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What’s New for 2017

Fishing Regulations Virginia Freshwater Fishing

The following regulation changes are new for 2017. More details can be found in sections that follow this summary.

Creel and Length Limits

  • Seasonal slot limit on New River for muskellunge.
  • Creel & length limit changes for catfish, longnose gar, bowfin and American eel.

Non-Native (Exotic Animals)

  • Anglers may legally harvest grass carp from public waters of the commonwealth, except from department-owned or department-controlled lakes.


  • A trout license is not required to fish designated stocked trout waters during Free Fishing Days, June 2-4, 2017.
  • There is a new Youth-only Stocked Trout Program in designated waters.
  • Cook Lake, Hearthstone Lake and Jerry’s Run will not be stocked this year. Bear Creek Reservoir (Wise County) has been added as a Category B water. Big Brumley Creek changed from a Category C to a Category B water.
  • The delayed harvest section of South River is now Catch and Release only. The Reach of South River upstream of Waynesboro changed to 20-inch minimum, 1 fish per day, flyfishing only.
  • Big Moccasin Creek, Indian Creek, and Middle Fork of Powell River have been added to the Delayed Harvest program.

Free Fishing

June 2-4, 2017

A trout license is not required to fish designated stocked trout waters during free fishing days.

For more information:

Angling Education Program

Fishing is such an exciting sport, one that can be enjoyed by all. One of the great things about fishing is that there are no restrictions to participants, regardless of age, gender, or ability; anyone can enjoy fishing and the outdoors! Yet there are so many who have never experienced the thrill of catching a fish!

In an effort to provide opportunities to experience fishing, the DGIF Angling Education Program offers and supports angling workshops and Kids Fishing Days events across the Commonwealth. The Fishing Education in the Schools program (FESP) trains and supplies teachers to teaching fishing in schools, while the Fishing in the Parks (FIP) program trains and supplies parks and youth organizations. The Angling Education Program also offers the Materials Request Program to provide educational fishing materials for events and the Tackle Loaner Program supplies rods, reels, and tackle on loan for individuals and events. To obtain a Materials Request form and locate a Tackle Loaner site near you, go to the DGIF website and click on “Fishing” and then “Fishing Education.”