Hook, Line, and Sinker: Your Guide to Buying a Maryland Fishing License Online

Hook, Line, and Sinker: Your Ultimate Guide to Buying a Maryland Fishing License Online (2024 Update)

Attention all fishing enthusiasts! If you’re eager to cast your line into the bountiful waters of Maryland, you’ll need to make sure you have a valid fishing license. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of obtaining your Maryland fishing license online, covering everything from license types and fees to the convenience of the digital format. Get ready to gear up for an unforgettable fishing adventure in the Old Line State!

Why You Need a Maryland Fishing License

Before we dive into the details, let’s discuss why having a fishing license is so important. Not only is it legally required for anglers aged 16 and older, but the proceeds from license sales also contribute to the conservation and management of Maryland’s diverse fisheries. By purchasing a license, you’re supporting the state’s efforts to maintain healthy fish populations and protect aquatic habitats for future generations of anglers.

Maryland Fishing License Types

Maryland offers a variety of fishing license options to cater to the needs of both residents and non-residents. Here are the main types of licenses available:

Nontidal Fishing Licenses

  1. Annual Nontidal Fishing License: This license allows you to fish in Maryland’s freshwater bodies for an entire year from the date of purchase. Fees are $20.50 for residents and $30.50 for non-residents.
  2. 7-Day Nontidal Fishing License: If you’re planning a shorter fishing trip, this license is perfect. It grants you access to Maryland’s freshwater fishing for seven consecutive days. The fee is $7.50 for both residents and non-residents.
  3. 3-Day Nontidal Fishing License (Non-Residents Only): Tailored for non-residents, this license allows you to fish in Maryland’s freshwater for three consecutive days at a fee of $5.00.

Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Fishing Licenses

  1. Annual Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Fishing License: This license covers fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and Maryland’s Atlantic coast and coastal bays for a full year. Fees are $15.00 for residents and $22.50 for non-residents.
  2. 7-Day Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Fishing License: Similar to the nontidal version, this license allows you to fish in the aforementioned saltwater areas for seven consecutive days. The fee is $6.00 for residents and $12.00 for non-residents.

Trout Stamps

If you’re interested in fishing for trout in Maryland’s nontidal waters, you’ll need to purchase a trout stamp in addition to your fishing license. The stamp fees are $5.00 for residents and $10.00 for non-residents.

Maryland Fishing License Fees (2024)

To help you plan your fishing budget, here’s a quick overview of the license fees for 2024:

License Type Resident Fee Non-Resident Fee
Annual Nontidal Fishing License $20.50 $30.50
7-Day Nontidal Fishing License $7.50 $7.50
3-Day Nontidal Fishing License (Non-Residents Only) N/A $5.00
Annual Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Fishing License $15.00 $22.50
7-Day Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Fishing License $6.00 $12.00
Trout Stamp $5.00 $10.00

It’s important to note that non-resident fees may be higher if the angler’s home state charges Maryland residents more for equivalent licenses.

How to Buy a Maryland Fishing License Online

Now that you’re familiar with the different license types and fees, let’s walk through the steps to purchase your Maryland fishing license online:

  1. Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ COMPASS portal.
  2. Click on the “Fishing Licenses & Permits” tab.
  3. Select the license type you need (e.g., Nontidal, Chesapeake Bay & Coastal, Trout Stamp).
  4. Choose the duration of your license (annual, 7-day, or 3-day for non-residents).
  5. Provide your personal information, including name, address, date of birth, and contact details.
  6. Pay the corresponding license fee using a credit card or electronic check.
  7. Once your payment is processed, you’ll receive a confirmation email with your digital fishing license, which you can print or save on your mobile device.

That’s it! With your Maryland fishing license in hand, you’re ready to embark on an exciting fishing adventure in the state’s diverse waters.

Benefits of a Digital Fishing License

One of the advantages of purchasing your Maryland fishing license online is the option to obtain a digital copy. This eco-friendly alternative to traditional paper licenses offers several benefits:

  1. Convenience: You can easily store your digital license on your smartphone or tablet, ensuring that it’s always readily available when you need it.
  2. Durability: Unlike paper licenses that can get lost, damaged, or worn out, digital licenses remain intact and legible throughout the fishing season.
  3. Accessibility: If you accidentally delete or lose your digital license, you can simply log back into the COMPASS portal and reprint it.

Frequently Asked Questions

To help address some common concerns, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about Maryland fishing licenses:

1. Do I need a fishing license if I’m assisting a child or disabled person who is fishing?

If you’re assisting a child under the age of 16 or a disabled person who is fishing, you do not need a fishing license as long as you’re not actively fishing yourself.

2. Are there any free fishing days in Maryland?

Yes! In 2024, Maryland offers free fishing days on June 1, June 8, and July 4. On these days, anyone can fish without a recreational fishing license, although all other fishing regulations still apply.

3. Can I use my Maryland fishing license to fish in other states?

No, your Maryland fishing license is only valid within the state’s boundaries. If you plan to fish in another state, you’ll need to obtain the appropriate license for that jurisdiction.


Obtaining your Maryland fishing license online is a simple, convenient process that grants you access to some of the best fishing opportunities in the country. By purchasing a license, you’re not only ensuring compliance with state regulations but also contributing to the conservation and sustainability of Maryland’s fisheries.

So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice eager to drop a line, make sure to secure your Maryland fishing license before heading out on your next fishing adventure. With a valid license in hand, you’ll be ready to create unforgettable memories on the water while enjoying the breathtaking beauty of Maryland’s natural wonders.

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