Get Your Fishing License in MD: A Comprehensive Guide

Get Your Fishing License in MD: A Comprehensive Guide

Fishing in Maryland offers a unique blend of freshwater and saltwater experiences, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac River. However, before you can cast your line, you need to understand the licensing requirements, fees, seasons, and regulations. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary information.

Get Your Fishing License in MD: A Comprehensive Guide

Maryland Fishing License Requirements

Maryland offers a variety of fishing licenses, each with its own set of requirements. Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, a senior, or a disabled veteran, there’s a license tailored to your needs. This guide will provide you with comprehensive information on the types of licenses, fees, age requirements, exemptions, and how to apply for a license.

License Types and Fees

Maryland offers several types of fishing licenses, each with its own fee structure. The cost of a license depends on whether you’re a resident or non-resident, and the duration of the license. Here’s a breakdown of the fees:

  • Resident Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $20.50
  • Resident 7-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $7.50
  • Resident Trout Stamp: $5
  • Non-Resident Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $30.50 or the same fee charged to visiting Maryland anglers by a non-resident’s home state, whichever is higher
  • Non-Resident 7-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $7.50
  • Non-Resident 3-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License: $5
  • Non-Resident Trout Stamp: $10

Trout Stamp Requirement

If you’re planning to fish for trout in Maryland’s nontidal waters, you’ll need a Trout Stamp. This requirement applies to anyone 16 years of age or older. The cost for residents is $5, while non-residents must pay $10. However, if you hold a Resident Senior Consolidated License, you’re exempt from this requirement .

Age Requirements

In Maryland, individuals under the age of 16 are not required to obtain a fishing license. However, they can purchase a recreational crab license if they want to use certain types of gear or catch a full bushel of crabs. A Resident Senior Consolidated License is available to Maryland residents who are 65 years of age or older. This license allows them to fish in the fresh waters of Maryland, including trout, and in Maryland’s tidal waters .

Exemptions and Special Licenses

There are several exemptions to the fishing license requirement in Maryland. For instance, you don’t need a license if you’re a Maryland resident on active duty with the Armed Forces and on leave with official orders. You’re also exempt if you fish on a free fishing day—the first two Saturdays in June and July 4—or in a designated license-free fishing area .

Maryland also offers a complimentary lifetime license to residents who are 100% service-connected disabled veterans or former prisoners of war. This license includes the non-tidal angler’s license, Chesapeake Bay sport fishing license, and trout stamp .

License Application Methods

To apply for a fishing license in Maryland, you can visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website. The site provides detailed instructions on how to apply for each type of license. You can also apply in person at a local licensing agent or at a Department of Natural Resources Service Center .

Remember, fishing without a valid license can result in penalties. So, make sure you have the right license before you cast your line.

Maryland Fishing License Fees

Maryland offers a variety of fishing licenses, each with its own set of fees. The cost of a license depends on whether you’re a resident or non-resident, the type of fishing you plan to do, and the duration of the license. This guide will provide you with comprehensive information on the types of licenses and their associated fees.

License Types and Fees

Maryland offers several types of fishing licenses, each with its own fee structure. Here’s a breakdown of the fees:

License Type Fee
Resident Nontidal Sport Fishing License $20.50
Resident 7-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License $7.50
Resident Trout Stamp $5
Non-Resident Nontidal Sport Fishing License $30.50 or equivalent to resident fee
Non-Resident 7-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License $7.50
Non-Resident 3-Day Nontidal Sport Fishing License $5
Non-Resident Trout Stamp $10

Trout Stamp Requirement

If you’re planning to fish for trout in Maryland’s nontidal waters, you’ll need a Trout Stamp. This requirement applies to anyone 16 years of age or older. The cost for residents is $5, while non-residents must pay $10. However, if you hold a Resident Senior Consolidated License, you’re exempt from this requirement .

Non-Resident Fees

Non-resident fees for nontidal sport fishing licenses are equal to the fee charged to a Maryland resident for a similar license by the non-resident’s home state. This means that the cost for non-residents can vary depending on their home state’s fees .

Additional Information

Fishing licenses, stamps, and registrations are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, unless otherwise specified. It’s important to note that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources may suspend an individual’s fishing license or privilege if that individual is convicted of, or pays a fine for, violating certain fishing rules .

Remember, fishing without a license in Maryland can result in penalties, so it’s crucial to ensure you have the appropriate license before you head out to fish .

How to Apply for a Maryland Fishing License

Applying for a fishing license in Maryland is a straightforward process. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has made it easy for both residents and non-residents to apply for a fishing license. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Maryland fishing license.

Online Application

The most convenient way to apply for a Maryland fishing license is online through the Maryland DNR’s COMPASS portal. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Visit the COMPASS portal on the Maryland DNR website.
  2. If you’re a new user, create an account. If you’re a returning user, log in to your account.
  3. Once logged in, select the type of fishing license you want to apply for.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete the application process.
  5. Pay the required fee using a credit or debit card.
  6. Once your payment is processed, you’ll receive an electronic copy of your fishing license. You can print this out or save it on your phone.

