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I know that DC rockfish season starts May 3rd, but I'm wondering if the VA season is any different (i.e. by National Airport). If people are pulling cow stripers near Fletchers it seems like they will be by the airport as well. Any insight would be greatly appreciated in terms of season start date and size regulations. I couldn't find any specifics on the VA DNR site.
 

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Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't all the water in the Potomac opposite DC "Washington Waters"? I think that you need both a DC license and to follow DC regs to fish anywhere above the Wilson Bridge.
 

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That's what I'm confused about because I have always fished the dc side of the wilson bridge with a va license and the game warden never said there was a problem because I don't have a dc one. But I still don't think I can keep rockfish from there, so I think I will stay in the Bay until the season opens...
 

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I was fishing at the 301 bridge on the Va Side when a Virginia game warden paid a visit to all who were fishing. He gave me the following info. No license is needed when fishing the "main Stem" of the potomac from south of WWBridge to Point Lookout on the VA. side. Fishing the potomac at the airport is DC's jurisdiction. You are required to have a DC license. Anyway I had a good time fishing with my sons. We ended up with 1 catfish and 1 large croaker after about 2 hours of fishing. It was a good day anyway despite the passing rain showers.
 

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You need a DC license to fish on the Potomac. I've already caught a few nice rockfish this year (near National Airport).

If I'm correct you're allowed one per day with a minimum size of 18 inches. The fishing has been good so far this season, so most of them exceed the size limit. I even caught one using mackeral instead of herring but had to throw it back since it was the second one I hooked that day, and was below the min. size.
 

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I just talked to Wanda Payne (202 535-2272) who is with the DC fishing liscense office and she told me that you could keep 2 rockfish per day between 18 and 36 inches in the DC waters of the Potomac. The DC waters are any part of the potomac that "touches" DC straight across to VA. They are under the same health advisory as other bass in the DC waters of the potomac and anacostia.

PCBs and other chemical contaminants have continued to be found in certain fish species caught in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers and their tributaries, including Rock Creek, within the boundaries of the District of Columbia. Because of these findings, the Department of Health advises the general public to limit consumption of fish from all DC waters, as follows:

Do not eat: Catfish, carp, or eel.
May eat: One-half pound per month of largemouth bass, or one-half pound per week of sunfish or other fish.
Choose to eat: Younger and smaller fish of legal size.
The practice of catch and release is encouraged.
 

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Damn. I thought it was a one fish limit per day and not two. I actually had a day two weeks ago when I caught two rockfish of legal size, and threw one back thinking the limit was one only. :eek:

I think the season closes for a month at the end of July (for the month of August) and re-opens in September. This past week has been pretty lousy for rockfish. All of the ones I've caught have been in the catch & release category.

Thanks for the clarification. I fish 3 or 4 times a week near national airport, so I really should be more familiar with the regs. At least I was on the safe side as far as the number of fish, and I had the correct minimum size. :D

I wonder why the max is 32 inches. Do the larger rockfish spawn more often?
 

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For some reason, all the Vietnamese fishermen that typically fish near National Airport yesterday were gone. An old gentleman who was sitting by me told me the rockfish have headed back out to sea...

I proved him wrong by reeling in a keeper 19"... and I was getting plenty of strikes (although some were probably cats)...

Any truth to this? I know rockfish season closes in August (?) for a month and re-opens in September. Was the fish I caught a straggler?
 

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Sea Critter,

I would say by my little expertise and knowledge that the spring spawning run is officially over. That maybe why you don't see them out there in numbers anymore. Just because it is over doesn't mean u won't catch them anymore. Take advantage of it and get u a few "stragglers":D Hope this helps!
 

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There are a cetain number of resident rockfish that stay in the river (DC) pretty much all year. They tend to be the smaller ones from fry up to about 22" but I did boat a 13 lber several years ago in Sept. There are always a goodly supply of larger stripers to be found down river (I usually fish the Possum Point area) in the Oct-Nov time frame. They can run up to 10-12lbs. Strangely, it seems to me that there are more stripers with sores or a diseased look caught in the bay than in the river.
If you have a boat, keep an eye out for these fish breaking. The two spots that I have seen this happen the most is around the 14th St bridges and the confluence of the Anacostia, Wash channel and Potomac. Often the birds will lead you in, just like the bigger water. Granpa
 

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I caught a couple of very nice rockfish in Jersey this past weekend. Larger than most I've landed on the Potomac.

This got me wondering... how far do you think the striped bass travel? Do you think any of them that spawn in the Potomac come from as far north as New Jersey?

Anyone tagging striped bass?
 
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