Get a Maryland Fishing License

Are you ready to get your freshwater MD fishing license so that you can spend a day fishing for chain pickerel on Dundee Creek at Gunpowder Falls State Park? Or, maybe you plan to purchase a saltwater fishing license and spend the day on Chesapeake Bay fishing for white perch. Whichever it is, we have the Maryland fishing license information you need here.

Get a Maryland Fishing License
Fishing License

Maryland / Virginia / Chesapeake Bay Angler Survey

Please participate in this survey conducted for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD. The study objective is to track how anglers in Maryland, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay area are changing while keeping a long tradition of fishing and boating alive. A vital objective is to find ways to introduce new anglers to the Bay and the outdoors. It should take you no more than 9-12 minutes to complete. For further information please email

Complete the Survey

Maryland Fishing Licenses Requirements

In Maryland, everyone 16 or older must have a license to sportfish/crab unless they qualify for an exemption. In addition, if you are a saltwater angler, you’ll also need to register with the Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration if it’s required in the particular area where you plan to fish.

Fishing License Exemptions

There are several ways you can fish for free without a license in the state of Maryland. Here are some of the most common exemptions to the Maryland fishing license requirement:

  • Active-duty military: If you are a resident of Maryland, on active duty with the Armed Forces and on leave with official orders, you are exempt.
  • Free fishing days: You’re fishing on one of the state's two free fishing days each summer.
  • Free fishing area: You choose to fish in an area designated by the Department of Natural Resources as a license-free fishing area and you have your Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration.
  • Property owner: Anglers can fish for finfish without a license in Maryland’s nontidal waters if they are the owner or tenant of the proper or the spouse, child or spouse of the child of the owner.
  • Reciprocal privileges: Residents of Virginia and West Virginia can fish in nontidal waters of the Potomac River on the opposite shores if they have a valid fishing license, and residents of Pennsylvania can fish in portions of the Conowingo and Youghiogheny reservoirs within the boundaries of Maryland without a license.

Types of Fishing Licenses

Depending on where you live, the type of fishing you plan to do and for how long, you may have several options when it comes to your Maryland fishing license, which all have different fees.

  • Non-Tidal/Freshwater License
    • Annual Non-Tidal/Freshwater License: Residents pay $20.50 and non-residents $30.50 or reciprocal fee for their state of residence, whichever is greater.
    • 7-day Non-Tidal/Freshwater License: The cost is $7.50 for residents and non-residents pay an equal to that charged a resident for a similar license by their home state.
    • 3-day Non-Tidal/Freshwater License: Available to non-residents only, the fee is equal to that charged a Maryland resident for a similar license by the non-resident’s home state.
  • Resident Senior Consolidated License
    Those Maryland residents who are 65 or older or will become 65 in the current calendar year can get a license to fish in the state’s freshwaters and tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries for just $5.00.
  • The Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Sport Fish License
    Both residents and non-residents can get a license to fish in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and state waters of the Atlantic and coastal bays and tributaries. For residents, the cost is $15 a year and for non-residents, it’s $22.50.
  • Complimentary License
    Residents and non-residents who are blind and those residents who are 100% service-connected disabled veterans or former prisoners of war can get a complimentary license.

How to Buy Your Maryland Fishing License

The easiest way to buy your Maryland fishing license is online through the Department of Natural Resources website’s COMPASS portal. From the site, you can purchase a license, reprint a license and even register as a saltwater angler.

You can also purchase a fishing license in person at a local license agent. There are over 250 license agents in the state for you to choose from. Lastly, you can buy your Maryland fishing license by mail. An application is available at the Department of Natural Resources website.