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Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

Purchase your license or obtain a free registration from Maryland’s Online Licensing Service, COMPASS. https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/

The department may suspend an individual’s fishing license or privilege if that individual is convicted of, or pays a fine for, violating certain fishing rules. A full copy of suspendable fishing violations can be found in the Code of Maryland Regulations 08.02.13.05. To view this regulation, visit dsd.state.md.us/COMAR/ComarHome.html. Individuals who are suspended for violating fishing rules in Maryland may also be suspended in other states under the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

Who Needs A Trout Stamp?

A trout stamp is required for anyone 16 years of age or older to catch, attempt to catch or possess trout in nontidal waters.

How Do I Know Whether I Need A Tidal or Nontidal Maryland Fishing License?

To see whether the area you are fishing requires a tidal or nontidal fishing license, please see Tidal/Nontidal Dividing Lines.

Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration Exemptions

Anglers fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, Coastal Bays, Chesapeake Bay or tidal tributaries must be registered with the state unless one of the following applies:

  • You are under 16 years of age.
  • You are fishing from a licensed charter boat or from a licensed commercial fishing pier.
  • You are fishing on a free fishing day—the first two Saturdays in June and July 4.
  • You possess a valid commercial tidal fish license.
  • You possess a Potomac River Fisheries Commission recreational fishing license.
  • You possess a Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License.

To Obtain A License or Saltwater Angler Registration:

Go to compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal or visit a Department of Natural Resources Licensing and Registration Service Center or license agent (select tackle shop or outdoor outfitter).

Purple Heart Recipient Discount

Any Maryland veteran who has received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained defending our nation qualifies for a 50 percent discount on Maryland hunting and fishing licenses.

Complimentary Licenses

A complimentary license is available to Maryland residents who are 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans or former prisoners of war. The license incorporates the nontidal angler’s license, trout stamp and Bay and Coastal sport fishing license. Applicants must furnish a letter of disability or a letter of certification from the Veterans Administration with their initial application.

These licenses must be obtained at a Department of Natural Resources Service Center and cannot be obtained at independent retail locations. Locate your nearest Service Center by visiting dnr.maryland.gov/pages/service_centers.aspx.

A complimentary license is also available to residents and nonresidents who are blind.

Your fishing dollars at work

Fishing license and trout stamp revenue allows the department to assess, protect, conserve and manage Maryland’s fisheries.

To learn more, read the latest budget report here at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/documents/FY2017_SFAC_Budget_Rpt.pdf