Fishing in Maryland offers a diverse range of opportunities, from serene freshwater lakes to the bustling Chesapeake Bay. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, understanding the costs and types of fishing licenses available is crucial for a seamless fishing experience. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about fishing licenses in Maryland, including costs, types, and purchasing methods.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Maryland

Maryland offers various fishing licenses to cater to different needs, whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater, for a day or a year. Here are the main types of fishing licenses available:

Nontidal (Freshwater) Fishing Licenses

  • Resident Annual Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $20.50
  • Resident 7-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $7.50
  • Non-Resident Annual Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $30.50
  • Non-Resident 7-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $7.50
  • Non-Resident 3-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $5.00

Tidal (Saltwater) Fishing Licenses

  • Resident Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License: $15.00
  • Resident 7-Day Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License: $6.00
  • Non-Resident Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License: $22.50
  • Non-Resident 7-Day Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License: $12.00

Special Licenses and Stamps

  • Resident Trout Stamp: $5.00
  • Non-Resident Trout Stamp: $10.00
  • Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Boat License: $50.00
  • Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration: Free

Senior and Complimentary Licenses

  • Resident Senior Consolidated Sport Fishing License: $5.00 (for residents aged 65 and older)
  • Complimentary Licenses: Available for 100% service-connected disabled veterans, former prisoners of war, and blind individuals.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Maryland?

In Maryland, anyone aged 16 or older is required to have a fishing license to fish in the state’s waters. However, there are several exemptions:

  • Anglers under 16 years of age: Do not need a license.
  • Maryland residents on active duty with the Armed Forces: Can fish without a license while on leave with official orders.
  • Free Fishing Days: No license is required on the first two Saturdays in June and on July 4.
  • License-Free Fishing Areas: Certain areas allow fishing without a license, but registration may be required.
  • Property Owners and Family: Fishing from private property does not require a license.

How to Purchase a Maryland Fishing License

Purchasing a fishing license in Maryland is straightforward and can be done through several methods:


The quickest way to get your fishing license is through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website’s COMPASS portal. Here, you can purchase, reprint, and register as a saltwater angler.

In Person

Licenses can also be purchased at local license agents, such as tackle shops and outdoor outfitters, or at DNR Service Centers.

By Mail

For those who prefer traditional methods, applications can be mailed to the appropriate DNR Service Center.

Conservation Efforts Supported by Fishing License Fees

Fishing license fees in Maryland support various conservation initiatives, including:

  • Habitat Restoration: Efforts to restore and maintain aquatic habitats.
  • Public Access: Enhancing public access to fishing areas.
  • Fish Stocking Programs: Ensuring healthy fish populations in Maryland’s waters.


Understanding the costs and types of fishing licenses in Maryland is essential for both residents and visitors. Whether you’re planning a short fishing trip or looking to fish year-round, Maryland offers a variety of licenses to meet your needs. By purchasing a fishing license, you’re not only complying with state regulations but also contributing to the conservation and enhancement of Maryland’s aquatic resources.

For more detailed information and to purchase your fishing license, visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

Can I use my Maryland fishing license in other states?

No, your Maryland fishing license is only valid within the state’s boundaries. Each state has its own licensing requirements, so be sure to obtain the appropriate license if you plan to fish in other states.

Do I need a separate license for each type of fishing (freshwater and saltwater)?

Yes, Maryland requires separate licenses for freshwater (non-tidal) and saltwater (tidal) fishing. However, the Resident Senior Consolidated License covers both types of fishing for eligible individuals.

Can I purchase a Maryland fishing license online if I’m a non-resident?

Yes, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ COMPASS portal allows both residents and non-residents to purchase fishing licenses online.

How long is a Maryland fishing license valid?

Annual licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Short-term licenses, such as the 7-Day or 3-Day Non-Tidal licenses, are valid for the specified number of consecutive days.

Can I renew my Maryland fishing license online?

Yes, you can renew your fishing license through the COMPASS portal or by visiting a licensed agent in person.

Similar Posts