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License Fees

Fishing Regulations Virginia Freshwater Fishing

Resident Fees

Licenses

Fee

Sportsman’s License (16 years or older)

$133.00

Includes hunting license, bear license, deer/turkey license (valid July 1–June 30), archery license, muzzleloader license, freshwater fishing license and trout license
County/City Resident Freshwater Fishing*

$16.00

(For county or city of residence only)
Resident State Freshwater Fishing* (age 16 and older)

$23.00

Resident Freshwater Fishing License* (age 16 and older)
1-year license

$23.00

2-year license

$44.00

3-year license

$65.00

4-year license

$86.00

Resident State Fresh/Saltwater Fishing*

$39.50

South Holston Reservoir Fishing License

$21.00

Allows fishing in both Tennessee and Virginia waters of South Holston Reservoir upstream of the dam. A valid resident fishing license is also required.
Resident 5-Day Freshwater Fishing

$14.00

(5 consecutive days) Not valid in designated stocked trout waters
Resident 5-Day Fresh/Saltwater Fishing

$24.00

(5 consecutive days) Not valid in designated stocked trout waters
Resident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing

$126.00

Resident 65 and Over Annual Freshwater Fishing*

$9.00

Special Resident Annual Fishing License for Partially Disabled Veterans

$12.00

Resident veterans rated and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having at least 70 percent service-connected disability upon certification. All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this license.
Resident Trout Fishing (October 1–June 15)

$23.00

Required in addition to other resident licenses if fishing in stocked waters.
Resident Legacy Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License

$125.00

Must be purchased before age 2. Can be purchased in person at the Richmond office or via a mail-in application.
Application available online or by calling 1-866-721-6911.
Resident Lifetime Freshwater Fish*
(A valid trout fishing license is also required to fish in stocked trout waters.)
Age up to age 44

$260.00

Age 45-50

$210.00

Age 51-55

$160.00

Age 56-60

$110.00

Age 61-64

$60.00

Age 65 and over

$20.00

Resident Lifetime Trout Fishing
(A valid resident fishing license is also required.)
Age up to age 44

$260.00

Age 45-50

$210.00

Age 51-55

$160.00

Age 56-60

$110.00

Age 61-64

$60.00

Age 65 and over

$20.00

Service-connected Totally and Permanently Disabled Veteran Resident Lifetime License*

No charge

To freshwater fish and/or hunt. A valid trout fishing license is also required to fish in stocked trout waters.
Totally and Permanently Disabled Resident Special Fishing Lifetime License

$15.00

All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this fishing license.

Fishing licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Where to get a License

Online:

www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com. Select the license(s), pay with your VISA or MasterCard, and print your license(s) after you pay.

In Person:

Choose from hundreds of license agents across the state. Sold by some clerks of the Circuit Court. For listing go to www.dgif.virginia.gov/licenses. Not sold at Department regional offices.

By Phone:

1-866-721-6911 during regular business hours.

Nonresident Fees

Licenses

Fee

Nonresident State Freshwater Fishing** (age 12 or older)

$47.00

Nonresident State Fresh/Saltwater Fishing**

$71.00

Nonresident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing**

$8.00

Nonresident 5-Day Freshwater Fishing**

$21.00

(5 consecutive days)
Nonresident 5-Day Fresh/Saltwater Fishing**

$31.00

(5 consecutive days)
Nonresident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing

$201.00

Special Nonresident Annual Fishing License for Partially Disabled Veterans

$24.00

Resident veterans rated and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having at least 70 percent service-connected disability upon certification. All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this license.
Service-connected Totally and Permanently Disabled Nonresident Veteran Annual Fishing License

$12.50

For nonresident veterans rated and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having a total and permanent disability that is service connected. All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this fishing license.
Nonresident Trout Fishing (October 1–June 15)

$47.00

Required in addition to other nonresident licenses if fishing in stocked waters.
Nonresident Legacy Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License

$250.00

Must be purchased before age 2. Can be purchased in person at the Richmond office or via a mail-in application. Application available online or by calling 1-866-721-6911.
Nonresident Lifetime Freshwater Fishing**

$555.00

Nonresident Lifetime Trout Fishing

$555.00

To fish in designated stocked trout waters, a valid nonresident fishing license is also required. See below for more details.

