What’s New for 2020

Fishing Regulations Icon Virginia Fishing

More details can be found in sections that follow this summary.

General Information

  • The Sportsman’s License has been reduced from $133.00 to $100.00.
  • Lake Merriweather, a 450-acre impoundment owned by the Boy Scouts and located in Goshen, VA, is now open for public fishing on a seasonal basis. In addition to an appropriate fishing license, a Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) permit is needed to fish this lake.
  • Come visit one of our coldwater hatcheries during our Hatchery Open House on May 30th to learn more about our efforts to raise and stock brook, brown, and rainbow trout across the state.

Creel (Harvest) and Length Limits

  • There are no new creel or length limits for 2020.


  • A trout license is not required to fish designated stocked trout waters during Free Fishing Days, June 5-7, 2020. A permit is still required to fish at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek and Douthat Lake Fee Fishing Areas.
  • Hearthstone Lake (Augusta Co.) will not be stocked in spring 2020.

State Record Fish Program

  • New species will be recognized, including white crappie, black crappie, bluegill sunfish, redear sunfish, saugeye, a category for all other sunfish, and goldfish (archery only). White crappie, bluegill, saugeye, other sunfish, and goldfish categories are currently open until qualifying catches are submitted and approved. For qualifying minimum sizes and program rules, see State Record Freshwater Fish.

Angler Recognition Program

  • Apply online and print your citation at home in 2020 through Go Outdoors Virginia https://www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com/
  • New species have been added to the Angler Recognition Program including black crappie, white crappie, saugeye, fallfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, and other sunfish. For details on minimum lengths and weights see Angler Recognition program.