Mid Atlantic Fishing 2024

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Outdoor enthusiasts in the Mid Atlantic states will notice a number of new changes for the 2024 outdoor season.


Mid Atlantic Fishing New Information – Updates

To address regional changes, several new pages have been added to www.daybreakfishing.com.

A new Offshore Wind Energy Installations page provides information about wind farms and other infrastructure in the Mid Atlantic region.

The marine electronics section has been updated to include a new page with information about AIS – Automatic Identification Systems.

Our Monongahela River page has been updated to include information about recent fish reef construction on the river.

Fishing regulations are changing up and down the coast. Both summer flounder and striped bass fisheries are likely to be affected in several states.


Saltwater Fishing


Summer Flounder

Summer flounder are one of the most popular recreational fish on the Atlantic coast. In 2022, recreational landings were 8.6 million pounds, according to the NOAA Fisheries recreational fishing landings database.

According to the 2023 stock assessment, summer flounder is not overfished, but is subject to overfishing.

In December 2023, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved the use of regional conservation equivalency to achieve the required 28% reduction in recreational harvest of summer flounder in 2024-2025.

Mid-Atlantic States will set recreational limits in order to achieve the required reduction. They include an annual harvest limit, closed seasons, a minimum size for landed fish, and possession limits.

In March, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Fish and Wildlife announced changes to recreational fishing regulations for summer flounder as required to keep the state in compliance with the Fishery Management Plans of the ASMFC and MAFMC.

For summer flounder, the size limit will remain at 16 inches from January 1 through May 31, with the size limit increasing to 17.5 inches from June 1 through December 31. The daily summer flounder possession limit will remain at four throughout the year.

In February, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced modifications to the Maryland 2024 summer flounder fishery:

Effective 12:01 a.m. March 1, 2024:

The season is open January 1 through December 31, 2024.
The recreational minimum size from January 1 through May 31 is 16 inches.
The recreational minimum size from June 1 through December 31 is 17.5 inches.
The recreational catch limit is four fish per person per day.
The commercial hook and line minimum size from January 1 through May 31 is 16 inches.
The commercial hook and line minimum size June 1 through December 31 is 17.5 inches.
The commercial minimum size for gear other than hook and line is 14 inches.

Striped Bass

In January 2024, the ASFMC Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Addendum II to Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass.

The Addendum modifies recreational and commercial measures to reduce fishing mortality in 2024, establishes an expedited response process to upcoming stock assessments, and addresses requirements for recreational filleting.

Addendum II builds upon the 2023 emergency action by changing the measures in the FMP to reduce fishing mortality and support stock rebuilding. Addendum II measures will replace the emergency action measures upon its implementation by the states by May 1, 2024.

For the ocean recreational fishery, the Addendum implements a 28” to 31” slot limit, 1-fish bag limit, and maintains 2022 season dates for all fishery participants; this maintains the same ocean recreational measures adopted under the recent emergency action.

For the Chesapeake Bay recreational fishery, the Addendum implements a 19” to 24” slot limit, 1-fish bag limit, and maintains 2022 season dates for all fishery participants.

For the commercial fishery, the Addendum reduces commercial quotas by 7% in both the ocean and Chesapeake Bay.

To address concerns about recreational filleting allowances and compliance with recreational size limits, the Addendum establishes two requirements for states that authorize at-sea/shore-side filleting of striped bass: racks must be retained and possession limited to no more than two fillets per legal fish.

More information about Addendum II can be found on the ASMFC website (www.asmfc.org).

In February, The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) announced a closure of the 2024 striped bass harvest season in the Roanoke River Management Area. The Roanoke River Management Area includes the Roanoke River and tributaries from the Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam downstream to the Albemarle Sound.

In February, striped bass emergency regulations initiated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) became effective. The emergency regulations extend periods of closure to recreational striped bass fishing in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

In 2023, Maryland’s annual striped bass young-of-year index, which tracks reproductive success, was 1.0, well below the long-term average of 11.1.

On March 26th the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) voted to make changes to the Virginia recreational and commercial striped bass fisheries. The new spring and fall recreational striped bass slot limit will be 19-24 inches, and the bag limit and seasons will remain the same as in 2023. The Virginia Potomac River tributaries season has been updated to mirror the season in the main stem of the Potomac River set by PRFC. The open season for the Potomac River tributaries summer/fall striped bass recreational fishery will be May 16 through July 6 and August 21 through December 31, the slot size limit will be 19-24 inches. For Virginia recreational striped bass information please visit: https://webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/public/reports/swrecfishingrules.php.


A benchmark cobia assessment is scheduled for 2024.


In December 2023, the ASMFC and MAFMC jointly approved management measures requiring member states of both panels to reduce the scup recreational harvest by 10% for 2024 and 2025.

In Delaware, the daily possession limit for scup is reduced from 40 to 30.


Freshwater Fishing


Black Bass

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released its Black Bass Annual Review 2024.

Topics covered in the review include:

  • A Black Bass Conservation Fund was created to receive public donations that will be used in bass conservation projects throughout the state.
  • Black Blotchiness Syndrome, an immune response to a newly discovered adomavirus, is widespread east of the Rocky Mountains, including many areas of Maryland.
  • After three years of stocking and better habitat, the smallmouth bass population in non-tidal Potomac River makes a comeback.
  • Largemouth bass fisheries remain highly productive in upper Chesapeake Bay and gain attention for an increasing number of bass tournaments.
  • Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia working in 2024 to continue cooperative, long-term monitoring project that depends on anglers for its success.

In West Virginia, new fishing regulations are in effect for 2024. Updates include changes to regulations regarding sauger and saugeye limits, blue catfish minimum size limits and channel catfish possession limits.  WVDNR also announced the creation of new state record fish categories for black crappie, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish and redhorse suckers.




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