1. Keith Lockwood, Fisheries Biologist
  2. Oxford, MD
  3. total reports: 50
  4. View all reports by Keith Lockwood →

posted on: January 18, 2023

Eel Pots

Type: Nontidal and Tidal

Anyone who purchases a Maryland recreational crabbing license has the privilege of being able to set up to 10 eel pots to catch their own bait for crabbing. Salted eel chunks were the standard years ago because they tough when salted and because of its oily nature the baits sent out a scent trail. There is no set standard on the size or design of eel pots in Maryland except that they must be made of wire mesh that measure a minimum of . If the mesh is smaller than a , an escape panel must be installed. Round eel pots are very common, the funnels are often made of denim fabric and can be found for sale at times.

All eel pots have two funnels leading to the bait chamber to lessen the chance of eels finding their way out of the eel pot. Round eel pots are often baited with surf clam bellies or razor clams. The rectangular ones can be very effective also and are often weighted with a patty of concrete and do well on harder bottom and strong currents. Years ago, they were baited with chopped up female horseshoe crab and because of their design were easy to shake out shell when being rebaited. Today using horsehoe crabs for bait is unacceptable for conservation reasons and they work just as well when baited with surf clam bellies or razor clams.

All eel pots set in open water must be marked with the owners Maryland DNR ID number on the buoy or with a tag with the owners DNR ID number if fished from a dock. Eel pots must not be set in Buoy Free channels. Some Maryland counties have restrictions on all but hook and line fishing, so be sure to check the following link before setting your own eel pots.


DNR note: these are the current eel pot regulations, but they are subject to change. If you have any questions, please reach out to keith.lockwood@maryland.gov