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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / Activities / Fishing in Montgomery Parks / Before You Go Fishing

Before You Go Fishing

Review Rules & Regulations

All angling activities in Montgomery Parks must follow Maryland State Fishing Regulations for Inland Waters. Stay current by routinely checking for the most up-to-date Maryland Fishing Information and changes to Maryland Fishing Regulations. 

Anglers ages 16 and older must possess a valid Maryland Fishing License, which can be obtained online through Maryland Department of Natural Resources COMPASS or in person at several local sporting goods stores. Options are available to both Maryland residents and non-residents for either short-term or annual licenses. Make sure you have a paper or electronic copy of your license (via phone or another device) AND a photo ID with you while fishing. 

Open season as well as limits on minimum lengths and counts (creel limits) are important for the conservation of fish populations for anglers of all generations to enjoy. Catch-and-release fishing is strongly encouraged throughout Montgomery Parks, and put-and-take regulations apply for trout stocked in lakes and streams. 

Familiarize yourself with individual park rules and regulations and obey all posted signage.  

Unless otherwise posted, fishing is permissible on Park Property subject to compliance with the angler’s licensing and other requirements set forth in Md. Code, Nat. Res. Title 4, as amended from time to time, or in any other applicable local, state, or federal law. 

Visit Montgomery Parks Rules and Regulations for more information.  

Be Aware of Prohibited Activities & Penalties 

Releasing, Harming, & Harvesting Wildlife 

It is ILLEGAL to introduce aquatic species and release live bait in Maryland. This includes unwanted pets and wildlife moved from one area to another.  

Per Montgomery Park Rules and Regulations (Chapter IV, Section 18): 

  • (D) “No person shall abandon or release any animal, whether domestic or wild, anywhere on or about Park Property”  
  • (F) “No person shall catch, injure, destroy, or interfere in any way with wildlife on Park Property” 

Avoid intentional hooking or harm to other animals, including collection of reptiles, amphibians, and minnows for bait.  

Pets must be leashed and are not permitted to interact with, or otherwise harass, wildlife.  

Capture Methods 

Montgomery Parks’ aquatic resources are designated for recreational angling only. The use of cast nets, seine nets, fyke nets, and eel traps for landing fish, as well as harvesting for commercial purposes, is prohibited. The use of traps, electrofishing, or other restraint and collection methods requires an Aquatic Scientific Collection Permit from the State of Maryland and written permission from the Aquatic Ecology Unit of the Park Planning & Stewardship Division 


Bowfishing is not authorized anywhere in Montgomery Parks.  

Per Montgomery Park Rules and Regulations (Chapter IV, Section 15): “No person shall carry, possess, or discharge a bow and arrow, dart, firearm, ammunition for a firearm, knife with a blade longer than three (3) inches, or any other dangerous weapon on Park Property except where authorized in designated areas by Park Directive.” 

Ice Fishing 

Ice fishing presents a safety concern and is not permitted in Montgomery Parks.  

Refer to Montgomery Park Rules and Regulations (Chapter V, Section 16) for additional information about permissible winter activities. 


Swimming, wading, and other water sports in streams, pond, lakes and rivers are permissible only in areas authorized by Park Directive and posted accordingly (Montgomery Parks Rules and Regulations (Chapter V, Sections 15 & 16)) 

Fishing may take place from the shoreline and by boat in designated locations and unless otherwise posted. Review Where to Go and Montgomery Parks Boating in advance as you plan your next outing.   


Per Montgomery Park Rules and Regulations (Chapter VIII, Section 1): A violation of regulations may result in administrative action including, but not limited to, a verbal or written warning, revocation or suspension of a permit, and suspension of future admission as well as fees and civil penalties.  

In addition to any administrative or civil action, penalty, or liability taken or imposed for a violation of these Regulations, any person who commits a misdemeanor or felony on Park Property is subject to arrest, prosecution and, upon conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction, punishment as provided by applicable local, state, or federal laws. 

M-NCPPC Park Police are essential for ensuring the safety of Montgomery Parks and for protecting natural resources, which includes fishing regulation and park rule enforcement.  

To contact Park Police, call 301-949-8010. In the event of an emergency, call 911.