Striped Bass Fishing Season Could be Canceled in Virginia

migrating striper

Virginia officials have proposed canceling the 2019 fishing season for large striped bass in the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay out of concern for the declining striper stock.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission is expected to vote April 23 on an “emergency proposal” that would recommend canceling the trophy-size striped bass season, when anglers can keep stripers that measure 36 inches or longer. If enacted, the measure would go into place the following Monday, April 29, applying specifically to trophy-sized rockfish in the spring season.

According to an April 1 VMRC notice, the status of the striper stock as overfished is the reason for consideration of the spring ban.

“The number of striped bass harvested recreationally by Virginia fisheries has declined markedly since 2010 when 368,000 striped bass were harvested from all tidal Virginia waters,” the document stated. “In 2018, preliminary recreational striped bass harvest is less than 52,000 fish.”

The emergency amendments proposed include:

1) elimination of the open season for the Bay spring trophy-size striped bass recreational fishery of May 1 through June 15

2) elimination of the open season for the Coastal spring trophy-size striped bass recreational fishery of May 1 through May 15

3) elimination of the open season for the Potomac River tributaries spring striped bass recreational fishery of April 20 through May 15

If these measures are adopted, they would stand until at least May 28, when a public hearing on this issue would then take place. Even if these emergency measures are adopted, VMRC reports that anglers will still have opportunities to catch rockfish after May 16, as fish between 20” and 28” could still be harvested.

33 on “Striped Bass Fishing Season Could be Canceled in Virginia

  1. Scot

    Please let those female spawners reproduce. Healthier stocks are needed for our children and future generations.

  2. peter okeefe

    its very simple you trust the govt to make a decision based on whats right for the people? or whats right for the lobbyists and foreign donators so the drag nets can be used in our waters?? blame the decrease in fish on recreational fisherman with fishing poles who take one for the table?? you decide….

    1. Dm

      I definitely trust the government to do the right thing here. There’s a problem – the dept of fisheries has identified it – you clearly trust that report or else you wouldn’t be commenting. It’s on ALL of us. Recreational fishermen play a huge part in the health of the striped pop. Just do the right thing and let the breeders go.

  3. LOU


    1. Jeff

      “There is not a single prize in the 2019 Striper Cup that requires an angler to keep a striped bass.” From an article on THIS SITE posted 2/6/19…

  4. Howie metro

    Ban the commercial trawlers for one year and see how the numbers bounce back. We should not suffer so the can get rich.

  5. Ken Bell

    Leave the big girls to reproducing not only in Virgina but along the east coast.I remember when there where few and then you couldn’t t take any. Live and learn from the past or just be a bunch of idiots with rods.

  6. Dennis O

    Make them a game fish NO commercial fishing watch them come back, join its free

  7. Dennis O’Driscoll

    Make them a game fish NO commercial fishing join strippers forever it’s free

  8. John

    The seal population needs to be controlled. There are an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 seals on Cape Cod. At 3 pounds of fish per seal per day that works out to 90,000 to 150,000 lbs of fish (probably striper in season) PER DAY. Think about what that represents over the course of 3 to 4 months. It is a wonder that there are any stripers left.

  9. John M

    Seals are the problem and need to be controlled. Nothing will change until that happens. Latest population estimates place the seal population at 30,000 to 50,000 on Cape Cod alone for a visual go to ( at an estimated conservative daily consumption of 3 to 5 lbs of fish per day (predominately stripers during the season) the impact is devastating and the real consumption numbers are much greater.

    1. AirborneaAT82nd

      I completely agreed with you! The Seal are over populated!

    2. Joe G

      Blows my mind that this isn’t brought up more often. I fish off the cape and see it on a day to day basis. I mean why are there so many great whites all of a sudden? This summer had to be the worst to date, some days over 30 white sharks were spotted by just one spotter plane and one boat. They don’t publicize this stuff but it needs to be.

  10. Alan g

    The dregers should keep all of what they bring to market and when a quater is meet on 3 typs of fish thay are done so that mean no sea gull behind them

  11. james rogers

    Those seals are a major problem all around the cape they need to controlled!

  12. Donny McGarry

    If it is any consolation to the fisherman in Virginia; due to the alarming news on striper numbers here in the northeast; I have decided to not take any stripers this season. There are plenty of Sea Robins, Porgys and Sea Bass if I want to take home some fillets. We are all in this together.

  13. Jackson Read

    I am from Florida, now working & fishing in Boston. I find it SO WEIRD that Stripers are allowed to be harvested commercially. We had the same problem w/ Redfish in Florida when the blacken Redfish craze made Redfish a target for commercial fisherman. The stocks were nearly wiped out…till the recreational fisherman made the legislator stop it. We also stopped inshore gill netting which was destroying many species. I know that the management of Stripers is inherently harder since its a multi-state and maybe even a federal regulator concern…Still the handwriting is on the wall. Also I would say that simple
    things like using inline hooks instead of trebles or at least pinching down the barbs on trebles gives the fish a better chance of survival when released. Recreational fisherman can be part of the problem or part of the solution.

  14. Joe G

    Striper fishing shouldn’t be allowed in any spawning area, you know how many eggs these cows carry, you know people slaughter these things and you know there just isn’t enough research to really attack any “open water” or “coastal” fisherman. BUT, when you kill or keep just ONE egg packed cow in a spawning area, YOU yourself are responsible for killing and ruining up to 3 MILLION eggs/striped bass fry. Think about it, not even the best commercial fisherman or recreational fisherman can kill, let alone catch 3 million striped bass in their life but, the one guy who keeps or accidentally kills a cow has accomplished that in less than a day.

    1. Jackson Read

      Yes, the larger spawners should be protected. I think the natural survival rate for 3 million eggs as a guess might be 1 in 1000. But you point is still valid. Here are 2 other ideas from Florida. 1) Slots: make the slot so the fish are only vulnerable for a short part of their lifetime & protect the breeders. Redfish in Florida have a slot of 18-27in. This is a period of rapid growth so the fish is only in the slot for a short time. Snook, Seatrout, Cobia have slots…well just about all species have slots. 2) How about some freaking enforcement. In Florida if you launch from a public ramp the chance of you being checked when you come in is pretty dam good. The enforcement here in MA is a joke. Another thing we have are species stamps Ex. you have to buy a $10.00 stamp that is good for 1 year to harvest Snook.

      1. Joe

        That would greatly help the cause! Us anglers just do not have enough of a say. Too many logics are drawn up in labs and offices, you need to get out there and spend some time just observing.

  15. mark

    Rec anglers kill their share too. Just because a fish is released doesn’t mean it survives. And all you seal haters kill me. Its not as if every fish a seal eats is a striper. How do you think the striper population survived historically if seals eat them all? Its like the stupid arguement about wolves/elk in the west – go back far enough and it makes zero sense. How about letting the big fish reproduce, requiring single hooks on plugs and circle hooks only for bait anglers? Then stop commercial harvest of ALL kinds. And finally stop the commercial harvest of bunker. Then see where we are with seals.

  16. Jeff Clabault

    Seals are a big problem because we have 30,000 of them when historically we have had @500.

  17. LOU


  18. Kenny

    Slots work, all those fish have bounced back. I’m from Florida too, l used to pay for a snook and lobster stamps even if l didn’t fish for theme that year because the money went to the marine patrol for new equipment

  19. Donald Gilmore

    Regardless of any striped bass regulations, they still need food; ie: menhaden/bunker. Limit the taking of the food fish and the stripers will recover

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