Miscellaneous Fees

Licenses

Fee

Daily Permit Required at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, and Douthat State Park Fee Fishing Areas

$8.00

Required in addition to regular resident, resident 5-day license, nonresident, or nonresident 1-day or 5 day license.
National Forest Permit

$4.00

For fishing in the National Forest. This permit is required in addition to other fishing licenses (exceptions: residents under 16 and over 65, nonresidents under 12 except when fishing in designated stocked trout waters). Valid for one year from date of purchase.
Virginia State Forest Use Permit

$16.00

Allows hunting, trapping, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding. No motorized vehicles on gated roads/trails (open or closed). Sold in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Access Permit

$4.00 per day or $23.00 per year

County Dip Net Permit

$4.50

To take shad, herring, and mullet. River herring and American shad may not be harvested from tidal waters.

 

Additional Fishing License Information

Legacy Fishing or Hunting Licenses

  • Issued only to an individual who is younger than two years of age and is valid for the lifetime of the license holder regardless of any change in that person’s status as a resident or nonresident.
  • Legacy hunting license is valid until the individual’s 12th birthday. Upon proof of completion of a hunter education course or equivalent, this license is transferable to a lifetime hunting license at no additional charge.
  • The Legacy fishing or hunting license is available by application through the Richmond office or by mail. The cost is $125.00 for resident children and $250.00 for nonresident children.

Lifetime Licenses and Special Annual Veterans Licenses

Resident and nonresident lifetime licenses and special annual resident and nonresident veterans licenses are purchased by an application and require supporting documentation of age, resi­dency, and/or disability. They are issued only through the Richmond office. Retail license agents cannot issue these licenses. Applications can be submitted in person at the Richmond office or mailed in. License applications can be found on the Department’s website at www.dgif.virginia.gov/licenses/lifetime or by calling 1-866-721-6911.

Tidal Boat License

The tidal boat license is available to any boat owner, resident and nonresident. The license is a special combined sport­fishing license that gives the boat owner a license to fish in saltwater and freshwater within Virginia.The license also covers all passengers on board the owner’s boat when fishing in Virginia tidal (to river Fall Lines) waters and saltwater only when the registered boat owner is present. There are no decals issued under this license and the VMRC Fisherman Identification Program rules apply for passengers fishing in saltwater under this tidal boat license; www.mrc.virginia.gov/regulations/recfishh&l_licensing.shtm.

National Forest Permit

All persons required to have a license (exceptions: residents under 16 and over 65, and nonresidents under 12 except when fishing in designated stocked trout waters) are required to have a National Forest Permit when fishing on National Forest lands except on the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River, the James River, Skidmore Lake in Rockingham County, North Fork Pound Reservoir, Lake Moomaw, the Jackson River below Gathright Dam, and in Wilson Creek below Douthat Lake in Alleghany and Bath counties.

State Forest Use Permit

Required for those persons aged 16 or older to practice the following activities on a state forest: hunting, trapping, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding. No motorized vehicles on gated roads/trails (open or closed). The Forest Use Permit is not required for forest visitors who practice the following activities on a state forest: walking, hiking, or boating. Sold in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Access Permit

An Access Permit is required when using any Department-owned wildlife management area or fishing lake. Such permit shall not be required for any person holding a valid hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license or a current certificate of boat registration issued by the Department or persons 16 years of age or younger. The Access Permit requirement does not apply to Department-owned boat ramps or segments of the Appalachian Trail on Department-owned land. The permit fee is $4 for a daily permit or $23 for an annual permit and may be purchased online or at any license agent.

