Freshwater Fisheries and Hatcheries Division Accomplishments


​​​In 2022, the program stocked 2.1 million American shad into the Choptank River and 340,000 American shad and 580,000 hickory shad into the Patapsco River. Restoration biologists continued the annual juvenile American shad seine survey on the Choptank River and Patapsco River. The survey assesses American shad stocking efficacy and serves to estimate wild origin juvenile shad abundance in the restoration target tributaries. In 2022, Choptank River collections totaled 602 juvenile American shad after 10 weeks of sampling. Collections on the Patapsco River totaled 11 juvenile American shad after 10 weeks of sampling.

In 2022, restoration biologists collected, tagged and released two Atlantic sturgeon from Marshyhope Creek, a tributary to the Nanticoke River. This brings the project total to 37 tagged Atlantic sturgeon. Captured fish were marked with a T-bar tag, a passive integrated transponder, an acoustic transmitter (VEMCO), and tissue was collected for DNA analysis. The VEMCO acoustic transmitter is placed in the body cavity while the fish is under sedation. The transmitter allows the fish to be detected by any researcher using compatible detection gear anywhere in the world. As a member of the Atlantic Cooperative Telemetry (ACT) Network, the department can detect and identify any VEMCO tagged fish or mammal that travels within range of a receiver. The research is conducted under National Marine Fisheries Service permit No. 20314. In 2022, project staff continued to monitor acoustic receivers in the Choptank River, Pocomoke River, Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek. This work is a cooperative effort between Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES).

Joseph Manning Hatchery produced more than 2,175,000 striped bass larvae for research, educational outreach and stocking purposes.

In the spring of 2022 Unicorn Lake Hatchery staff transported channel catfish eggs to Manning Hatchery for hatching and culture. Manning Hatchery produced over 10,000 juveniles, which were transported back to Unicorn Lake Hatchery in November of 2022. Approximately 4,500 channel catfish were stocked in ponds at Unicorn Lake Hatchery to grow out for future fish rodeos. Surplus channel catfish were released in tidal Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Unicorn Lake Hatchery catfish production takes at least three years from receiving fingerlings to grow them to “stockable size” (~12”). Annual size grading and health sampling is performed. Health samples are taken and evaluated to ensure hatchery fish are disease free.

For the year, 3,275 hybrid sunfish were provided to support the department’s Youth Fishing Rodeo Program throughout the state ​

Freshwater Fisheries and Hatcheries Division 2022 Stocking Summary​:

  • American Shad – 2,795,000
  • Hickory Shad – 580,000
  • Largemouth Bass – 198,000
  • Smallmouth Bass - 38,000
  • Walleye – 223,000
  • Bluegill – 26,235
  • Redear Sunfish – 15,000
  • Tiger Muskellunge – 700
  • Golden Shiner – 40,000
  • Channel Catfish – 9,000