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Get Your 2024 Maryland Fishing License in 3 Easy Steps

Are you ready to cast your line and reel in the excitement of fishing in Maryland’s stunning waterways? Whether you’re an avid angler or a curious beginner, obtaining your 2024 Maryland Fishing License is the key to unlocking a world of aquatic adventures. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the simple process of securing your license, ensuring you’re fully prepared to embark on your fishing journey in the Old Line State.

Why You Need a Maryland Fishing License

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand why having a fishing license is crucial. By purchasing a license, you’re not only complying with state regulations but also contributing to the conservation and management of Maryland’s diverse fish populations. Your license fees support various initiatives, including:

  • Fisheries research and management
  • Habitat restoration and protection
  • Stocking programs to enhance fishing opportunities
  • Access improvements and maintenance of fishing areas
  • Aquatic education programs

Moreover, possessing a valid fishing license grants you the legal right to fish in Maryland’s public waters, including the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and numerous lakes, rivers, and streams across the state.

Step 1: Determine the Type of License You Need

Maryland offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to different angling preferences and durations. Before purchasing your license, consider factors such as your residency status, age, and the type of fishing you plan to do. Here are the main license categories:

Resident Licenses

  • Annual Nontidal License: Allows Maryland residents to fish in nontidal waters for a calendar year.
  • Annual Chesapeake Bay & Coastal License: Permits Maryland residents to fish in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, as well as the state’s coastal waters.
  • 5-Day Nontidal License: Grants Maryland residents the ability to fish in nontidal waters for any 5 consecutive days.

Nonresident Licenses

  • Annual Nontidal License: Enables nonresidents to fish in Maryland’s nontidal waters for a calendar year.
  • 3-Day Nontidal License: Allows nonresidents to fish in nontidal waters for any 3 consecutive days.
  • Annual Chesapeake Bay & Coastal License: Permits nonresidents to fish in the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and Maryland’s coastal waters for a calendar year.
  • 7-Day Chesapeake Bay & Coastal License: Grants nonresidents the opportunity to fish in the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and coastal waters for any 7 consecutive days.

Additional License Types

  • Trout Stamp: Required for anglers fishing in designated trout waters, in addition to a valid nontidal license.
  • Senior License: Available for Maryland residents aged 65 and above at a discounted rate.
  • Blind or Disabled License: Offered to eligible Maryland residents who are blind or have certain disabilities.

It’s essential to review the specific requirements and privileges associated with each license type to ensure you select the one that best suits your needs.

Step 2: Choose Your Preferred Purchase Method

Maryland offers several convenient ways to obtain your fishing license, catering to your preferences and lifestyle. You can choose from the following options:

Online Purchase

The quickest and most convenient method is to buy your license online through the official Maryland Department of Natural Resources website. Simply visit their user-friendly platform, create an account, and follow the step-by-step instructions to complete your purchase. You’ll receive an electronic copy of your license, which you can print or store on your mobile device.

In-Person Purchase

If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can visit any of the numerous license agents located throughout Maryland. These include sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, and some convenience stores. Find a nearby agent using the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ agent locator tool, and purchase your license in person.

Phone Purchase

For those who prefer to buy their license over the phone, Maryland offers a convenient telephone service. Call the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 1-855-855-3906, and a friendly representative will guide you through the purchase process. Have your payment information ready, and you’ll receive your license confirmation via email.

Regardless of your chosen purchase method, make sure to provide accurate personal information and keep your license confirmation or physical copy easily accessible while fishing.

Step 3: Familiarize Yourself with Maryland Fishing Regulations

Now that you’ve obtained your 2024 Maryland Fishing License, it’s crucial to understand and abide by the state’s fishing regulations. These rules are designed to promote sustainable fishing practices, protect fish populations, and ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for all anglers. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

Size and Catch Limits

Maryland enforces size and catch limits for various fish species to maintain healthy populations. Before heading out, review the current Maryland Fishing Guide to familiarize yourself with the minimum size requirements and daily catch limits for your targeted species. This information is regularly updated and can vary based on factors such as location and season.

Seasons and Locations

Fishing seasons and location restrictions may apply to certain species or water bodies. Stay informed about any seasonal closures, catch-and-release periods, or area-specific regulations. The Maryland Fishing Guide provides detailed information on these restrictions, ensuring you’re always fishing within the permitted boundaries.

Gear Restrictions

Maryland has specific regulations regarding the type of fishing gear allowed in different water bodies. This may include restrictions on hook sizes, bait types, or the number of poles or lines an angler can use simultaneously. Familiarize yourself with these rules to avoid unintentional violations and to practice responsible fishing techniques.

Invasive Species and Responsible Practices

As a responsible angler, it’s essential to be aware of invasive species and take measures to prevent their spread. Maryland has strict regulations on the transport and release of live fish, as well as the disposal of unused bait. Always clean your gear thoroughly, dispose of unwanted bait properly, and report any sightings of invasive species to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

By staying informed and adhering to these regulations, you’ll contribute to the long-term sustainability of Maryland’s fisheries while enjoying your fishing adventures to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need a fishing license if I’m assisting a child or a licensed angler?

A: If you’re actively participating in fishing activities, such as handling fishing equipment or assisting with baiting or removing fish from hooks, you must possess a valid Maryland fishing license. However, if you’re solely supervising or accompanying a child or licensed angler without engaging in fishing activities, you do not need a license.

Q: Are there any free fishing days in Maryland?

A: Yes! Maryland offers a few free fishing days each year, typically in June and July, during which anyone can fish without a license in most state waters. However, all other fishing regulations, such as size and catch limits, still apply. Check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website for the specific dates of free fishing days in 2024.

Q: What should I do if I lose my fishing license?

A: If you purchased your license online or by phone, you can easily reprint it from the email confirmation you received. If you bought your license in person, contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 1-855-855-3906 for assistance in obtaining a replacement license.

Q: Can I fish in both tidal and nontidal waters with a single license?

A: No, Maryland requires separate licenses for fishing in tidal (Chesapeake Bay and coastal) and nontidal (freshwater) waters. Make sure to purchase the appropriate license based on where you plan to fish. If you intend to fish in both types of waters, you’ll need to obtain both licenses.


Obtaining your 2024 Maryland Fishing License is a simple and straightforward process that opens up a world of angling opportunities in the state’s diverse waters. By determining the right license type for your needs, choosing a convenient purchase method, and familiarizing yourself with the fishing regulations, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your fishing adventures.

Remember, your fishing license is more than just a legal requirement; it’s a contribution to the conservation and enhancement of Maryland’s fisheries. Each time you cast your line, you’re playing a vital role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the state’s aquatic resources for generations to come.

So, gear up, grab your 2024 Maryland Fishing License, and get ready to create unforgettable memories on the water. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of reeling in a trophy catch or simply enjoying the tranquility of nature, Maryland’s stunning waterways await.

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