2020 Striped Bass Regulations At A Glance

See what new striper regulations have been implemented in your state.

NY striped bass
State Mod/Region Size Limit Bag Limit Open Season Notes
ME All 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year  
NH All 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year  
MA All 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year No gaffs and circle hook requirement for bait
RI All 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year  
CT All 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year  
NY Ocean 28″ to < 35″ 1 4/15 – 12/15 Incl. Hudson below GW Bridge
NY Hudson River 18″ to < 28″ 1 4/1 – 11/30 Incl. Hudson above GW Bridge
NJ All 28” to < 38” 1 All Year  
NJ Bonus Program 24” to < 28” 1 5/15-12/31 For tag holders only
PA DE Estuary 28″ to < 35″ 1 1/1 – 3/31

6/1 – 12/31

PA DE Estuary 21″ to < 24″ 2 4/1 – 5/31  
PA DE River (NonTidal) 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year  
DE Ocean 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year CR only on spawning grounds 4.1 -5.31
DE Bay, River, Tribs 20″ to < 25″ 1 7/1 – 8/31  
MD Ocean 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year  
MD Chesapeake Bay Spring 35” min 1 5/1 – 5/15 Spring trophy season
MD Chesapeake Bay Spring Catch and Release 0 March No targeting during all of April
MD Chesapeake Bay Summer, fall and winter measures are still in the decision process.
DC All 18″ min 1 5/16 – 12/31  
PRFC Spring Trophy 35″ min 1 5/1 – 5/15 Downstream of Rt. 301 bridge
PRFC Fall 20″ min 2 5/16 – 7/6

8/21 – 12/31

No targeting during July and August closure
VA Ocean 28″ to <= 36″ 1 1/1 – 3/31

5/16 – 12/31

VA Bay 20″ to <= 36″ 1 5/16 – 6/15

10/4 – 12/31

NC All 28″ to < 35″ 1 All Year  


Please Note:

  1. Measures are subject to minor change based on the outcome of state final processes and we will update the table as changes become available.
  2. Pleasew check with individual states for additional gear/fishing restrictions.
  3. Circle hook requirement is coming for 2021 season, but some states have that in place early (e.g., Massachusetts).

35 on “2020 Striped Bass Regulations At A Glance

  1. Pete

    Great job NJ, you had to be the special one to deviate when everyone else gets on board. Such a disgrace that conservation is not taken seriously in this state.

  2. Nostromo

    Give this species and Menhaden a break. A five year moratorium would allows stocks to regenerate. It’s either that or lose ’em for all time.

  3. Angel chevere

    What’s this B/S about trying to get people to purchase permits for stripers in bays, a separate one for ocean and other areas.
    Money ?

  4. Paul Reeves

    Striped bass are such a beautiful fish. Sometimes I see them swimming near my feet in the ocean when I’m standing in the surf. I wonder what’s out there chasing them into shore!

    1. Nostromo

      When you see that, generally, they are coming onshore in pursuit of baitfish. I have been wading and casting, maybe in knee-deep water, to feeding stripers only to have a school of them between me and the beach causing peanut bunker and mullet to throw themselves upon the sand to escape the marauders. It’s quite a thing to see and experience.

    2. Dan

      I believe Paul was thinking more like a giant great white roaming the depths…

  5. SANO

    Been fishing since 1963 now it’s 2020 fisherman nowadays don’t respect the sport striped bass fishing to all you selfish son of a bitches put the fish back in the ocean if you’re hungry go to the market wake up you’re ruining things for your kids and Future Kids PS don’t leave your garbage there EITHER WTF!!!

  6. Logic 1.0

    And yet according to MA. gov the MA commercial striper fishermen will be able to keep 15/ day with a minimum of 34”. I call BS on allowing commercial fishermen to target the brood stock all the while sport fishermen are required to limit their catch to one fish between 28” to less than 35”. In who’s world is this fair?

  7. Logic 1.0

    And yet according to MA. gov the MA commercial striper fishermen will be able to keep 15/ day with a minimum of 34”. I call BS on allowing commercial fishermen to target the brood stock all the while sport fishermen are required to limit their catch to one fish between 28” to less than 35”. In who’s world is this fair? Laws should be fair otherwise the lawmakers are encouraging civil disobedience.

