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Get A Fishing License
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Get a Maryland Fishing License

Before making plans to fish at a location like Rangeley Lake State Park, it is essential for your family to obtain Maine fishing licenses and familiarize themselves with the state's fishing regulations. These regulations encompass various aspects, including bag limits, length limits, and fishing seasons. It's worth noting that the specific fishing regulations may differ based on whether you intend to engage in open water fishing, ice fishing, or saltwater fishing.



Please take part in this survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, MD. The objective of this study is to track the changes among anglers in Maryland, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay area while preserving the longstanding tradition of fishing and boating. A crucial goal is to explore ways to introduce new anglers to the Bay and the outdoors. The survey should take approximately 9-12 minutes to complete. For further information, please email [email protected].

Complete the Survey


In Maryland, anyone aged 16 or older must possess a license for sportfishing/crabbing, unless they qualify for an exemption. Additionally, if you plan to engage in saltwater fishing, you will need to register with the Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration if it is required in the specific area where you intend to fish.


There are several exemptions to the Maryland fishing license requirement, allowing individuals to fish without a license. Here are some of the most common exemptions:

  • Active-duty military: Maryland residents who are on active duty with the Armed Forces and on leave with official orders are exempt.
  • Free fishing days: Fishing on one of the state's two designated free fishing days each summer.
  • Free fishing area: Fishing in an area designated by the Department of Natural Resources as a license-free fishing area while possessing the Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration.
  • Property owner: Fishing for finfish without a license in Maryland's nontidal waters if you are the owner or tenant of the property or the spouse, child, or spouse of the child of the owner.
  • Reciprocal privileges: Residents of Virginia and West Virginia can fish in nontidal waters of the Potomac River on the opposite shores with a valid fishing license. Residents of Pennsylvania can fish in portions of the Conowingo and Youghiogheny reservoirs within Maryland without a license.


Depending on your residence, fishing plans, and duration, you have various options for obtaining a Maryland fishing license, each with different fees:

  • Non-Tidal/Freshwater License:
    • Annual: Residents pay $20.50, non-residents pay $30.50 or the reciprocal fee for their state of residence, whichever is greater.
    • 7-day: Residents pay $7.50, non-residents pay an amount equal to that charged to residents by their home state for a similar license.
    • 3-day: Available to non-residents only, the fee is equal to that charged to Maryland residents by the non-resident's home state for a similar license.
  • Resident Senior Consolidated License: Maryland residents aged 65 or older or those who will turn 65 in the current calendar year can obtain a license to fish in the state's freshwaters and tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries for just $5.00.
  • The Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport Fish License:
    • Residents: The cost is $15.00 per year to fish in the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, state waters of the Atlantic, coastal bays, and tributaries.
    • Non-residents: The cost is $22.50 per year for the same privileges.
  • Complimentary License: Blind individuals, as well as residents and non-residents who are 100% service-connected disabled veterans or former prisoners of war, can obtain a complimentary fishing license.


The easiest way to purchase your Maryland fishing license is online through the Department of Natural Resources website's COMPASS portal. From the site, you can buy a license, reprint a license, and register as a saltwater angler.

You can also buy a fishing license in person at one of the over 250 license agents located throughout the state. Lastly, you have the option to purchase your Maryland fishing license by mail. An application can be obtained from the Department of Natural Resources website.