Replacement License

If you purchased a license from a retail license agent, such as a sporting goods store, you can request a replacement at any retail license agent.

If you purchased a license online, by phone, or from the Richmond office you will need to request a replacement by calling toll-free at 1-866-721-6911 during regular business hours.

Freshwater/Saltwater License Lines on Tidal Waters

Persons fishing upstream of the designated lines on the following waters must have a valid freshwater fishing license, while those fishing below the lines must have a valid saltwater fishing license:

  • Elizabeth River: The Great Bridge Locks
  • James River: A line connecting Hog Point on Hog Island (Surry County) and the downstream point of the mouth of College Creek (James City County)
  • Piankatank River/Dragon Run: The first set of power lines immediately upriver of Anderson Point
  • Potomac River*: Rt. 301 Bridge
  • Rappahannock River: Rt. 360 Bridge
  • York River System (including the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers): Rt. 33 Bridges.

Below these designated lines a freshwater or saltwater license will be valid on any tidal portion of any tributary entering the above mainstem waters.

The following waters are entirely freshwater and require a freshwater fishing license throughout: Meherrin River; Nottoway River; Blackwater River (Chowan drainage); Back Bay, Northwest River, and North Landing River and Intracoastal Waterway upstream to Great Bridge Locks; and Dismal Swamp Canal below (or south) of Deep Creek Locks.

* See reciprocal license section.

Fall Line

The Fall Line is defined as the following landmarks:

Appomattox:

The remnants of Harvell Dam approx. 0.5 mi upstream of Rt. 1

Chickahominy River:

Walkers Dam

James River (Richmond):

14th Street Bridge (Mayo Bridge)

Mattaponi River:

Rt. 360 Bridge

Pamunkey River:

Rt. 360 Bridge

Potomac River:

Little Falls

Occoquan River:

I-95 Bridge

Rappahannock River:

Rt. 1 Bridge

Reciprocal Licenses

All reciprocal license agreements listed below refer to both boat and bank anglers.

Buggs Island (Kerr) and Gaston

Virginia or North Carolina state fishing licenses and permits are honored on those waters lying east of Union Street Dam on the Dan River in Virginia and the mouth of Difficult Creek on the Staunton River of Kerr Reservoir to the Gaston Dam on the Roanoke River, including all tributary waters accessible by boat from the main bodies of the reservoirs, or from the Island Creek subimpoundment. Note: North Carolina regulations apply on North Carolina portions of these waters. Virginia regulations apply in Virginia waters.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Virginia and North Carolina licenses are honored on all Parkway waters. Note: Virginia regulations apply in Parkway waters in Virginia except where noted herein or in federal regulations.

New River

Virginia or North Carolina state fishing licenses and permits are honored on the mainstream portion lying between the confluence of the North and South Forks of the New River in North Carolina (Alleghany County) downstream to the confluence of the New and Little rivers in Virginia (Grayson County).

Potomac River

Virginia has reciprocal license agreements for three sections of the Potomac River, one above the District of Columbia and two below the District of Columbia. License requirements are different for these sections.

  • Upper Potomac River [above Little Falls (upper border with the District of Columbia) to the West Virginia border/state line]: Resident anglers with state freshwater licenses in Virginia or Maryland may fish the Potomac River and from both banks.
  • Middle Potomac and its Tidal Freshwater Tributaries (between Woodrow Wilson Bridge and Rt. 301): Valid Virginia freshwater and saltwater (excluding county licenses), Potomac River Fisheries Commission, and Maryland Bay sport licenses are all honored on the mainstem Potomac and Maryland tributaries up to the demarcation lines (see below); all of these same licenses, except the Virginia saltwater licenses, are honored on the Virginia tributaries up to demarcation lines (see below):

Virginia tributaries up to the following demarcation lines:

