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Non-Resident Recreational Fishing License in MD: Your Guide

Are you an out-of-state angler dreaming of casting a line in the legendary Chesapeake Bay or one of Maryland’s pristine freshwater lakes? With its diverse fishing opportunities, from the Atlantic coast to the Appalachian Mountains, the Old Line State is an angler’s paradise. But before you pack your tackle box and hit the water, there’s one crucial step you can’t overlook: getting your non-resident Maryland fishing license.

Navigating the various license types, fees, and requirements can feel like trying to untangle a bird’s nest of fishing line. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything non-resident anglers need to know to legally wet a line in Maryland’s tidal and freshwater fisheries. By the time we’re done, you’ll be ready to reel in striped bass on the Bay or outwit trout in a bubbling mountain stream, all while staying on the right side of Maryland’s fishing regulations. Let’s dive in!

Types of Non-Resident Fishing Licenses in Maryland

The first step to fishing in Maryland as a non-resident is understanding the different licenses available. Maryland offers separate permits for tidal (saltwater) and non-tidal (freshwater) fishing, as well as some short-term options. Here’s a breakdown of the non-resident license types:

Non-Tidal (Freshwater) Licenses

  • Annual Non-Tidal License: This license allows you to fish all of Maryland’s non-tidal waters for a full year from the date of purchase. As of 2024, the cost for non-residents is $30.50.
  • 7-Day Non-Tidal License: Planning a week-long freshwater fishing trip? This short-term license lets you fish Maryland’s non-tidal waters for seven consecutive days. The fee is equivalent to what Maryland charges residents for the same license.
  • 3-Day Non-Tidal License: If your freshwater fishing plans are even briefer, you can opt for this three-day license, also priced at Maryland’s resident rate.
  • Trout Stamp: Hoping to catch some rainbow or brook trout? You’ll need to purchase a non-resident trout stamp ($10) in addition to your freshwater fishing license.

Tidal (Saltwater) Licenses

  • Annual Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport License: This is your ticket to fish Maryland’s famous Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, as well as the state’s Atlantic Ocean waters, coastal bays, and tidal rivers. It’s valid for a year from the purchase date and costs non-residents $22.50 in 2024.
  • 7-Day Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport License: Only have a week to explore Maryland’s saltwater fishing? You can get this seven-day license for $12.

No matter which license you choose, keep in mind that anyone 16 or older, resident or non-resident, needs a valid fishing license to legally fish in Maryland’s public waters. The only exceptions are those fishing on a licensed charter boat, a free fishing day, or in a designated license-free fishing area.

License Fees for Non-Residents

Now that you know your license options, let’s talk about how much they’ll set you back. Here’s a quick reference table of the fees for non-resident Maryland fishing licenses in 2024:

License Type Fee
Annual Non-Tidal License $30.50
7-Day Non-Tidal License Same as MD resident fee
3-Day Non-Tidal License Same as MD resident fee
Trout Stamp $10
Annual Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport License $22.50
7-Day Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport License $12

Keep in mind that these fees are subject to change, so always double-check the current prices on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website before purchasing your license.

Where to Purchase a Non-Resident MD Fishing License

You have a few convenient options for buying your non-resident Maryland fishing license:

  1. Online: The quickest and easiest method is through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources COMPASS portal. You can purchase and print your license immediately.
  2. In Person: Maryland has over 250 authorized license agents, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores, and outdoor retailers. Use the state’s online license agent locator to find one near you.
  3. By Mail: You can download and print a fishing license application from the DNR website, fill it out, and mail it in with payment to get your license. The DNR will process it and mail your permits.

Whichever method you choose, you’ll need to provide some basic information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and driver’s license number. Always carry your printed or electronic license with you while fishing, as DNR officers may ask to see it.

Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration

If you plan to fish in Maryland’s tidal waters, you may need to register with the state’s Saltwater Angler Registry. This free registry is required for anglers who are not licensed but fish for:

  • Striped bass, shad, herring, or other anadromous species in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries
  • Any species in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays, or tidal Potomac River while on a boat licensed in Maryland or Virginia

You can easily register online through the COMPASS portal, at a DNR service center, or any license vendor. Anglers under 16 are exempt from the registration requirement.

Reciprocity Agreements with Other States

What if you already have a fishing license from a neighboring state? Maryland has reciprocity agreements with Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania that allow anglers with licenses from those states to fish in certain Maryland waters:

  • Virginia: VA saltwater license holders can fish in MD tidal waters with a free MD Saltwater Angler Registration. Those with VA freshwater licenses can fish the non-tidal Potomac River in MD.
  • West Virginia: WV license holders can fish the MD side of the non-tidal Potomac River without a MD license.
  • Pennsylvania: Anglers with PA licenses can fish MD’s portion of the Youghiogheny River Lake and Conowingo Reservoir from boats or the shore.

Even with reciprocity, all anglers must follow Maryland’s fishing regulations and creel limits. Non-residents from other states need a MD license to fish in the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to fish from shore in MD? In most cases, yes. Unless you’re fishing from a licensed charter boat or commercial pier, or in a designated license-free fishing area, all anglers 16 and older must have a valid license to fish from the bank, beaches, and piers in Maryland.

How do I replace a lost fishing license? You can reprint a lost license for free by logging into your COMPASS account. You can also visit a DNR service center or license vendor and have them reprint it for you.

Can I crab with a non-resident fishing license? No, you’ll need a separate recreational crabbing license to catch crabs in Maryland. Non-residents can get an annual crabbing license for $30 or a 7-day tourist crabbing license for $10.

What are the age requirements for non-resident licenses? Any non-resident 16 or older must have a valid Maryland fishing license. Anglers under 16 can fish without a license.


Fishing in Maryland is an experience like no other, from the thriving striped bass fishery of the Chesapeake Bay to the scenic trout streams of the western mountains. By understanding the non-resident license requirements, fees, and options, you can ensure you’re fishing legally and doing your part to support the state’s fisheries conservation.

Remember, your license dollars directly fund the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ work to maintain healthy fish populations, enhance water access, and promote the joy of fishing. So get licensed, brush up on the regulations, and get ready to make some unforgettable Old Line State fishing memories!

For the most current license information and fishing regulations, visit the official Maryland DNR website or contact your local DNR office. See you on the water!

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