08.02.11.04

.04 Statewide General Regulations.

A. Use of Projectile Gear.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person may use projectile gear to take fish in nontidal waters except for all trout species, walleye, striped bass, striped bass hybrid, northern pike, muskellunge, muskellunge hybrids including tiger musky, and largemouth and smallmouth bass.

(2) A person may not take or attempt to take any fish with a projectile gear in a Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Area or Special Fisheries Management Area for trout at any time.

(3) A person may not take or attempt to take any fish with a projectile gear in State-controlled community ponds or lakes. However, the Department may permit the taking of carp in community ponds and lakes when it deems advisable.

B. Open Seasons, Creel, Possession, and Size Limits on Game and Fresh Water Fish in Nontidal Waters. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter for specific areas, the following apply Statewide:

(1) Open Seasons.

Species Open Season
(a) Walleye No closed season, except a closed season on Deep Creek Lake and the Youghiogheny River downstream of the Route 42 Bridge, from March 1 through April 15
(b) Trout (all species) No closed season, except as provided in Regulation .01B, C, E, F, and G of this chapter.
(c) Catfish, suckers, carp, eel, gudgeon, all species of sunfish, including bluegills, rock bass (commonly known as red eye or goggle-eye), fallfish, crappie, perch (white and yellow) No closed season
(d) Largemouth bass June 16 through the last day of February.
(e) Smallmouth bass June 16 through the last day of February.
(f) Pickerel No closed season
(g) Northern pike No closed season
(h) Muskellunge and hybrids including tiger musky No closed season
(i) Herring January 1 through June 5
(j) American (white) shad, hickory shad No open season
(k) Striped bass Closed, except as provided for in Special Management Areas
(l) Fish caught during closed seasons shall be returned to waters of the State immediately after being caught.
(m) Bivalve/shellfish (mussels and clams) No open season
(n) Yellow Perch No closed season

(2) Creel and Possession Limits.

Daily Creel Possession
(a) Trout (all species) in aggregate
(i) Put-and-take areas 5 5
(ii) Other areas not described in Regulation .03 of this chapter 2 2
(b) Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in aggregate 5 10
(c) Walleye 5
(d) Pickerel 5
(e) Northern pike 2
(f) Muskellunge and hybrids including tiger musky 1
(g) Sucker species in aggregate 30 60
(h) White perch No daily limit
(i) American (white) and hickory shad Closed season—none permitted
(j) Herring (Blueback and Alewife) No daily limit
(k) Striped bass Closed, except as provided for in Special Management Areas
(l) Gudgeon No daily limit
(m) Crappie species in aggregate 15 30
(n) Channel catfish 5 10
(o) Fallfish No daily limit
(p) Sunfish species in aggregate, including Bluegills and Rock Bass (commonly known as Red Eye or goggle-eye) 15 30
(q) Carp 15 30
(r) Eel 25 25
(s) Yellow Perch
(i) Nontidal waters 10, except no limit in reservoirs, lakes, ponds, impoundments, and waters upstream of them.
(ii) Deep Creek Lake 10 20
(t) Bivalve/shellfish (mussels and clams) Closed season—none permitted

(3) Minimum Size from Tip of Nose to End of Caudal Fin or Tail.

(a) Largemouth bass 12 inches, except as provided in Regulation .03A and E of this chapter.
(b) Smallmouth bass 12 inches, except as provided in Regulation .03A of this chapter.
(c) Walleye 15 inches, except a 20-inch maximum size, Potomac River mainstem (northwest quadrant boundary lines of the District of Columbia, approximately 0.5 mile upriver from the Chain Bridge upstream to the spillway in Cumberland), from January 1 through April 15.
(d) Pickerel 14 inches
(e) Northern pike 30 inches
(f) Muskellunge and hybrids including tiger musky 36 inches
(g) Striped bass As provided for in Regulation .03D of this chapter.
(h) Gudgeon No minimum size
(i) Trout (all species) No minimum size
(j) Fallfish No minimum size
(k) Catfish No minimum size
(l) White Perch No minimum size
(m) Herring No minimum size
(n) Suckers No minimum size
(o) Crappie No minimum size
(p) Sunfish, including bluegills, rock bass (commonly known as red eye or goggle-eye) No minimum size
(q) Carp No minimum size
(r) Eel 6 inches
(s) Yellow Perch
(i) Nontidal waters 9 inches, except no minimum size in reservoirs, lakes, ponds, impoundments, and upstream of them.
(ii) Deep Creek Lake No minimum size.

