Today, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law a bill that authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to issue recreational fishing licenses for 365 days from the date of purchase, rather than for the calendar year. Created by Senate Bill 666/House Bill 785, the new law takes effect October 1.I can see the advantages to people who have just come in from another state, but for me it will probably just be an opportunity to forget to get a license.
“By giving anglers the added value and flexibility of choosing their annual license’s start date we expect they’ll spend more days on the water, which will benefit Maryland businesses associated with the sport fishing community, such as tackle shops and charter boats, as well as the food service, fuel and hotel industries,” said DNR Secretary Mark Belton.
Currently, recreational fishing licenses are good for a calendar year. As a result, Marylanders who purchase fishing licenses late in the year often buy short-term three- or seven-day licenses, which cost less, but limit their options for going out. The new law will encourage these anglers to buy annual licenses ─ a better value.
Sport Fishing Advisory Commission Vice Chairman David Sikorski, who championed the legislation, said, “This is a win for the recreational fishing community. Maryland now joins a handful of states leading the movement to offer the increased value and flexibility of a 365-day license.”
The new law covers recreational tidal and nontidal fishing licenses, including the popular Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Boat License.
Anglers will be able to purchase these licenses through the online COMPASS license system, compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal.
Currently, I know the first time I go fishing after New Years, I need to get a fishing license. At the same time, every other year, I need to pay the boat registration, so I often combine the two tasks in a single visit to DNR. Maybe I'll just try to renew on Jan 1 to get the year started.
I have found the online system a little clunky (as government systems usually are) but workable.