Get Your Maryland Fishing License Online Today!

Fishing is a popular pastime in Maryland with abundant freshwater and saltwater opportunities across the state. From the mighty Chesapeake Bay to the Gunpowder River and Deep Creek Lake, Maryland has some of the best fishing spots on the East Coast.

To legally fish these waters, anglers age 16 and up need to purchase the appropriate Maryland fishing license for their planned location and resident status. Fortunately, buying a fishing license online in Maryland is quick and convenient through the state’s COMPASS licensing system.

This article will cover everything you need to know about getting your Maryland fishing license online, including:

  • Benefits of purchasing online
  • License types and exemptions
  • Fees for residents vs nonresidents
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Replacing lost licenses
  • Senior and disability discounts

So read on to learn why you should get your Maryland fishing license online today!

Why Purchase Your License Online?

Purchasing your Maryland fishing license through the COMPASS online portal offers several key benefits:

  • Convenience – Buy anytime from any device without visiting a store
  • Speed – Receive your license instantly instead of waiting for mail delivery
  • Accessibility – Store a digital copy on your phone to access when needed
  • Reminders – Get notifications to renew before expiration

The online system through COMPASS allows you to immediately obtain and print out your fishing license after payment is processed. This means no more worrying about lost paperwork or waiting days for your license.

You’ll also have the ability to view and reprint previous licenses. So if you happen to misplace your license, you can easily access a replacement from your COMPASS account.

Eligibility and Exemptions

In Maryland, all anglers over age 16 need a fishing license to fish recreationally, whether in freshwater or saltwater. There are a few exceptions where certain individuals can fish without a license:

  • Active military – Maryland residents on leave with official orders
  • Landowners – Fishing on waters bordering their property
  • Charter boats – Passengers on licensed charter boats
  • Under 16 – Anglers under the age of 16

Those with disabilities may also qualify for free or discounted licenses. More details are provided in the fees and discounts section below.

Maryland Fishing License Types and Duration

Maryland offers both tidal (saltwater) and non-tidal (freshwater) fishing licenses for residents and nonresidents. Licenses can be purchased for the whole year or shorter 7 or 3 day periods.

Non-Tidal Licenses

Non-tidal licenses allow fishing in all freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and wetlands within Maryland state boundaries. Options include:

  • Annual – Valid for 365 days from purchase
  • 7-day – Valid for 7 consecutive days
  • 3-day (nonresident only) – Valid for 3 consecutive days

Separate trout stamps are also required to fish for trout in non-tidal waters.

Tidal Licenses

To fish tidal waters like the Chesapeake Bay, coastal bays, and tidal portions of rivers, you need a Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing License. Both residents and nonresidents can choose annual or 7-day licenses.

Some tidal areas may also require registering with the Maryland Saltwater Angler Registry. This free registry helps the state track saltwater fishing activity.

Fees for Maryland Fishing Licenses

License fees in Maryland vary based on residency status, age, disability status, and license duration. Below are the base rates for annual 2023 fishing licenses:

License Type Resident Fee Nonresident Fee
Annual Non-Tidal $20.50 $30.50
Trout Stamp $5 $10
Annual Chesapeake Bay Sport $15 $22.50

Discounts are available for seniors and certain disabilities, covered in the sections below.

To qualify for resident rates, you must be domiciled in Maryland for at least 6 months out of the year.

Getting Your MD License Step-By-Step

Ready to get your Maryland fishing license? Just follow these simple steps:

Step 1) Go to the COMPASS DNR website and click “Purchase License”

Step 2) Create a new account or log into your existing COMPASS account

Step 3) Enter your personal info and make sure your residency status is correct

Step 4) Select desired license(s) and add to cart

Step 5) Enter payment details and complete transaction

Step 6) Print or save your digital license for phone access later

The whole process takes less than 10 minutes start to finish. At the end, you’ll have instant access to an official MD fishing license on your phone or computer.

Replacing Lost MD Licenses

If you happen to misplace your printed Maryland fishing license, all is not lost! Just log into your COMPASS account and reprint your licenses at any time.

Your purchase history and licenses will be stored there for easy lookup. No need to pay for replacements.

Discounts for Seniors and Disabilities

Maryland offers discounted and even free fishing licenses to certain populations:

  • Seniors – Residents 65+ pay $5 for a Senior Consolidated License covering both tidal and non-tidal fishing
  • Blind – No fee fishing licenses for legally blind residents and nonresidents
  • Former POWs – Free lifetime fishing license for former POW residents
  • Disabled Veterans – Free lifetime fishing license for 100% disabled resident veterans

Eligible individuals need to provide appropriate documentation when applying for discounted or free fishing licenses.

Get Started Fishing MD Waters!

As you can see, purchasing a Maryland fishing license online is quick, convenient, and affordable.

Within just a few minutes, you can access an official license through the COMPASS portal and hit the water legally. So don’t wait – get your MD fishing license online today!

The handy digital copy stored on your phone ensures you’ll always have proof of a valid license whenever officials check while you’re out enjoying the state’s first-class fishing.

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