C. Swimming. Swimming is prohibited in any area controlled by the Inland Fisheries Division except in designated areas.

D. Ice Fishing in Nontidal Waters.

(1) A person may fish through the ice in any nontidal waters of the State during the lawful open season if an angler's license first is obtained.

(2) A person may not cut a hole through the ice for the purpose of ice fishing that measures more than 10 inches across in any direction.

(3) It will be lawful for any person who is ice fishing to use up to five tip ups or rods (hand held devices) when ice fishing.

(4) All tip ups and rods used by a person engaged in ice fishing shall be under the immediate control of the person.

E. State Fish Refuges and Fish Hatcheries. A person may not fish in any State fish refuge, fish hatchery, or fish propagation area except persons authorized by the Department.

F. Importation—Fish.

(1) For the purpose of this regulation, "indigenous" means any fish species that naturally occurs in, or has been artificially introduced into, the waters of the State, and has established self-sustaining populations for at least 10 years.

(2) So that the fish populations in the nontidal waters of the State may be protected from exotic species that might be harmful, a person may not introduce into the nontidal waters, or import or possess for introduction, any live fish not indigenous to the nontidal waters of the State.

(3) Insofar as indigenous fish species of the tidal waters have not been harmful to the nontidal waters, but exotic species pose a threat to nontidal fish populations, a person may not introduce into the tidal waters, or import or possess for introduction, any live fish not indigenous to the tidal waters of the State without first obtaining a permit to do so from the Inland Fisheries Division. This permit shall be granted only if satisfactory proof is presented to the Division that the specific fish intended to be imported will be free of any communicable disease at the time of importation and will not be harmful to the native flora and fauna in the nontidal waters. Application for the permit shall be filed with the Division not less than 60 days before the proposed date of importation.

(4) The provisions of this regulation with respect to importation and possession do not apply to fish for use in laboratories or exhibitions, or for use as pets. Any fish not indigenous to the waters of the State shall be held only in aquaria or other indoor facility from which escape into the waters of the State is impossible.

(5) The introduction of any indigenous fish species except bait fish on a hook for the purpose of angling into the nontidal waters of the State is prohibited without written approval of the Inland Fisheries Division.

G. Commercial Harvest and Sale of Fish. Except as provided in Natural Resources Article, §4-11A-02, Annotated Code of Maryland, requirements concerning aquaculture operations, a person may not buy, sell, or offer to buy or sell any fish harvested from the nontidal waters of the State.

H. Vehicles on Inland Fisheries Division Owned or Controlled Lands.

(1) For the purpose of this regulation, "vehicle" means a vehicle or vessel propelled by mechanical power that is capable of travelling on land, snow, or ice.

(2) A person may not operate any vehicle on any lands owned or controlled by the Inland Fisheries Division without written permission of the Division except on those roads, lanes, or areas which are open to automobile traffic or which are specifically marked by the Division.

I. Camping on Inland Fisheries Division Owned or Controlled Lands.

(1) For the purpose of this regulation, "camping" means erecting tents or other shelters for the purpose of residing temporarily upon the property overnight.

(2) A person may not camp on lands owned or controlled by the Inland Fisheries Division except on designated sites or by written permit, or both.

(3) It is unlawful to fish in a lake or pond owned or controlled by the Inland Fisheries Division before 5:30 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

J. Bait.

(1) A person may not:

(a) Take or possess more than 35 bait fish in any day from nontidal waters of the State; or

(b) Take bait fish of any area described in Regulation .01B—H of this chapter.

(2) Crayfish.

(a) In the waters of the Middle Potomac River, Upper Potomac River, and Susquehanna River basins, as described by Maryland Integrated Watershed Data and Information System 6-Digit Map, a person may not:

(i) Catch and possess any species of crayfish unless the head is immediately removed behind the eyes upon capture;

(ii) Use any species of crayfish as bait unless the head is removed behind the eyes;

(iii) Possess any species of crayfish while fishing unless the head is removed behind the eyes; or

(iv) Catch and possess an egg-bearing female with eggs attached to the underside of the abdomen.

