Fish for free during Maryland's license-free summer campaign.

Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in Maryland. The state's vast system of lakes, rivers, bay, and ocean areas make it a great place to experience everything from crabbing to fly fishing. Blue crabs, trout, and rockfish are just a few of the species popular with seafood lovers in Maryland.

Unfortunately, you have to navigate a complicated system of fishing licenses before you can throw out your hook. This summer, however, the state is making fishing a little less complicated with license-free fishing days.

Kids crabbing at Old Ferry Landing, courtesy NPS.gov

Kids crabbing at Old Ferry Landing, courtesy NPS.gov

In an effort to promote fishing to local residents, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources holds license-free fishing days for three days during the summer. The free fishing days for 2019 are Saturday, June 1, Saturday, June 8, and Thursday, July 4, Independence Day. This annual event gives people a chance to experience the fun of recreational fishing without worrying about buying licenses and stamps.

“We are lucky to live in a state where you can fish in fresh, brackish, and salt water — often all in the same day if you want,” Recreational Fishing Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz said. “This opportunity allows recreational anglers to try their hand at something new before committing to a license.”

All fishermen still need to follow all of the rules and regulations pertaining to fishing, species size, and catch limits. Maryland Fishing and Crabbing has an extensive downloadable guide to help novice and experienced fishermen tackle the rules. The guide will also tell you which fish you are allowed to take home based on the season.

If you miss the free days, Maryland also has a limited number of license-free fishing areas in each county. If these areas are in tidal locations, you will still need to get a free online Maryland Saltwater Angler Registration.

Have you tried fishing or crabbing on your own? Did you catch anything? Tell us in the comments!