  8. Logic 1.0

    Having fished for stripers from the the mid-1970s onwards I have seen the deep valleys and peaks of the striper populations. IMO the State of Maine had the right idea to protect the brood stock when they put in place a slot limit targeting the smaller fish. The current scenario seems counterproductive, targeting the larger fish.
    Science has shown that the larger/ older females are much more fecund on a pound for pound basis.

    1. Drew

      I totally agree. I like how they limited the recreational limit to between 28 and 35, but the commercial limit is what is killing the stock. Great point

      1. Mike P

        People that do not obey the Laws are killing the stocks and the recreational fishermen are also killing it .Just take a good day on a weekend on the canal how many bass are taken home and how many are not let go the right way and how many people keep more then one a day?They catch there one go home and come back.So do not just blame the commercial guys.

  9. Logic 1.0

    Commercial vs sports fishing: I don’t blame the commercial fishermen as it is the regulators who set the rules. And for the life of me I don’t understand why they limit one group and on the other hand allow another group to target the prime breeding stock.

  10. Bob

    If we don’t wake up soon, they’ll all be gone. The commercial fisherman, his wife, his kids, the fish market, the fish markets workers, their wives and their kids… BUT AT LEAST WE’LL HAVE FISH! What is it you said you did for work?

  11. Bill

    Why not make it mandatory lures should be single hook ,not multiple treble. That would cause less harm schoolies

    1. brian

      Id support that legislation just as a standard, but i think that a 20-23″ slot or something would be way more effective than anything else. No big fish recreational and commercially say no fish over 40 period i think that even would help

  12. Razor Clam Sam

    The commercial striped bass fishery needs to be phased out and eliminated or severely reduced. But, if current nonsensical commercial rules are set and commercial guys follow them, then I tend to put most (not all, people are still capable of making ethical choices) of the blame for the perilous stock reduction on the rule-makers for allowing the breed stock to be targeted. Regulators and commercial advocates can talk all they want about recreational release mortality being a huge contributing factor. I’m yet to be convinced, though circle hooks will help to reduce mortality. Also, the ongoing problem of the commercial striper fishery taking large fish is exacerbated when some commercial guys scoff at their already head-scratchingly generous rules. Stock-piling fish on off days to report later on legal fishing days; over-fishing and “sharing” with under their daily limit commercial striper fishermen/cronies; grading fish at sea; black market sales…if you think these things don’t happen within the commercial striped bass fishery, then I have a bridge in Bourne I can sell you. I’m willing to believe that most commercial guys follow the law, but sorry, this garbage happens. Even when it’s done by a small fraction of them, logic will tell you that the effect is large because of the size and numbers of the fish they catch.
    By the way, recreational charters that kill multiple fish aren’t helping the cause, even if most of them follow the set rules, too. What about a per boat (instead of per angler) keeper number that is much lower than six? Captains, instead of protesting this as a hardship please use your energy to find ways to preserve the fishery and enhance your anglers’ experiences without having to limit out on stripers.
    Of course, shore-bound “regular Joe” recreational anglers who keep more than they should are less savory than Muddy River eels.
    Yes, there are many environmental factors also at play, but fishing wise, it’s not just a troop of “immigrants” under cover of darkness bailing schoolies into buckets, or a kid and his novice dad wrestling an undersized gut-hooked fish on a dock for ten minutes that are diminishing this great American resource. It could be people you know, that know better. Hopefully, it’s not you. Thanks for reading.

    1. Walshski

      True that,ss different day, some things never change,in our sport they get worse, most if not all of would line up to buy that bridge.Can t fix stupid,when they cant get it right, they go left,when there s are fork in the road they take it 9 outta 8 times, i m not wicard smart either…

  13. MSL

    I am thankful we are seeing consistency with regulations along the entire U.S. Atlantic coast.

  14. The Surfcasting Environmentalist

    Regulations on and around spawning grounds need to tighten up.

    Regulations for after the spawning season, and in areas that do not support
    spawning, should be done on a tag only basis. Allowing one fish per day is irresponsible
    and unnecessary.

    4 Tags Per Angler Per Year (Free)

    28″ Mimimum

    Catch and release only strongly advised. Reward system in place for anglers
    that turn in unused tags at the end of the season. I have not figured out the
    incentive just yet.