  • Accotink Creek: Rt. 1 Bridge
  • Aquia Creek: First bridge above Aquia Harbor Marina
  • Chopawansic: Rt. 1 Bridge
  • Choptank: Causeway
  • Dougue Creek: Rt. 235, Mt. Vernon Memorial Parkway
  • Four Mile Run: Rt. 1 Bridge
  • Hunting Creek: Rt. 1 Bridge
  • Little Hunting Creek: Rt. 1 Bridge
  • Neabsco: Rt. 1 Bridge
  • Occoquan River: Fall Line
  • Pohick Creek: Rt. 611 (Colchester Road)
  • Potomac Creek: Rt. 608 Bridge
  • Powells Creek: Rt. 1 Bridge
  • Quantico Creek: Rt. 1 Bridge

Unnamed bays and tributaries accessible by gas-powered boats

Maryland tributaries up to the following demarcation lines:

  • Anacostia River: downstream of Northeast Branch Bridge at northbound lane of Alternate Rt. 1 Bladensburg Road, and Northwest Branch Bridge at southbound lane of Rhode Island Avenue
  • Piscataway Creek: Downstream of Rt. 224 Bridge (Livingston Rd.)
  • Henson Run: Downstream of Oxon Hill Road Bridge
  • Nanjemoy Creek: Downstream of Rt. 6 (Trappe) Bridge
  • Port Tobacco Creek: Downsteam of Rt. 6 Bridge
  • Mattawoman Creek: Downstream of Rt. 225 Bridge

Unnamed bays and tributaries accessible by gas-powered boats

  • Lower Potomac River (between its mouth and the Rt. 301 Bridge): Valid Virginia saltwater (excluding County licenses), Maryland Bay sport, or Potomac River Fisheries Commission licenses are honored in the main stem. In Virginia tributaries below 301, Virginia fresh­water and saltwater, and Potomac River Fisheries Commission licenses are honored.

Note: Maryland regulations apply for the Upper Potomac River and the Maryland Potomac River tributaries (call 1-800-688-3467 for current Maryland regulations).

Note: Potomac River Fisheries Commission regulations are enforced in the Potomac mainstem between the lower District of Columbia border and the mouth of the Potomac (call 1-804-224-7148 or 1-800-266-3904 for current PRFC regulations or http://prfc.us/fishing_potomac.html).

Waters between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and Little Falls are controlled by D.C., and a D.C. fishing license is required.

South Holston Reservoir

Any person possessing a valid Tennessee or Virginia resident freshwater fishing license, or who is legally exempt from those license requirements, and possessing the South Holston Reservoir License may fish in the Tennessee and Virginia impounded waters of South Holston Reservoir. Virginia residents fishing in South Holston Lake in Tennessee must have a Virginia resident license and South Holston Reservoir Permit (or Tennessee nonresident fishing license); under the age of 13—no license or permit required. The annual cost of the South Holston License is currently $21. The South Holston License is valid in all impounded portions of the reservoir below full pool elevation of 1,730 feet, including the confluence of the Middle Fork and South Fork Holston rivers and the South Fork Holston River upstream to the Route 710 Bridge at Alvarado, Virginia. The South Holston License is not valid for possession of trout.

A valid resident Tennessee trout fishing license or a valid resident Virginia trout fishing license is required to fish for trout and to possess trout on South Holston Reservoir. All anglers shall abide by the laws of the state in which they are fishing as to manner and means of taking fish. Size restrictions and creel limits shall be as follows:

Species Restrictions Creel (Harvest) Limit
Black bass No smallmouth less than 15 inches

5 per day

Spotted bass

15 per day

Walleye No walleye less than 18 inches

5 per day

Crappie No crappie less than 10 inches

15 per day

Trout No minimum size–only 2 lake trout per day

7 per day

White bass No harvest–all white bass must be released
Catfish Only 1 catfish over 34 inches

20 per day

Bluegill No minimum size

50 per day

Rock bass No minimum size

20 per day

Trotlines* 100 hooks per angler
Jugs*

50 per angler

Limb-lines*

15 per angler

*All trotlines, limb-lines, and jugs must be tagged with angler’s name/address or license number.