Maryland Fishing Regulations

In light of the fact that Maryland has an abundance of freshwater, bay areas, and the possibility of ocean fishing, the regulations that govern this activity apply to both tidal and nontidal waters in this state.




In addition, there are several different types of fishing licenses that you can apply for in Maryland. The non-tidal license entitles you to fish in bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and streams.

A ‘Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing License’ would be required in order for you to be able to access the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, as well as to be able to fish in the Atlantic.

There are license-free fishing areas where you can go fishing, but you must first register as a saltwater angler in order to fish in those areas.


Gear for nontidal waters

Nontidal waters are defined as those in which the tidal range is less than one foot in height. The following is a list of the equipment you are permitted to have on you when fishing in these waters, as well as the applicable regulations.

Bait traps must be labeled with the owner’s name, address, and license number on the outside of the trap. You can only use one at a time, and you must check it on a daily basis. It must be within 100 feet of the owner’s residence and the shore, and it must be attached to a pier, dock, or buoy.

Use of hook and line, rod and reel, and handlines are permitted, but only three lines at a time are permitted, with snagging prohibited. The use of two hooks per line is permitted by the regulations. When it comes to ice fishing, the maximum number of tip-ups is five.

Anglers are permitted to use nets, including seines and dip nets, in Trout Management Areas, but they are not permitted to bait them or use them in these areas. Landing nets are the only type of net that can be used in such areas to land a fish that has been caught in another manner. Non-residents are only permitted to go fishing with a landing net, according to the regulations.

A retrieve line must be attached to all archery equipment, gigs, spears, and spear guns before they can be included in your gear. There are several species that you will not be able to target with this equipment, including trout, walleye, striped bass, northern pike, and black bass.


Gear for tidal waters

In addition to the equipment that you can use in nontidal waters, there are a few additional items that you can bring with you, as well as some restrictions that you should be aware of.

Despite the fact that cast nets are permitted, their radius must not exceed 10 feet. For example, unlike the small 6 feet by 4 feet nets used in nontidal waters, the size of a seine net is limited to 50 feet wide and 5 feet high, rather than the smaller 6 feet by 4 feet nets. Their mesh must still be a quarter of an inch in size.

From the beginning of July until the end of February, you can use jugs in the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Fishermen and women are permitted a total of ten jugs, which must be attended to at all times during the night.

When using archery equipment or spears, there is a safety limit of 100 yards that you must adhere to, but you can obtain permission to use them from those who may be harmed.



Generally, the season for most species in nontidal waters is open all year long. A couple of exceptions include largemouth and smallmouth bass, which have a closed season from March to mid-June.. Mussels and clams, as well as herring and shad, are not allowed to be harvested during the open season.

Saltwater anglers are also subject to additional season restrictions. Between the months of January and the end of August, the only way to catch an American eel is to use spears or baited traps. For all eels over 9 inches in length, the creel limit is 25.

The season for black sea bass is only open twice a year, in the spring and fall. Closed season for this species is observed during the first few months of the calendar year, from January through the 14th of May, as well as during the month of October, which begins on September 22nd and ends on October 21st.

Additionally, from the 15th of March until the last day of April, it is prohibited to fish for chain pickerel. When fishing in the open season, you can catch a maximum of ten fish per day.