POUND NET REGULATIONS

Last Updated 01/23/07

Please link to the Annotated Code Of Maryland at mlis.state.md.us/asp/web_statutes.asp or contact Matt Lawrence if you have questions regarding the following summarized regulations.

' 4-710. Prohibitions and restrictions on methods of fishing generally.

  • A person may not fish with a pound net whose size of stretched mesh, allowing a reasonable tolerance for shrinkage, is less than the 1 ½ inches. Any hedging or lead attached to a fish pound net shall be constructed of materials, which have meshes having twine size of #12 or larger.

' 4-711. Regulation of pound or stake nets.

  • A person may not set any pound or stake net or any line of these nets which is greater in length than one third the distance across the waters of the bay, sound, river, creek, cove, or inlet where it is set, or is set so that it impedes or obstructs navigation on or blocks in any way the main channel of the bay, sound, river, creek, cove, or inlet the length limit provided here shall not be construed to apply to any stake net or line of nets running parallel to the bank or shore of any bay, sound, river, creek, cove, or inlet but no net may be set across the mouth on any tributary, harbor or navigation channel.
  • A person may not set a pound or stake net in or upon the waters covering leased oyster ground without the permission of the lessee.
  • The outer end of each line of pound or net stakes shall be marked plainly by a brush or other suitable day marker, readily discernible to indicate the opening between nets. The name of the owner and the license number of each pound or stake net shall be displayed in black letters, at least 2 inches high, on a white background on a stake at the outer end of the pound or line, at a height and in a position as to be seen readily from adjacent navigable channels.
  • Marking of Pound Nets:

    The owner of a pound net shall mark the pound net while the stakes are in the water, regardless of whether the nets are attached, as follows:

    (1) The stake at the head of a pound net shall be marked by a light that is functional between sunset and sunrise, which shall be:

    (a) Placed on the stake at least 6 feet above normal high water; and (b) Visible in all directions for at least 1 mile on a clear night; or

    (2) The stake of a pound net shall be marked with retro-reflective tape, as specified by the Department, which is placed on the stake at least 6 feet above normal high water in the following areas and manner:

      (a) On all State waters, except for Potomac River tributaries: (i) The stake at each end of the pound net shall be marked with three 4-inch bands of orange retro-reflective tape which do not overlap, and (ii) The stakes between the two end stakes, at intervals not greater than 150 feet apart, shall be marked with a single 4-inch band of white retro-reflective tape; and

      (b) On Potomac River tributaries: (i) The end stake closest to the channel and on the right side of channel when entering from a seaward direction, shall be marked with three 4-inch bands of red retro-reflective tape, which do not overlap, and the opposite end stake shall be marked with three 4-inch bands of green retro-reflective tape which do not overlap, (ii) The end stake closest to the channel and on the left side of the channel when entering from a seaward direction shall be marked with three 4-inch bands of green retro-reflective tape which do not overlap, and the opposite end stake shall be marked with three 4-inch bands of red retro-reflective tape which do not overlap, and (iii) At least three stakes between the two end stakes, at intervals not greater than 150 feet apart, shall be marked with a single 4-inch band of white retro-reflective tape.

