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Weekly Creel : Angling & Conservation News

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Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional angling & conservation news and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts of the Chesapeake Bay region. Please email us at to have your news or event listing considered for next week’s column. Here are direct links to the lastest, local fishing reports from Reel Chesapeake, On The Water, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, Fish in OC, and FishTalk Magazine. The leading photograph (above): Big bay winter striper was jigged up and photographed off Point Lookout, Maryland. Photo by yours truly.

Striper Regs Overhauled

The lead this week has to be the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission dictating new regulations for the Atlantic’s striped bass fishery, approving Addendum II to Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass. For the Chesapeake Bay recreational fishery, the Addendum implements a 19- to 24-inch slot limit, 1-fish bag limit for every angler (yes, even those on charters), and maintains 2022 season dates for all fishery participants. That said, we expect Maryland to close the trophy season and probably extend the mid-summer closure by one week.

For the ocean recreational fishery, the Addendum implements a 28- to 31-inch slot limit, 1-fish bag limit, and maintains 2022 season dates for all fishery participants; this maintains the same ocean recreational measures adopted under the recent emergency action. For the commercial fishery, the Addendum reduces commercial quotas by 7 percent in both the ocean and Chesapeake Bay. States must submit implementation plans by March 1, 2024 for Board review and approval, which will take place at a special Board meeting to be scheduled for later in March. All Addendum II measures must be implemented by May 1, 2024.

These measures utilzed feedback from the public commenting period, with most respondents desiring a 1-fish limit within the aforementioned slot limits. You can learn all you want about the Addendum and the ASMFC’s overall approach to managing the striper fishery by visiting the organization’s species-specific webpage here.

Angler Lands 10 Trophies, Earns State Award

Photo courtesy Maryland DNR and Tim Campbell.

Tim Campbell of Phoenix, Baltimore County, earned a Master Angler Milestone Award under the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ FishMaryland program. The award recognizes recreational anglers who legally catch ten different species of fish in Maryland at trophy-size length. Campbell is the fifth Master Angler since the program began, and achieved the award with a confirmed catch of a striped bass on December 21, 2023.

Campbell’s qualifying catches were:

  • Chain pickerel, 25 inches, May 9, 2019
  • Largemouth bass, 22 inches, August 7, 2019
  • Red drum, 42 inches, September 27, 2019
  • Common carp, 36 inches, October 20, 2019
  • Spanish mackerel, 24 inches, August 25, 2020
  • Black crappie, 15 inches, April 9, 2021
  • Hickory shad, 18 inches, April 22, 2022
  • Northern snakehead, 31 inches, June 20, 2022
  • Walleye, 28 inches, February 27, 2023
  • Striped bass, 45 inches, December 21, 2023

More information on the Master Angler Milestone Award and the FishMaryland program is available on the DNR website.

Bassmaster Classic Signs Title Sponsor

Fans of competitive largemouth bass fishing should be happy to learn that Johnny Morris’ mega-retail outfit Bass Pro Shops has signed with Bassmaster to be this year’s Classic event title sponsor. The 2024 Bassmaster Classic will be held on Grand Lake O the Cherokees in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from March 22nd to 24th. We’ll be cheering for Maryland’s own, Bryan Schmitt, who, if you recall, came 1 pound, 10 ounces shy of winning last year’s Classic.

Severn River Action Plan Phase 1 Completed

The Severn River Asssociation has been busy! The nonprofit conservation org recently received funding to conduct scientific analysis and assessment of the entire Severn watershed in order to development a master action plan. Led by the Severn River Association (SRA), in collaboration with the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) and a dedicated Steering Committee, the aim is to 1) develop a long-term strategy for restoration action plan development and 2) conduct assessments and develop an action plan for the #1 priority area.

Top 10 subwatersheds of the Severn River considered for restoration. Image courtesy SRA.

SRA and CWP calculated data and assembled a Steering Committee to select a top-priority subwatershed. Based on this effort, the top three priority subwatersheds for restoration are: 1) Weems Creek, 2) Spa Creek, and 3) Picture Spring Branch. Over the next several years, SRA will be creating action plans to identify and prioritize specific restoration projects in the top ten priority subwatersheds. According to SRA, “The final plan isn’t just a document; it’s a roadmap for implementing restoration projects that positively impact local water quality, habitats, and communities.” Learn more here.

NPS Spending Big $$$ to Repair D.C. & Maryland Bridges

The National Park Service (NPS) will invest more than $5.6 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for deferred and preventative maintenance on 20 bridges along the Baltimore-Washington and Suitland parkways, and more than 25 other places to improve roads and parking lots at national parks in eastern Washington, D.C., and Maryland. These include repairs in Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Oxon Hill Farm, and Piscataway Park.  

Girls Scouts Save 537 Acres of Forest in PG County

Photo courtesy Chesapeake Conservancy.

Girl Scout troop members’ recent advocacy efforts led to the conservation of 537 acres of the 633-acre East Marlton forest in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The property, previously owned by the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital, was under threat of development but will now be added to the Charles Branch Stream Valley Park. Nethra Purushothaman, who was 14 years old when she worked with fellow troop members to meet with Girl Scout officials and launch a petition to save the forest, received the 2023 Champions of the Chesapeake award, Chesapeake Conservancy’s highest honor.

The Chesapeake Conservancy recognized the troop earlier this month, with its President Joel Dunn stating, “We can find inspiration in stories such as that of Nethra Purushothaman and her fellow Girl Scout troop members. When these girls learned that a cherished forest was under threat of development, they challenged the adults making those decisions to reconsider. They weren’t afraid, and they didn’t take no for an answer. These young environmental heroes were ultimately successful; now, 537 acres of the 633-acre forest are permanently protected.”

Wild & Scenic Film Fest Announcement

The popular film event and fundraiser for Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, has 2024 dates with tickets on sale now:

  • March 6th at Penn Cinema in Lititz, Pennsylvania
  • March 7th at Studio Two-Three in Richmond, Virginia
  • March 7th at Francis Scott Key Auditorium at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland
  • March 7th at The Miracle Theater, Washington, D.C.

There will also be a virtual showing on March 6th (tickets required, too). According the the Alliance, “The Wild & Scenic Film Festival brings together incredible selections of films that inform, inspire, and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation. Festival-goers can expect to see award-winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture, Native American, and indigenous cultures.”

And that’s a wrap for this edition of The Weekly Creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to