    Northern anglers are not used to slots. They are conditioned to killing their
    trophy, kill only tournaments, etc. I am not encouraging it, but now they are
    forced to only do this 4 times per year maximum. Each fish must be tagged
    immediately, just like deer. No questions or confusion for Game Wardens or
    officers. No tag; fish gets confiscate and fine is issued.

    The other objective of the tag system is that it gives good quality data to the
    environmental agencies about the yearly harvest. Tags get used, tags get reported,
    harvest is accounted for.

    How about partial moratoriums? Training wheels for Moratorium before it gets that bad.
    Tighten the seasons to decrease the the overall harvest. New York for example is 4/15-12/15 every year. Why not 05/01-06/30 & 09/01-11/30?

    Even with these regulations, catch and release mortality is real. Every been on a party boat during a hot striper bite? Why is it legal for them to throw the fish on the deck and then toss them over the side? Why are we not putting laws in place that require them to net fish and them lower them back over the side at a bare minimum. Rubber coated or rubber nets only. Regulated the mesh size on said nets.

  15. SMB

    I live on Cape Cod. I see license plates from all over fishing the Canal. Every day the environmental police find people with 20 fish or filleted fish hidden in the woods. It maddening. The cut fish are thrown away the whole fish are donated to a local food bank. It will be shut down because of selfish people.

  16. JR

    The price of a commercial license in MA is ridiculously cheap and many recreational anglers have purchased them to make a buck a couple days a week, especially in the Canal. If they regulated the Canal to catch and release only, or eliminated commercial harvest there, the numbers of breeding size stripers taken seasonally would decrease drastically and help save the species.

  17. Kent Weaver/ J. Weaver Boose

    If you love the sport/ocean, why not limit your take to a photo or quick Gyo tako?

  18. Soporseis

    If they could stop comercial
    Fishing for a season the population will grow big time on the next but I know that’s is not possible .. what a comercial fishing harvest in 1 single day is more the we anglers catch in the whole season

  19. Sp

    Just go to Lawrence during the height of migration..guys keep all sizes regardless and sell their catch as well…night is the worse ten guys keeping twenty fish each per night ALL SEASON…It’s been going on for years…I’m positive that spot alone accounts for a decent chunk of the decline.

  20. John

    Barbless hooks help get fish back in the water fast and with less handling.

    Egregious violators of bag limits should lose privilege to fish and face high fines.

  21. peter okeefe

    its amazing what people will believe..a man with a rod and reel cannot effect the population of the ATLANTIC OCEAN!!! beyond 25 miles foreign boats load up with nets and go home…but its the guy fishing for fun??

  22. CG

    The MA canal should be catch and release only. Where else in the entire coast do you have a fish funnel like that with rods on both sides the entire season? People drive hours and hours to get there for a reason. That reason is they can’t catch the cows legitimately.

  23. Marc

    Laws should be enforced with heavy fines, including forfeiture of gear and boats. Make it hurt!

  24. Mike O

    Well, Ive been fishing the NJ surf for over 40 years. Ive always followed the rules and if i caught a legal size fish, i never saw any harm in keeping it for the table. I can probably count on 1 hand all the fish that were legal size in all those years, and i know for sure there have been a few legal size fish released. its mostly for the sport,and the hunt for me. so for all the purest that say tag everything or release it, go for it. i don’t make the laws,but i have always abided by them
    Mike O

  25. Brett

    Imagine thinking it’s the random dude fishing with treble hooks and not the commercial hounds slamming the big breeders and culling bass. Sorry not sorry if youre a recreational angler following the rules and respecting the fish you hardly contribute save me the shaming BS. If they cut commercial striper fishing for a year the population would explode

  26. Paul

    I thought New Hampshire already went to in-line circle hooks. Several bait shops have told me that

  27. peter okeefe

    after reading all above comments I see the lack of critical thinking has been induced upon large populations of our country. That any thinking person could believe a few thousand men with fishing poles can in any way reduce the fish popultion of the ATLANTIC ocean is insane. its this lack of thought that has allowed our entire goverment to fake an election and a pandemic with almost no one questioning it. shame on you

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