdictions beyond the opening date, with different summer closures and additional restrictions.

rockfish season opens 2024
With the new Chesapeake Bay rockfish regulations you'll need to find a fish between 19 and 24 inches to take home dinner whether you're fishing in Maryland, Virginia, or the Potomac River. 

Thanks to the constantly changing nature of these regulations we hesitate to get into too much detail here, or someone may read these words in the future and run afoul of the law. Instead, we’ll recommend following these links to look up the latest regs for each different jurisdiction and checking them on a regular basis.

Remember that regulations in coastal waters are completely different from those in the Bay, and that as the season begins there are many closed areas in Maryland’s portion of the Bay until June 1 as well as areas where catch and release is legal, but harvest is not. See their Striped Bass Regulations Map to check out what’s what.

As you head out to enjoy the opening of striped bass season, 2024, remember that our fishing reports will be updated with the latest by noon on Friday (and if you haven’t already, you can sign up to get a weekly email notification with links to the different zones when the report gets updated). That said, as of last week we were receiving lots of reports of anglers fishing in the shallows for speckled trout, but catching rockfish (including plenty over the slot size) by accident. Most of this action was happening in the Choptank-to-Tangier zone also in the Potomac. The anglers were casting paddletails or jerkbaits (in one case a Ned rig) in white, electric chicken, and chartreuse, in eight feet or less.

Good luck, anglers, as the 2024 striped bass season opens!