Did you know both Maryland and Virginia have fishing tackle loaner programs?

fishing tackle loaner programs
The goal of Tackle Loaner Programs is to make recreational fishing as easy and accessible as possible. FishTalk captured this shot of Joel and Bob fishing on Mattawoman Creek.

Maryland Fishing Tackle Loaner Program

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has made fishing equipment available to borrow for free at multiple sites across the state. Maryland’s Tackle Loaner Program is available to individuals, families, or to groups, depending on the site.

This free program aims to encourage novice anglers and their families to continue to develop their angling skills in the Maryland outdoors. The department welcomes all ages and families that may be camping, hiking, or using parks for other outdoor recreational activities to borrow equipment too. The goal is to make recreational fishing as easy and accessible as possible for anyone wanting to enjoy the sport.

You will need your own bait, but basic spincast reel and rod setups with bobber, split shot sinker, swivel, and circle hook are available. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Find a site near you. Loaning sites include public libraries, state parks, nature centers, and local parks.
  • Check out your loaned gear at the selected site. Individual sites may have different check-out policies; please communicate with the site to make sure you are following proper procedure.
  • Go fishing!!
  • Return gear to the site on the agreed-upon date (some can be loaned for multiple days at a time). Consider calling ahead to check that gear is available, as some sites are busier than others.

Be sure to read up on Maryland fishing licensing rules on the MD DNR website. Individuals under the age of 16 are not required to obtain a license to fish. For a list of loaner sites around the state, MD DNR's Tackle Loaner program websie. Some sites, such as public libraries, allow you to reserve a fishing rod online. The Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library and several of the Anne Arundel County public libraries allow you to place a hold within the library catalog. 

Virginia Fishing Tackle Loaner Program

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) also provides loaner fishing tackle at no charge to groups and individuals who are involved in fishing programs or just going fishing for fun. It is easy and free! Just contact the Tackle Loaner Location nearest you, reserve the equipment you need, pick it up before your fishing event or trip, and return when finished.

Rod and reel combos, tackle boxes with hooks, split shot, and bobbers are available at all locations.

For a list of Virginia Tackle Loaner Locations, visit the DWR website