What’s New for 2021
More details can be found in sections that follow this summary.
License Information & Fees
- Beginning January 1, 2021, any person using a Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR)-owned or managed facility or boating access site must have a valid hunting, trapping, or freshwater fishing license, a Restore the Wild membership, an access permit or current certificate of boat registration issued by the Department to use the facility. This does not apply to persons under the age of 17 or passengers in a boat with a permitted operator. The operator must have a permit.
Creel (Harvest) and Length Limits
- Flannagan Reservoir – No smallmouth bass less than 15”.
- North Fork, South Fork, and mainstem Shenandoah River – No largemouth or smallmouth bass 11-14”.
- No size or possession limits statewide, on spotted and Alabama bass, except South Holston Reservoir, which has a 15 spotted bass possession limit.
- New River upstream of Buck Dam in Carroll County and the New River downstream from Claytor Dam – Statewide walleye regulations now apply.
- Claytor Lake and the New River upstream of Claytor Lake Dam to Buck Dam in Carroll County – No walleye 19-28”, 2 walleye per day.
- Lake Gaston – No white bass less than 14”, 10 white bass per day.
- All coastal rivers of the Chesapeake Bay, below the fall line – No yellow perch less than 9”.
- Rappahannock River and its tributaries below the fall line – No daily limit on blue catfish, except only one per day longer than 32”
- A trout license is not required to fish designated stocked trout waters during Free Fishing Days, June 4-6, 2021. A permit is still required to fish at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek and Douthat State Park Fee Fishing Areas.
- Hearthstone Lake (Augusta Co.) will be stocked in spring 2021.
- The Delayed Harvest section of Passage Creek (Warren Co.) will be closed (not stocked) due to construction at the Front Royal Fish Hatchery.
- The Delayed Harvest section on the Hardware River WMA (Fluvanna Co.) and Peak Creek (Pulaski Co.) have been removed from the stocking program.
- Two new stream sections have been added to the Delayed Harvest Program, Hardy Creek (Lee Co.) and Piney River (Nelson/Amherst Co.)
- Sections of Green Cove Creek (Washington Co.), Snake Creek (Carroll Co.), Smith Creek (Alleghany Co.), and Whitetop Laurel Creek (Washington Co.) have been changed from 12-inch minimum size to Catch and Release.
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 Record Freshwater Fish.
Online Angler Recognition Program
- The angler recognition program is now online. Mail-in trophy fish applications will no longer be accepted and trophy fish certificates will no longer be mailed. Anglers can apply online and print their citations at home through Go Outdoors Virginia at www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com/
- New species were 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 page 55.