In-Person Application

If you prefer to apply in person, you can do so at a local licensing agent or at a Maryland DNR Service Center. Here’s how:

  1. Visit a local licensing agent or a Maryland DNR Service Center. You can find a list of locations on the Maryland DNR website.
  2. Ask for the type of fishing license you want to apply for.
  3. Complete the application form provided by the agent.
  4. Pay the required fee. Most locations accept cash, check, and credit or debit cards.
  5. Once your payment is processed, you’ll receive a physical copy of your fishing license.

Mail-In Application

You can also apply for a Maryland fishing license by mail. Here’s how:

  1. Download and print the fishing license application form from the Maryland DNR website.
  2. Complete the application form.
  3. Mail the completed form, along with a check or money order for the required fee, to the Maryland DNR Service Center in your area.
  4. Once your application is processed, you’ll receive your fishing license in the mail.

Remember, fishing without a valid license in Maryland can result in penalties. So, make sure you have the right license before you cast your line.

Maryland Fishing Seasons

Fishing seasons in Maryland vary depending on the species of fish. Here’s a breakdown of some popular species and their respective seasons:

Atlantic Ocean and Coastal Bays

  • Bluefish: Open year-round
  • Cobia: June 15 – September 15
  • Croaker (Hardhead): Open year-round
  • Spanish Mackerel: Open year-round

Deep Creek Lake and Youghiogheny River

  • Walleye: Open year-round, except closed from March 1 through April 15 on Deep Creek Lake and the Youghiogheny River downstream of Route 42 bridge
  • Trout: Open year-round, with specific regulations for put-and-take areas and special trout management areas

Chesapeake Bay

  • Striped Bass: The summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries is open from May 16 through July 15. All areas of the Bay are closed to any targeting of striped bass from July 16 through July 31, and will reopen August 1 through December 10 .

Trout

  • Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Areas: These areas have a five-trout limit and specific spring closures depending on location. Consult the Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing for closure dates and special management area restrictions .
  • Catch and Release Trout Fishing Areas: These areas are open year-round and offer catch and release fishing only .

Please note that these are general guidelines, and fishing regulations may change or be updated. It’s essential to consult the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website or the Maryland General Assembly website for the most up-to-date regulations and seasons .

Maryland Fishing Regulations

Maryland fishing regulations are designed to ensure the sustainability of fish populations, protect habitats, and maintain the quality of the fishing experience. These regulations cover a wide range of topics, including license requirements and exemptions, catch and release regulations, prohibited species and methods, special fishing areas and regulations, and size and possession limits.

License Requirements and Exemptions

In Maryland, fishing licenses, stamps, and registrations are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, unless otherwise specified. The cost of these licenses varies depending on the type of fishing and the residency status of the angler. For example, a Resident Nontidal Sport Fishing License costs $20.50, while a Non-Resident Nontidal Sport Fishing License costs $30.50 .

There are several exemptions to these licensing requirements. For instance, you do not need a license if you are under 16 years of age, a resident of Maryland on active duty with Armed Forces on leave, or fishing from a licensed charter boat or commercial fishing pier. Additionally, a complimentary license is available to Maryland residents who are 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans or former prisoners of war .

Catch and Release Regulations

Catch and release fishing is a common practice in Maryland, especially for species like striped bass. Studies have shown that fish larger than 24 inches are at considerable risk when caught and released in warm, low-salinity waters. Therefore, it’s important to handle fish carefully and quickly to minimize stress and increase their chances of survival. Using circle hooks and long-nosed pliers can help minimize stress and physical damage to the fish. If a fish is deeply hooked, it’s recommended to cut the line near the hook eye, revive and release the fish .

Prohibited Species and Methods

The Department of Natural Resources is proposing to prohibit the use of select sportfish species (including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, striped bass hybrids, walleye, muskellunge, tiger muskellunge, northern pike, pickerel, and brown and brook trout) as bait (live or cut bait). This restriction would apply in all Maryland waters .

Special Fishing Areas and Regulations

There are several special fishing areas in Maryland with specific regulations. For example, the Department is considering removing Forest Hill/Friends Park Pond (Harford County), Pine Lake (Montgomery County), Jones Falls below Lake Roland (Baltimore County), and Beaver Run (Carroll County) from the list of Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Areas. Additionally, the Department is proposing to establish a minimum size and creel limit for saugeye consistent with existing regulations for walleye .

Size and Possession Limits

In Maryland, the size and possession limits for trout fishing in all nontidal waters of the State are as follows: open season-year around; fishing hours-from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; creel and possession limits (all species of trout) in aggregate – daily: 2, possession: 4; minimum size (all species of trout)-no minimum size restriction .

Remember, these regulations are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest updates from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources before you go fishing.

In conclusion, getting a fishing license in Maryland is a straightforward process. By understanding the requirements, fees, seasons, and regulations, you can ensure a successful and legal fishing experience in the Old Line State.

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