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Maryland

Fishing

Licenses & Fees

Fishing Licenses and Fees

Fishing licenses, stamps and registrations are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, unless otherwise specified.

Resident Nontidal Sport Fishing License - $20.50

Resident 7-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License - $7.50

Resident Trout Stamp - $5

Resident Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License - $15

Resident 7-Day Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License - $6

Resident Senior Consolidated Sport Fishing License - $5

(65 years or older. License includes tidal, nontidal, and trout stamp. It may be
purchased at any time in the calendar year in which you attain the age of 65)

Non-Resident 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*

*Or the same fee charged to visiting Maryland anglers by a non-resident’s home state, whichever is higher—dnr.maryland.gov/pages/service_fishing_license.aspx

Non-Resident Trout Stamp - $10

Non-Resident Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License - $22.50

Non-Resident 7-Day Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License - $12

Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Boat License - $50

  1. Passengers onboard licensed boats do not need a license. However, they must have a free Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration (see below).
  2. An individual Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License and a complimentary individual crabbing license are included for the person who purchases this license.

Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration - Free - Unless individually licensed, an annual registration is required for:

  1. Passengers on boats with Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Boat Licenses.
  2. Anglers fishing in designated License Free Fishing Areas.
  3. Waterfront property owners and family fishing on private property.
  4. Anglers in possession of a Virginia saltwater recreational fishing license or on a Virginia-licensed boat.

Penalties

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 section on 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 with a licensed fishing guide 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, visit a Licensing and Registration Service Center or visit a 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.

License Exemptions

Statewide Sport Fishing License Exemptions

You may fish for finfish without a license if:

  • You are under 16 years of age.
  • You are a resident of Maryland, on active duty with Armed Forces, on leave with official orders.
  • You fish on a free fishing day—the first two Saturdays in June and July 4.
  • You fish in an area designated by Department of Natural Resources as a license free fishing area, and you have obtained a Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration (if required in that area). A list of license free fishing areas is available on License Free Fishing Areas and at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/license-free.aspx.

Nontidal Sport Fishing License Exemptions

You may fish for finfish without a license in Maryland‘s nontidal waters if you are an owner or tenant, their spouse, child or the spouse of their child residing on the property and fishing from the property's riparian shoreline. Anglers should confirm riparian ownership before fishing, as some impoundments and waterways are surrounded by buffers. In these areas, there are no riparian shoreline owners and fishing licenses are required. Anglers with riparian shorelines must comply with all fishing rules.

Trout Stamp Exemptions

A trout stamp is not required for possession of trout taken from privately owned lakes and ponds or licensed fee fishing lakes and ponds.

Tidal Sport Fishing License Exemptions

You may fish for finfish without a license in Maryland's tidal waters if:

  • You possess a valid commercial fishing license.
  • You are fishing from a licensed charter boat or licensed commercial fishing pier.
  • You are fishing from a boat displaying a Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing Boat License and you have a Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration, unless otherwise exempt.
  • You are an owner or tenant, their spouse, child or the spouse of their child residing on the property and fishing from the property's shoreline.
  • Anglers should confirm riparian ownership before fishing. Anglers with riparian shorelines must comply with all fishing rules.

Virginia

  • A resident of Virginia possessing a valid Virginia nontidal fishing license issued in that resident’s name may fish in nontidal waters of the mainstem of the Potomac River opposite the shore of Virginia.
  • A resident of Maryland possessing a valid Maryland Nontidal Sport Fishing License issued in that person’s name can fish from the Virginia banks of the Potomac River opposite the shore of Maryland without a Virginia fishing license.
  • Any holder of a valid Virginia saltwater fishing license may fish in Maryland tidal waters, regardless of residency, so long as they have obtained a Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration.
  • Any holder of a valid Maryland Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License may fish in Virginia tidal saltwater, regardless of residency, so long as they have obtained a Virginia Saltwater Angler Registration.

West Virginia

  • A resident of West Virginia possessing a valid West Virginia fishing license issued in that resident’s name may fish in nontidal waters of the Potomac River (mainstem only) opposite the shore of West Virginia, either from a boat or either shore, including the North Branch of the Potomac River and the Jennings Randolph Reservoir (opposite the shore of West Virginia).
  • A resident of Maryland possessing a valid Maryland Nontidal Sport Fishing License issued in that resident’s name may fish the West Virginia banks of the Potomac River, including the North Branch of the Potomac River and the Jennings Randolph Reservoir, without a West Virginia fishing license.

Pennsylvania

  • A resident of Pennsylvania possessing a valid Pennsylvania fishing license issued in that resident’s name may fish in the portions of the Conowingo and Youghiogheny reservoirs lying within the boundaries of Maryland without a Maryland fishing license.
  • A resident of Maryland possessing a valid Maryland Nontidal Sport Fishing License issued in that resident’s name may fish on the portions of the Conowingo and Youghiogheny reservoirs lying within the boundaries of Pennsylvania without a Pennsylvania fishing license.
  • Reciprocal fishing privileges extend from waters’ edge to waters’ edge. It does not include tributaries or fishing from shore.
  • The Conowingo Reservoir extends from the Conowingo Dam in Maryland to Holtwood Dam in Pennsylvania. The Youghiogheny Reservoir extends from the red posts on the Youghiogheny River in Maryland downstream to Youghiogheny Dam in Pennsylvania.

Potomac River

  • A Potomac River Fisheries Commission recreational fishing license holder may fish any portion of the tidal waters of Maryland.
  • A valid Maryland Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License holder may fish any portion of the Potomac River mainstem downstream of the I-95 /I-495 Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Contact Fishing and Boating Services for license exemption information concerning:

  • An individual who attends, resides, or is under treatment by a state approved mental health facility
  • A nonprofit organization that works with individuals with physical or mental disabilities
  • A governmental entity or nonprofit organization that works with individuals with physical or mental disabilities who are serving or have served in the armed forces
  • The primary caregiver or the representative for any of the above categories