News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Calls For Help From Middle River Largemouth Bass Anglers

Tagging study will help scientists understand fish movement

Annapolis, Md. (February 15, 2011) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service has partnered with the Maryland Bass Federation Nation and Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc. to hatch, raise, tag and release fish into the Middle River, near Baltimore. DNR biologists are monitoring and compiling information on these tagged fish in response to angler reports of disappointing largemouth bass fishing in the river.

DNR is asking anglers to report any tagged fish caught and report the date, tag number, length of the fish and catch location. This tag-based study will hopefully provide answers about fish behavior and the movement of fish out of Middle River.

“This is an excellent example of how anglers, industry and scientists can work together to develop good data and improve fishing. And we can do it while adding even more inspiration to go out and enjoy some bass fishing,” said Joe Love, DNR’s Tidal Bass Manager.

Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc., a solid waste to energy conversion company with operations in 17 cities, has maintained aquaculture at its facility near M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore since 1986. Since 2006, DNR has provided about 5,000 juvenile bass a year to raise in the Wheelabrator fish tanks. When the fish grow large enough, DNR staff release them into Middle River. In October 2010, a little over 1,000 juveniles were released into the Middle River.

In 2009 and 2010, Domino Foods, the operator of the Domino sugar plant in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, paid to purchase mature largemouth bass through the Maryland Bass Federation Nation Conservation Program for release into Middle River. In October 2010, Maryland Bass Federation Nation members worked with DNR to release 165 mature fish into the river. The mature largemouth bass were tagged by DNR technicians prior to releasing. Once released, largemouth bass adults tend to remain on site for a few days before exploring other parts of the river. As winter approaches, the fish are likely to enter deeper water around docks and harbors. While catch-and-release angling improves the chances of a sustainable fishery in the Middle River, environmental conditions can affect whether largemouth bass ultimately stay in the Middle River or not.

Please report tagged fish to DNR Tidal Bass Manager, Joe Love at, (410) 260-8257 or Southern Regional Manager, Mary Groves at, (410) 260-8320. Other questions regarding this initiative should come to Joe Love or the Maryland Bass Federation Nation Conservation Director, Scott Sewell at

   February 15, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at