Get up to speed with the fishing laws
The snow in Southern Mar yland earlier this week was a delightful surprise. But almost as quickly as it blanketed the ground, it melted and completely disappeared by the next day. Who knows what the rest of February holds? My bet is there will be a lot more days with sunny skies and mild temperatures.
Your fishing rod and tackle box will soon be beckoning you outdoors to one of our region’s fishing hot spots as the perch move through and the water temperatures start to creep back up.
Before you head out to do some fishing, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Mar yland’s fishing laws and get the required licenses. Yes, that’s licenses with an s, because Mar yland doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all kind of fishing license that allows anglers to fish anywhere in the state.
Instead, Mar yland divides its waters into the categories non-tidal and tidal. Lakes, ponds, the upper Potomac River, and places like that are considered non-tidal. So, if you like to plunk a bobber in Tilghman Lake or take your bass boat to Deep Creek Lake for a week in the summer, you’re going to need a resident annual non-tidal fishing license which costs $20.50. And if you are thinking trout sounds good for dinner, that’ll be an additional $5 for a trout stamp.
The tidal waters of Maryland include the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, the state wa- ters of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastal bays and tributar- ies. Anglers who enjoy bottom fishing in the Patuxent River or trolling for stripers or surf fishing off Point Lookout are going to need to get a resident annual Chesapeake Bay and coastal sport license for $15.
There’s an exception to this: If you take a charter fishing trip, you aren’t going to need your own individual license. Charter boats are required to carry a license that’s good for all the anglers onboard, so you’re covered in that situation.
And those Marylanders who have their own pleasure boat and like to take friends and family out fishing can buy a $50 consolidated Chesapeake Bay and coastal sport license that will cover everyone on the vessel. However, everyone fishing under the consolidated license must be registered as a saltwater angler. It’s easy enough to do and free.
Anglers who are 65 or older have it good in Mar yland. They can purchase a resident senior consolidated license for $5, which allows the holder to fish in all the fresh waters of Mar yland (including fishing for trout) and in Mar yland’s tidal waters for just $5. That’s reasonable enough.
Alas, an even better deal is being a kid again. Children 16 and younger do not need a license to fish in Mar yland, so make sure you bring them along when you go fishing. It won’t cost you a penny more and the memories will be priceless.