    • A single line of stakes, including the pound or head and the leader or hedging, may not have a length greater than the following:
      • In Chesapeake Bay, south of a line from Sandy Point to Love Point and in the Choptank River from the mouth of the Choptank River to a line drawn from the center of house with white roof in vicinity of Drum Point to the easterly of two silos in the vicinity of Kate Point - 1500 ft.
      • In Chesapeake Bay, north of a line from Sandy Point to Love Point and south of line from the northernmost point of Poole's Island to Worton's Point - 1200 ft.
      • In Chesapeake Bay, north of a line from the northernmost point of Poole's Island to Worton's Point - 1000 ft.
      • In the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay except as provided, and in the Potomac River - 1200 ft.
      • In Chincoteague, Sinepuxent, Isle of Wight, and Assawoman Bays, and their tributaries, and in the Atlantic Ocean within 3 miles of the Maryland shore - 1500 ft.
      • In Honga River, south of a line drawn from Hickory Point on Middle Hoopers Island to Windmill Point on Aisquith Island - 1500 ft.
      • In Hoopers Straits - 1500 ft.
      • In Fishing Bay, south of a line from Point No Point to Department Triangulation Station Cler at southerly side of Gray's Island - 1650 ft.
      • In the Nanticoke River, south of a line from the southeasterly most point of entrance into Jack's Creek in Dorchester County to Triangulation Station Earle in Wicomico County - 1650 ft.
    • A person may not drive, maintain, or permit any stake to remain, in any line of stakes or otherwise, unless it projects above the surface of the water at least 3 ft at high tide.
    • Every licensee shall:
      • Maintain the licensee's stakes in good condition.
      • promptly remove and renew any stake that may be unsound, broken, or liable to go adrift.
    • A licensee may not permit or allow to remain in the water:
      • Any pound net stake for a period greater than 30 days following the removal of the net from each stake.
      • Any pound net or stake for a period greater than 30 days following the discontinuance of fishing of the net.
      • Any pound net or stake between January 1 and January 31 of any year unless the owner of the pound net or stake notifies the Department by certified mail, return receipt requested, that the net is being actively fished. All notices must be sent certified mail to the following address:

        Maryland Department of Natural Resources

        Tawes State Office Building, B-2

        580 Taylor Avenue

        Attn: Carrie Kennedy

        Annapolis, MD 21401

' 4-712. Rights of riparian owners relating to nets or haul seines.

  • The owner, tenant, or lessee of any property bordering on tidal waters of the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, except the waters of the Great Choptank River, lying in the State, by virtue of his ownership or occupancy, may make first choice of the set or position to place nets or establish a haul seine fishery to catch fish for commercial use in front of the property for which he possesses riparian rights. The section does not permit any riparian owner or anyone acquiring the right of a riparian owner to fish with nets or seine in any manner prohibited by this subtitle.
  • Other persons authorized to set nets under certain circumstances.- In any year, any other person may set any net or haul seine in front of the property of a riparian property owner if the owner, tenant, or lessee of the riparian rights does not exercise the privilege of locating the position where he desires to set his nets or haul seine within 20 days after receiving notice from the other person who desires to locate his nets or fishery in front of the riparian owner's property.
  • The notice required by this section shall be mailed to the owner, tenant, or lessee of the shore property. If the name and address are unknown, then notice shall be posted for 20 days on a board fastened to a stake driven in the water directly in front of the property and within 300 ft of the shore.
  • This section does not grant by reason of the notice any right to any fisherman to fish without the permission of the shore owner in water within 1500 ft of any shore used as a resort so as to interfere with bathing or boating.

Exceptions:

    • The notice provisions of this section do not apply in the waters of Baltimore, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Prince George's, St. Mary's, and Talbot Counties where the permission of the shore owner always shall be necessary.
    • The provisions of this section do not apply to Anne Arundel, Calvert, Queen Anne's, Kent, and Somerset Counties.

' 4-714. Fishing restrictions - Anne Arundel County.

  • South River: A person may not set a pound net or other similar device at any time in the waters of South River, or any creek, cove, or inlet of the South River above Saunders Point on the south side and Marsh Point on the north.

' 4-715. Same - Baltimore County.

