Official FishMaryland Rules

Anyone who catches a fish matching the minimum size requirements will be eligible to apply online for an award.

General Rules:

  1. Maryland Department of Natural Resources staff and their immediate families are ineligible.
  2. Professional guides, charter boat captains, crew on for-hire fishing boats, or anyone who offers their fish for sale are ineligible.
  3. All fish must be caught on rod and reel. From the time that a fish strikes or takes bait or lure, the angler must hook and fight the fish without the aid of any other person. The reel must be operated manually. Once the leader is brought to the rod tip, more than one person is permitted to help land the fish.
  4. Fish that have been snagged, shot, gaffed, speared, scaled, or mutilated are not eligible.
  5. The catch must be legal. Anglers need to be aware of the fishing rules, eligible fish species and sizes.
  6. All entries with the exception of sharks, marlins and sailfish must be measured. Measurements are in total length (tip of the nose to the tip of the longest extended portion of the tail of the fish) except when noted otherwise. Exceptions will be made for the establishment of a new state record, in which case the fish must be weighed in accordance with state record rules​.
  7. Red drum, sharks, marlins and sailfish must be released alive.
  8. Award certificates for sharks, marlins, sailfish and red drum will only be issued for fish that are caught and released. When registering online, please select the catch and release option under the "Catch Summary" heading. When appropriate, exceptions for these species will be made in the case of a state record catch, which requires a weight for the fish.
  9. Catch must be registered online and the angler must provide a clear photograph (fishingreports.dnr@maryland.govso that the species and size can be verified.​
  10. You must provide your contact information (or those of your parent or guardian, if you are under 18 years of age).​
  11. Once your registration is submitted and verified, you will receive your award within 45 days​.
  12. Submission of photographs authorizes the department to use them for promotion in all media.
  13. The department reserves the right to refuse any FishMaryland application that is not complete or legible.
  14. The department’s decisions regarding FishMaryland are final.
  15. The department may approve a special Species Award in the case of unusual catches or extenuating circumstances​.

Invasive Species Award Rules:

  1. Minimum award sizes for the three eligible species are:
    1. Blue catfish, 40 inches
    2. Flathead catfish, 34 inches
    3. Northern snakehead, 30 inches
  2. You must follow the FishMaryland award rules (see above) and register your fish online.
  3. All fish must be kept to qualify for an award certificate, milestone award, or a state record. There is no catch and release award for invasive species.
  4. Fish must be killed by one of the following methods:

    1. The head is severed from the dorsal area in line with the pectoral fins completely through the spinal vertebrae; the head does not have to be detached from the fish.
    2. At least two gill arches are completely removed from the gill area.
    3. The fish has all of its internal organs removed.
  5. Fish must be caught using legal recreational fishing methods. All legal recreational fishing methods and gear are allowed.

Invasive Species State Record Rules:

  1. Benchmark weights for state records are established based on recommendations of Fisheries biologists familiar with the species.
  2. To enter, anglers must follow established state record procedures. These include: positive identification by a departmental fisheries biologist, determination of weight on a state certified scale, and a dated and signed witness statement by a person other than the angler that has witnessed weighing the fish.

Governor’s Striped Bass Conservation Award Rules:

The Governor’s Striped Bass Conservation Award recognizes any recreational angler who releases alive a striped bass catch of 40” or more while fishing Maryland waters during the open season.

  1. You must follow the FishMaryland rules (see above) and register your fish online.
  2. Governor’s Striped Bass Conservation Awards will be issued at the end of each calendar year.
  3. Only one Governor’s Striped Bass Conservation Award will be issued per angler per calendar year. If you register more than one verified fish for this award in a year, your certificate will reflect the total number of fish you released that year.