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Regulated Fishing Activities

General Fishing Regulations

Fishing or taking fish and other aquatic organisms for commercial purposes is prohibited.

Except as otherwise permitted by these rules: a person shall fish only with a rod, hook, and line, not to exceed three lines in number and not having more than two hooks to each line.

Artificial lures or plugs with multiple or gang hooks are considered one unit.

The use of dip nets shall be prohibited, except for capturing baitfish, gizzard shad, shiners and other cyprinids and in the landing of fish taken by angling, provided the net does not exceed 24 inches in diameter and nine cubic feet in overall volume.

  • The use of cast nets and seine nets is prohibited.
  • Snagging of aquatic organisms is prohibited.
  • A person may operate eel traps, if the number of traps does not exceed five.
  • An eel trap operator shall attach the operator's angling license number to each trap.

It Is Unlawful
It shall be unlawful to do any of the following:

  1. Introduce any species of fish, or other aquatic organism not indigenous to the waters of the District of Columbia;
  2. Possess a fish with a total length less than the minimum (see Species Descriptions);
  3. Possess a number of fish of a particular species greater than the possession limit listed in the DC Fish Field Guide;
  4. Possess aboard any boat, while fishing, or while in the possession of fishing equipment, any fish that has had the head or tail removed for which size or a weight limit is prescribed;
  5. Capture, harass, harm, or fail to return to the water immediately any organism which is listed by the US Department of Interior as endangered, or threatened, except for specific or designated scientific collection;
  6. Take, kill, or injure fish or other aquatic organism by using explosives, chemicals, firearms, or electricity, except for scientific collection;
  7. Take, catch, or possess any species of sturgeon; or
  8. Take fish except as specified in these rules.

Species Specific

Fish Species Regulation
Alewife Prohibited**
American Shad Prohibited**
Blueback Herring Prohibited**
Chain Pickerel Prohibited**
Hickory Shad Prohibited**
Longnose Gar Prohibited**
Northern Pike Prohibited**
Sturgeon Prohibited**
Striped Bass (Rockfish) Prohibited**
Channel Catfish Min. Length: 12 inches; Creel limit: 3 per day
Largemouth Bass Min. Length: 12(*) inches; Creel limit: 5 per day
Smallmouth Bass Min. Length: 12(*) inches; Creel limit: 5 per day
Walleye Min. Length: 14 inches; Creel limit: 1 per day
Yellow Perch Min. Length: 8 inches; Creel limit: 3 per day

**Unless season is posted           *15 inches, March 1 thru June 15
For more information, call (202) 535-2272

Any person who violates fishing license rules and regulations shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined:

  • A fine of $100.00 for the first offense
  • A fine of $150.00 for the second offense
  • A fine of $200.00 for the third and subsequent offenses

Additional Regulations for Rock Creek Park

  • No nets of any kind are permitted in Rock Creek Park for the purpose of catching fish.
  • No digging for bait in Rock Creek Park is permitted.

Moratorium on Shad and River Herring
In accordance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for shad and river herring, the possession of these species is prohibited. For more information please contact the Fisheries and Wildlife Division by phone at 202.535.2260 between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. You may also email the Associate Director at

Currently, there are no bait restrictions, however, there is a coast-wide moratorium on the possession of American Shad (Alosa sapidissima), Hickory Shad (Alosa mediocris), blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis), and alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus).

Striped Bass Season 2015
Striped Bass season opens on May 16, 2015 and concludes on December 31, 2015.

Anglers may keep;

  1. Two (2) fish between 20” and 28”, OR
  2. One (1) fish between 20” and 28” AND one (1) fish greater than 28”.

The Alabama Rig

The District Department of the Environment considers the Alabama Rig and the umbrella rig to be a collection of individual lures. While using an Alabama Rig, an angler may employ the following.

  1. Any number of hookless baits, and,
  2. Two (2) individual baits each with one (1) hook. These two (2) hooked baits may be deployed in any configuration.


  1. Any number of hookless baits, and,
  2. One (1) bait with multiple or gang hooks. This one (1) hooked bait may deployed anywhere on the rig.
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