Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Interagency Largemouth Bass Tagging Project on Potomac River Underway

A tagged largemouth bass. Photo courtesy of Maryland Department of Natural Resources

By Molly Kirk

DWR fisheries staff is working together with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DEE), and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) on a multi-year, cooperative study of the popular largemouth bass fishery of the tidal Potomac River. The four organizations have developed a strategy to monitor the fishery and generate an assessment every three years in order to estimate abundances for stock, quality, and preferred sizes of largemouth bass using a combination of electrofishing, mark-recapture and creel surveys. Angler-generated data will be added to fisheries surveys to better manage the resource.

“These organizations have previously worked together to share information and better inform mutual constituencies concerning population status,  but this cooperative tagging project is unprecedented in terms of a regional effort to better manage this iconic fishery,” said DWR Fisheries Biologist John Odenkirk. “We hope anglers will support us and report catch and release locations of tagged bass.”

Largemouth bass in the tidally influenced freshwater habitats of the Potomac River will be captured in electrofishing surveys and then measured, weighed, tagged, and released. Anglers who catch a tagged fish can report the tag number, date of capture, size of fish, and catch and release locations. Anglers reporting catching a tagged fish will be entered into an annual lottery for a prize.  They can call 804-367-2925 or email basstag@dwr.virginia.gov to leave information.

Fishing During the COVID-19 Outbreak

  • If you choose to fish during the pandemic it is essential that you follow CDC guidelines.
  • Purchase your fishing license online instead of in-person.
  • Fish alone or with family members or others that you live with and are isolating with during the Governor’s “stay at home” order.
  • Do not fish if you feel sick or think you might be sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based sanitizer even while afield or afloat.
  • Do not share equipment with anyone, and wash your equipment when you’re done.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other anglers you encounter and try to avoid crowded access points.
  • Do not float in a raft, drift boat, john boat, or canoe with friends that you are not isolated with during the “stay at home” order.  If you choose to float please do so with individuals that you live with and are isolated with.
  • Try to fish near home as much as possible and avoid traveling long distances.
  • March 10, 2021