Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay are world renowned for their crabs. Crisfield, located in Somerset County, is known as the Crab Capital of the World. These tasty treats are spread throughout the Chesapeake Bay, so you can try your hand at catching some of the best eats in Maryland.
Adult blue crabs can grow up to nine inches. The blue crab is one of the most important species harvested in the Bay, has the highest value of any commercial fishery, and supports a recreational fishery of significant, but undetermined, value. Blue crabs are harvested as hard shell crabs, peeler crabs just prior to molting, and softshell crabs immediately after the molt. Recreational gear includes baited hand lines, mesh rings, collapsible traps, trotlines, and dip nets.
Recreational crabbing season lasts from the beginning of April to mid-December; however, these dates are tentative and change from year to year. For information on Crabbing in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and tributaries, click HERE. For information on Crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, click HERE.
Maryland’s famous blue crabs can be found throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s Atlantic Coast, hiding in the shallows, mud flats, tidal marshes, and rocky outcrops. Bring your own crabbing gear, or find local guides and outfitters to help you catch your own bushel of Maryland’s blue crabs.
License and Regulations
Simple, quick, and at the palm of your hand, DNR’s app is the easiest way to get your Maryland fishing license. Download the app on your smartphone (MD DNR), click Apply for License, and enroll. From the app, you can also register any catches, post photos, and check for regulations updates. Or, you can apply for a license through Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website.
There are a few instances where registering for a license may not be necessary; visit Maryland DNR for a full list of these exceptions. For more information on fishing without a license – and locations where licenses are not required – visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/Fisheries/Pages/Free-Fishing.aspx.
Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for a complete list of Maryland’s Fishing Regulations.
Money generated from the sale of licenses goes directly to the conservation, protection, and preservation of Maryland’s natural habitat and cherished wildlife. Maryland DNR works tirelessly to maintain a healthy population of fish and game, and the regulations needed to sustain fishing and hunting in Maryland. Changes in regulations, dates, and requirements vary year-to-year. Please check with DNR frequently for the most up-to-date information.