The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced free fishing days for this year. Those dates are June 4, 11 and July 4. That means you don't need a license or trout stamp to fish recreationally in the state's waters. It's a great way to introduce a friend to the sport.
This weekend also offers a chance to fish for free to the north. Pennsylvania has two fish for free days, this Sunday and again on July 4.
To me, these are also great opportunities for anglers from both states to try out new waters and fish places they normally wouldn't think of fishing. Which leads me to this: while there is some limited reciprocity between the two states (on the Susquehanna River and the Youghiogheny River) anglers from either state are required to purchase an out-of-state permit to otherwise fish an area that may only be a half-hour to an hour away. So unless you're willing to drop $26 - $53 on an extra license you're missing out on some great angling opportunities.
My dad and I were talking about this last week. We live close enough to the state line to make fishing in both states a viable option but it's a bit cost prohibitive for the licenses. Shooting from the hip, I told him if they did a hybrid license, one that say cost $50 for a regular freshwater license and $56 - $60 for one with a trout stamp that allowed an angler to fish both states I'd jump on it.
The respective state agencies could split the fee and use it for water conservation projects, marketing, etc. and potentially boost tourist dollars in both states with anglers looking to grab lunch or hit up the local tackle shop or fly fishing outfitter to learn what the fish are eating.
Think about it, with one license you could do a Mason-Dixon Trout Trail. You would start your morning fishing the cold, clear waters of the Gunpowder Falls then take a 90 minute drive north, grab lunch, and fish the storied limestone waters of the Yellow Breeches in the afternoon. Sounds like a pretty great way to spend a day any time of the year to me. I'm just curious if anyone else would jump on board.
* Jeff Herman is the assistant news director at WMAR | ABC2. His main passion while not at work is fishing. This column is part of a series of columns he writes for our outdoors page. You can read more of his columns here. Follow him on Twitter @JeffABC2News and @TightLinesABC2