Striped Bass Recreational Monitoring

Striped Bass Recreational Monitoring

The recreational fishery for striped bass is monitored through multiple surveys conducted by the Striped Bass Program. The harvest of striped bass during the spring trophy season (third Saturday in April until May 15th) is monitored through the spring private boat creel survey and the spring charter boat creel survey. Additional data vital to determining the size composition of the recreational harvest is provided by cooperating anglers and charter boat captains through the volunteer angler survey and the volunteer charter boat survey.

Volunteer Angler Survey

Attention anglers! Get involved with fisheries management by participating in the volunteer angler survey. Data that you provide on the sizes of striped bass caught and kept or released is combined with data collected by fisheries scientists to characterize the size composition of the recreational harvest. View the results of the striped bass volunteer angler survey.

Spring Private Boat Creel Survey

Charter BoatThe creel survey is a tool used in fisheries management to evaluate a recreational fishery resource by interviewing anglers returning from fishing trips. Creel clerks intercept boats returning from fishing trips targeting striped bass and interview anglers to collect data about the numbers of striped bass kept or released and the amount of time and effort expended during a trip. Each week during the spring trophy season and late May season creel clerks visit up to four different high- and medium-use boat ramps around the state used by recreational anglers to conduct interviews.

What data we collect:
  • Conditions upon arriving at a site including wind speed and direction, cloud cover, precipitation, and air temperature.
  • Number of anglers on a boat
  • Number of striped bass kept
  • Number of striped bass released
  • Hours spent fishing
  • Number of lines fished
  • Area fished (Upper, Middle, or Lower Bay)
  • State of residence
  • Number of anglers licensed versus exempt (e.g. fishing under Boat License, persons under 16 years old)

Supplemental data:

Every third year, we collect additional information on angler demographics, fishing experience, satisfaction with regulations and the estimated amount of money spent per trip. These data include:

  • Angler gender
  • Angler experience (number of years fishing)
  • Number of trips per year
  • Amount of money spent on a trip
  • Satisfaction with current regulations
  • Any recommendations for changing regulations

How we analyze these data:

The data collected in the spring creel survey are used to estimate a harvest rate. The harvest rate is determined by the numbers of striped bass caught divided by the amount of effort spent fishing, called the Catch Per Unit Effort, and is expressed several different ways:

  • Catch Per Trip
  • Catch Per Angler
  • Catch Per Line

Spring Charter Boat Creel Survey

Creel Survey The primary objective of the spring charter boat creel survey is to characterize the size, age, and sex composition of striped bass caught during the trophy season. Up to two different charter boat locations are visited per week, with a goal of sampling 60 striped bass per week. Striped bass are measured, weighed, examined to determine sex and reproductive condition, and a scale and otolith sample are retrieved to determine age. Data on trip length is also recorded for charter boats that are sampled to estimate a Catch Per Unit Effort for the charter boat fleet.

Results of these surveys are reported annually in the Chesapeake Bay Finfish Investigations federal aid project report issued to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Volunteer Charter Boat Survey

Charter BoatThe purpose of this survey is to characterize the size structure and number of migrant striped bass harvested during the trophy season until June 15th by the charter boat and fishing guide fleet. Each spring, a mailing is sent to charter boat captains and fishing guides that reported striped bass harvested in the previous year. The instructions ask to record the first 20 fish they catch each day from the beginning of the trophy season until June 15th. These data are used to calculate the spring migrant harvest of striped bass, which is reported to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Here is a link to our reports page with t​he 2016 Spring Migrant Harvest Report .

2017 Data

Hover mouse over data points to see values and click to hide/show.

The Striped Bass Program is currently conducting additional studies on maturity and fecundity in striped bass with the primary objective of updating the maturity schedule (the age at which female striped bass become sexually mature). During charter boat sampling, ovaries from female striped bass are excised and stored in fixative. Ovary samples are later processed for histological determination of oocyte developmental stage and sexual maturity.

Contact Information:
Simon Brown - simon.brown@maryland.gov
Jeffrey Horne - jeffrey.horne@maryland.gov