(b) In addition to §J(2)(a) of this regulation, regulations relating to the importation, transport, purchase, possession, propagation, sale, or release of specific nuisance species of crayfish appear in COMAR 08.02.19.04.

K. Possession of Fish Whose Physical Condition has been Altered.

(1) While at the fishing location, a person may not remove the head and tail of fish in possession.

(2) The head and tail shall remain attached in such a manner as to permit identification of fish species and total length.

(3) This provision does not apply to the capture of snakehead fish, under §P of this regulation.

L. Closing Against Entry. A person or vehicle may not enter, go upon, or remain upon any lands or waters owned or controlled by the Department after the posted hours for closing to public use or during any periods when those lands or waters are closed to public entry, except by written permission of the Department.

M. Use of Dip Nets, Cast Nets, and Seines in Nontidal Waters.

(1) A person may not use a dip net to fish for any trout species, walleye, striped bass, striped bass hybrid, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, or muskellunge hybrids including tiger musky.

(2) A person may use a net as a landing net.

(3) A person may not bait a net by attaching an attractant to the net material or frame.

(4) A person may not use seines, traps, or nets of any description in or upon the waters of the State described in Regulation .01B—H of this chapter. This section does not apply to landing nets used to land fish caught by angling.

(5) A nonresident may not fish in the nontidal waters of the State with nets of any description, except a landing net.

(6) Subject to the provisions of §M of this regulation, a seine not more than 6 feet in length nor more than 4 feet in depth or a dip net may be used by residents to catch bait fish.

N. Culling of Trout.

(1) In this chapter, "cull" means to exchange or discard a trout in order to possess another trout.

(2) An individual may not cull trout.

(3) A trout that is not immediately released becomes part of the daily creel limit and may not be returned to the water.

(4) A trout is part of the daily creel and possession limit if it cannot freely swim away from a person.

O. License to Fish. A person may not catch or attempt to catch game or freshwater fish without first procuring an angler's license in accordance with Natural Resources Article, §4-604, Annotated Code of Maryland.

P. Snakehead Harvest.

(1) An individual may capture and possess a snakehead fish using any legal method if, upon capture, the:

(a) Head of the snakehead fish is immediately removed;

(b) Body is gutted;

(c) Gill arches are removed from both sides of the fish; or

(d) Fish is filleted.

(2) The capture and possession of snakehead fish is not subject to any season, creel limit, or size limit.

(3) Further restrictions on possession of certain species of snakehead fish may be found in COMAR 08.02.19.06.

Q. Public Notices.

(1) The Secretary may modify catch limits, size limits, and restricted areas, or open, close, or modify a season by publishing notice in a daily newspaper of general circulation at least 48 hours in advance, stating the effective hour and date.

(2) The Secretary shall make a reasonable effort to disseminate public notice through various other media so that an affected person has a reasonable opportunity to be informed.

R. Feeding Wildlife on Fisheries Management Areas.

(1) In this section, “wildlife” has the meaning stated in Natural Resources Article, §10-101(cc), Annotated Code of Maryland.

(2) Except for lawful fishing and hunting activities, a person may not feed wildlife in the following Fisheries Management Areas owned and controlled by the Department of Natural Resources:

(a) Albert Powell Hatchery — Washington County;

(b) Bear Creek Rearing Station — Garrett County;

(c) Big Mill Pond — Kent County;

(d) Brownsville Pond — Washington County;

(e) Brunswick Pond — Frederick County;

(f) Bynum Run Pond — Harford County;

(g) Evitts Creek Pond — Allegany County;

(h) Forest Hill Pond — Harford County;

(i) Frank Bentz Pond — Frederick County;

(j) Hughesville Pond — Charles County;

(k) Lewistown Work Center — Frederick County;

(l) Manning Hatchery — Charles County;

(m) North Branch Potomac River — Gary A. Yoder Landing — Allegany County;

(n) North Branch Potomac River — McCoole — Allegany County;

(o) North Branch Potomac River — Folly and Laurel Runs — Garrett County;

(p) Piney Point Aquaculture Center — St. Mary’s County;

(q) Rising Sun Pond — Cecil County;

(r) Smithville Lake — Caroline County;

(s) Unicorn Lake — Queen Anne’s County;

(t) Urbana Lake — Frederick County; or

(u) Urieville Lake — Kent County.

S. In addition to any requirements in this chapter, gear may only be used in accordance with the requirements in COMAR 08.02.24.