  • Fishing during duck season: A person may not fish with rod or hook and line from any kind of boat or float, or fish with nets of any kind within 1500 ft of any occupied duck blind for the period beginning two days prior to the open season, as promulgated by the Department of Interior of the United States for hunting wild waterfowl, and ending the day following the closing of the season in the following waters:
  • Back River, except in the portion lying west of a line drawn from Stansbury's Point on the south shore to Walnut Point on the north shore.
  • Bird River and its tributaries lying within Baltimore County.
  • Dark Head Creek, except in the portion lying north of a line drawn from Clark Point on the west shore directly across the creek to Sharp Point on Bull Neck Shore.
  • Frog Mortar Creek, except in the portion lying northerly of a line drawn from Strawberry Point on the west shore to Weiskettle's Landing on the east shore.
  • Gunpowder River and its tributaries lying within Baltimore County.
  • Hogpen Creek, except in the portion lying southwest of natural headlands marking entrance into the creek.
  • Middle River, except in the portion lying west of a line drawn from Clark Point, also known as Maryland Yacht Club Point, on the north shore to the point of shore directly south of Clark Point.
  • Norman Creek, except in the portion lying west of a line drawn from Cape May Beach on the south shore to Barren Point on the north shore.
  • Seneca Creek, except in the portion lying northwest of a line drawn from Gun Point on the north shore directly south to Blackberry or Flying Point on the south shore.
  • Seneca River; Saltpeter Creek; Dundee Creek and in the waters of their tributaries.
  • Stansbury's Creek, except in the portion lying northwest of a line drawn from Wilson Point on south shore to Strawberry Point on north shore.
  • Sue Creek, except in the portion lying west of a line drawn from the northeasternmost point of Sue's Island to extremity of Rockaway Beach Road at the southern tip of Turkey Point.
  • Back River: A person may not set a pound net or any similar device in the waters of Back River and its tributaries.
  • Bird River: A person may not fish with rod, hook and line or a net in the waters of Bird River between November 1 and January 31, both dates inclusive. A person shall remove every net or stake used for taking fish before midnight on October 31.
  • Dundee Creek.- A person may not fish with a net of any kind in the waters of Dundee Creek west of a line drawn from Levering's Point on the north to Marshy Point on the south.
  • Gunpowder River: Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person may not fish in the waters of Gunpowder River lying in Baltimore County, with nets, from May 15 to September 15, both dates inclusive.

(2) (i) Except in areas where it is prohibited by the Department, in the waters of the Gunpowder River lying in Baltimore County or Harford County, on prior notification to the Department a person may catch carp 6 weeks before and during Passover in each year and 4 weeks before and during Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur in each year. If a person catches any fish variety other than carp under this paragraph, the person shall return them immediately to the water unharmed.

  • May prohibit fishing for carp and catfish in certain areas as provided in subparagraph (2) (i) of this subsection.
  • Middle River: A person may not fish with nets or seines of any kind in the waters of Middle River and its tributaries, defined as those waters northeast of a line drawn from Bowley Point southwesterly to the navigation light at the western end of Sue Island, between March 1 and June 1, both dates inclusive.
  • Sue's Creek: A person may not fish with seines or nets of any kind in the waters of Sue's Creek west of a line drawn from the northeasternmost point of Sue's Island to extremity of

' 4-717. Same - Cecil County.

  • Susquehanna River: A person may not set a pound net or stake net in the waters of the Susquehanna River in Cecil County.
  • Other rivers: Unless the written consent of the owner is first obtained, a person may not set any pound net opposite the shore of any owner of land bordering on the waters of the Elk, Bohemia or Sassafras rivers and their tributaries, and on the water of the North East River from Turkey Point to the River's Head, or any part of it within the limits of Cecil County. A person, unless he is the owner of the fishing shore, may not set a pound net so that it obstructs the hauling of any seine on an established fishing shore on these waters.
  • Nets near Turkey Point section of Elk Neck State Park.- A person may not set any net within 200 yds of the beach on the Turkey Point section of Elk Neck State Park. The area that is restricted by this subsection shall be set off with buoys by the Department.

' 4-718. Same - Charles County.

  • Nets prohibited above Woodland Point House: A person may not set a net of any description to catch fish in the Wicomico River proper above Woodland Point House in Charles County.

' 4-719. Same - Dorchester County.

  • A person may not set a patent twine weir, or any other twine weir, a pound net and hauling seine of a length greater than 350 feet in Blackwater River and its tributaries except Little Blackwater River. A person also may not fasten or stick a stake in the part of Blackwater River lying between a line drawn from Grog Point to the opposite side of the river and a line drawn from Berg's Ditch to the opposite side of the river, except in the bends of the river where stake weirs now exist.
  • Nanticoke River.- A person may not place pound nets, weirs, or hedges less than one third of a mile apart in the northwest branch of the Nanticoke River, from Walnut Landing to the place known as Chimney Landing, on the west branch of this stream.

' 4-721. Same - Harford County.

