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MD Fishing License
Anglers in Ocean City need a fishing license. This is the second year of the program, so the days of only giving a warning is over. You could get a ticket and the fine is $75. The state has been working for three years to come up with a new online computerized system to buy your license. Since right before Easter, anglers at home have been re-directed to the new site. It is the same site that we agents use.

Many tackle stores are using the new system and selling fishing licenses including us at Oyster Bay Tackle, Fenwick Tackle, All Tackle, Oceanic Pier, Talbot Street Tackle, Ake Marine, Bahia Marina and Buck’s Place. You can also purchase one online at: https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal .

All agents went to a class in Salisbury to learn the new system. More than occasionally, we have to call Salisbury to get help. Anglers at home often have trouble figuring out how to use the new site, so here’s some pointers. The process isn’t hard, but it is tedious. It’s important that you pay attention to any field that has a little arrow next to it, as it may be a drop down box.  Note that the “Last Name” field is listed first and the “First Name” field is second. “Identification Number” means Driver’s License number and “Tax ID Type” and “Tax ID Number” usually means Social Security number.

Once logged on to the Compass system it says that it is easy to use, but many people don’t know where to start. I think the state should have more instructions on the home page, but they don’t. So….

Start by clicking on “Log In”, and under that you will see three dark green rectangles that say: “Use my Login and Password”, “Use Identification and Date of Birth” or “I’ve Never Purchased a License from DNR”. If you’re not sure, try “Use Identification and Date of Birth”. Click on the little arrow to the right of the “Unique Id Type” box. This will give you a drop down screen where you can choose the type of identification number you will give. If you’ve ever had a hunting license, freshwater license, or saltwater license for Maryland or the Chesapeake Bay, you may be in the data base already. (Hint - I’ve had customers think they’ve never had a license in the past, but they have! If you try to enroll as a new customer and you have had a license in the past you will get an error.)

Fill out all the fields and you will be directed back to the Home Page. Many of the screens have little drop down boxes so be aware of them. They will turn “green” and you need to click on the little green boxes to make your choices.

Next, under “Services”, select “Purchase New License” and click on the license or licenses you. Go to the top of the screen and click the red box to add the licenses to your cart. The license you want for fishing in Ocean City is “Bay and Coastal Fishing.” The “Non-tidal” licenses are for freshwater fishing. Don’t mess with any of those!

If you get confused go to the very top right corner of the screen and click on the “Help” button. Then select “New COMPASS Customer Tutorial”

The cost for the “Bay & Coastal licenses are:

Non-resident $22.50
Resident under 65 $15.00
Older than 65 $5.00

If you have a boat and get a lot of company you can buy a “Bay and Coastal Fishing Boat” license for 50.00. You will receive a sticker for your boat so everyone on the boat can fish for free. However, everyone on the boat that is 16-years or older needs to have a “2012 Saltwater Angler Registration”. This registration is at the bottom of the same section as the Sport Fishing licences. You can also get registered through a toll free number 1-855-855-3906 which operates from 7 A.M. until 7 P.M. This number gets jammed up on weekends and holidays, so try to do it in advance during the week. This number is also a “help number” if you have trouble doing your license online.

“What if I’ve never had a license before?”

Then you need to click on the second green rectangle. “I’ve Never Purchased a License from DNR”, or click on the main “Enroll” square on the Home Page. For security reasons, the site asks you to make a password that will be sent to your e-mail. You have to click the link in the e-mail and go back into the Compass system. I think this is a little extreme personally, but this is the way it is set up. Being an agent, I’ve actually never seen this part of it, so just follow the instructions.

“How do I do my Free Registration online?”

Go to the Compass site and proceed just like you were buying a fishing license. Then there’s two ways to do it. You can click “Purchase New License” and the free “2012 Saltwater Angler Registration” is at the very end of the list with a price of zero, or after you fill out all your information and are sent back to the Home Page, you can click on “Obtain Saltwater Registration” under the “Services” section. Click on “Maryland Saltwater Angler Registry”. You will see two boxes on the right with a header that reads, “I intend to fish in:” Choose “Yes” for Maryland and choose “No” for Potomac River and click “Register” to print your free registry.

“Why do we have to do this!!!!”

The reason is so we get a true count on real fishermen. This helps the state with determining catch counts and helps to keep our size and creel limits at a reasonable rate. It helped us last year to get the minimum size of flounder down to 17-inches.

Suffer through the process and in the long run it will be a good thing. Since your friends and relatives can fish for free, they still need to be counted and available for a phone survey. If we didn’t have the boat license as an option, everyone would have to pay for a license. So even though it’s a pain, at least it is free.

Now, the good thing about all this filling out forms online and standing in line in the tackle stores to get a license or free registration is that, once you fill out the forms online and get your license or free registration you get a DNRid number. Once you get this number, save it and next year when you get your license or free registration, all you have to do is log in on the Compass site, click on “Use Your ID and Date of Birth” and punch in your DNRid number. Then under “Services” you can purchase a License or obtain your free registration!

“I went to the tackle store last week and bought a license and I lost it.”

You can re-print it from the new Compass site! If the tackle store was on the brand new system, go to the Compass site and log in. Click on that dark green rectangle that says: “Use Identification and Date of Birth”. Type in your DNRid number or click on the little arrow on the right side of the “Unique Id Type” box. A drop down box will appear where you can choose to type in your social security number or driver’s license number. You will then be directed to the home page where you will see “MY LICENSES” and you will see “View Licenses” or “Reprint License”. at either place you can re-print your license. If you got your license recently, go into the Compass system and see for yourself just for fun.

One final suggestion. I was talking to Officer Frost this week and he said that many anglers are cutting out the DNRid number and logo parts of their license, and throwing away the rest. Look carefully at the dotted line that says “cut here.” The whole top part of the page is your license. The bottom part is for your reference.

As my brother always says about things he doesn’t like to do but must: “You got to do what you got to do…”

Good fishing…

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 10:18