Monday, March 18, 2013

Potomac Rockfish Regulations and Limits 2013

Fishing for Rockfish (Striped Bass) in the Potomac River is something that I really enjoy.  The rules and regulations associated with Potomac River Rockfish must be strictly adhered to, or one risks getting into a significant amount of trouble.

Rockfish are a protected species, and the creel limits are set in order to ensure that too many of them are not taken in hopes that their numbers will rebound.  Limits are also set specifically around the spawning season in order to ensure that the Potomac Rockfish spawn is not too negatively impacted by overfishing.

The following link is the "Potomac River Blue Sheet" for 2013, which outlines size and number limits for all gamefish species in the Potomac River.

2013 Potomac River Fisheries Commission Blue Sheet

Within the 2013 regulations, you will find the Rockfish regs, as indicated below:

Spring Season

Season Open: April 20 through May 15
Open Area: Below Harry W. Nice Bridge (Rt. 301)
Minimum Size Limit: 28”
Possession Limit: 1 per person
Bait Restrictions: No live eel. No more than 2 hooks None

Summer/Fall Season

Season Open: May 16 through December 31
Open Area: Below Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-95)
Minimum Size Limit: 18” with only 1 over 28”
Possession Limit: 2 per person
Bait Restrictions: None

Special Restriction: When Fishing for Striped Bass During the Closed Season – Barbless Hooks are Required

The Spring season is pretty straightforward - you can only have one Rockfish per person in your possession, and each Rockfish must be at least 28 inches in length.

The Summer/Fall season is a little tougher to understand at first read - so, here's some clarification.  Each person may possess up to TWO Rockfish.  Both of them must be over 18 inches, but only one of them may be over 28 inches.  So, you can have a 21 and a 26, or a 22 and a 29, but you cannot have a 29 and a 32 in one person's possession.

I purchase a boat license from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) every year, and this license effectively covers everyone who wants to fish on my boat.   You can purchase your own boat license here: or here:

I'm very interested in seeing what you catch, so please take a moment to stop by my fishing forum at

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