  • A person may not fish a pound net in any part of the Gunpowder and Bush rivers lying in Harford County further than 1,500 ft from the shoreline of the Gunpowder River below Maxwell Point at mean low water tide and 750 ft from the shoreline of the Bush River at mean low water tide.
  • A person may not use a pound net or stake net in the waters of the Susquehanna River.

' 4-722. Same - Kent County.

  • A person may set a pound net in the waters of Sassafras River and its tributaries lying in Kent County from Luke's Point to the head of this river from August 1 to May 31 following, both dates inclusive. A pound net may not be set so as to obstruct the haul of any seine on any established fishing shore on these waters, unless set by the owners of the fishing shore.

' 4-723. Same - St. Mary's County.

  • Chaptico Bay and Wicomico River.- A person may not fish with any kind of seine or net in the waters of Chaptico Bay and the Wicomico River within the limits of St. Mary's County, within 1500 ft of any established duck blind during the open season for shooting ducks or other wild fowl.
  • St. Catherine's Sound.- A person may not set a fish trap, net, or haul seine in the waters of St. Catherine's Sound in St. Mary's County. However, a gill net not exceeding a length of 90 yards is permitted.

' 4-725. Same - Talbot County.

  • In the waters of Talbot County, a person may set only the following types of nets in the areas and during the times prescribed:
  • Any net at any time in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay bordering Talbot County.
  • Any net at any time in the waters of the Choptank River southeast of a straight line drawn from Benoni's Point to Chlora's Point.

' 4-727. Same - Worcester County.

  • A person may not fish with a stationary net extended completely across the middle third of the waters measured in a straight line from the east to west shoreline of Sinepuxent Bay north of South Point, Isle of Wight Bay, Assawoman Bay and St. Martin's River.

' 4-728. Same - Chesapeake Bay.

  • Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person may not set any net within 1,650 ft in any direction of any other net, or any net of a total length of more than 1,500 ft, including the net's leaders, hedges, or wings. In addition, a net may not be set at a distance greater than one-fourth the distance across the bay, measured from the low water mark.
  • (2) In the waters in the part of the Chesapeake Bay which lies between a straight line drawn from Drum Point Lighthouse in Calvert County to Hog Point in St. Mary's County, and a straight line drawn from Cove Point Lighthouse in Calvert County to Cedar Point Lighthouse in St. Mary's County, a person may not set any kind of net:
    • Nearer than 500 yds in every direction from any other net.
    • Of a total length of more than 550 yds including the net's leaders, hedges, or wings; or
    • At a greater distance than one-fourth the distance across these waters measured from the low water mark on either side.
  • A person may not set any pound net or stake net in the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, except those areas within 2,400 ft from the natural shoreline in Cecil County, the bay shore of Kent County up to Howell Point, and those areas within 2,400 ft from the shore on the west side of the bay from Pooles Island north to one-half mile north of Spesutie Island. For the purpose of this subsection the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay are defined as the waters embraced in the area marked by the following line:
  • Beginning at Concord Point and running in a northeasterly direction, crossing Susquehanna River to Stump Point, then to Carpenter's Point, then to Turkey Point, then to Grove Point, all in Cecil County, then to Howell Point, Kent County, continuing in a straight line from Howell Point in a southwesterly direction across the bay to Abbey Point, the northernmost point at the entrance of Bush River, then northerly by a line following the bay shore of Harford County to Mulberry Point, then to Bear Point, Sandy Point, and to Locust Point on Spesutie Island, then to the southernmost point at the entrance of Swan Creek, and then crossing Swan Creek and continuing in a northerly direction following the bay shore to Concord Point, the place of beginning.

' 4-730. Same - Patuxent River.

  • A person may not set, nor construct any kind or description of net in the Patuxent River from Queen Anne Bridge to the mouth of the river, within 1,500 ft in every direction from any other net, without the permission of the owner of the other net. In addition, a person may not set, nor construct, any net more than 425 ft in length, including the net's leaders, hedges, or wings, below a straight line from Holland's Cliffs across the river to a point on the shore directly opposite Holland's Cliffs, or more than 150 ft in length including the net's leaders, hedges, or wings, above the straight line from Holland's Cliffs. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to floating gill nets or seines.

For further information, email Matt Lawrence or call 410-260-8293.