Virginia fishing guide

Welcome to your key source for all fishing-related information in Virginia. Discover not only the prime fishing spots but also learn about the diverse species inhabiting these waters. Stay informed about the latest fishing regulations and licensing requirements for fishing in Virginia

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18 waterbodies
31 cities
77 fish

Licenses for fishing in Virginia

For the most accurate and detailed information, it's best to visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website where you can also purchase a fishing license online.

Category License Type Resident Price Non-Resident Price
Freshwater Fishing Annual $23.00 $47.00
  2-Year $44.00 -
  3-Year $65.00 -
  4-Year $86.00 -
  5-Day $14.00 $21.00
Saltwater Fishing Annual $17.50 $25.00
  10-Day $10.00 $10.00
Fresh/Saltwater Fishing Annual $39.50 $71.00
  5-Day $24.00 $31.00
Specialty Fishing South Holston Reservoir $21.00 -
  Resident 65 and Over Annual Freshwater $9.00 -
  Trout Fishing (October 1–June 15) $23.00 $23.00
Tidal Boat Sport Fishing - $126.00 $201.00
Miscellaneous Permits National Forest Permit $4.00 $4.00
  Virginia State Forest Use Permit $16.00 $16.00
  County Dip Net Permit $4.50 $4.50
  Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) Permit $18.00 $18.00

Fishing Regulations in Virginia

Prohibited Gear and Fishing Methods
  • Use of explosives, poisons, or electrical devices for fishing is illegal.
  • Fishing with nets, traps, or seines is restricted to specific permits and designated areas.
  • Use of live fish as bait is limited in certain waters to prevent the spread of invasive species.
  • Snagging fish is not allowed except in designated areas during specific seasons.
  • Spearing and bowfishing are permitted for certain species in specified waters.
Catch Limits
  • Trout: Daily limit varies by area, typically 6 fish with size restrictions in some waters.
  • Bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth): Daily limit of 5, with size limits varying by water body.
  • Walleye: Daily limit of 5, with size restrictions in some waters.
  • Crappie: Daily limit of 25, no size limit.
  • Catfish: Daily limits vary, often no more than 20 fish, with restrictions on larger fish.
  • Striped Bass: Daily limit and size restrictions vary, especially in tidal waters.
  • Panfish (Bluegill, Sunfish): No daily limit, no size limit.
  • Muskellunge: Daily limit of 2, minimum length of 30 inches.
  • Northern Pike: Daily limit of 5, with size restrictions in some waters.
  • Chain Pickerel: Daily limit of 5, no size limit.
Restrictions on Access to Water Bodies
  • Access to some waters may be restricted for environmental conservation or public safety reasons.
  • Fishing on private property requires explicit permission from the landowner.
  • Special regulations for fishing in state parks and wildlife refuges.
  • No fishing zones enforced around certain infrastructures like dams and fish hatcheries.
  • Seasonal access restrictions in certain areas for fish spawning and habitat management.
Zones of Special Regulation
  • Catch-and-release areas for certain species, especially trout and bass.
  • Areas with gear restrictions, such as artificial lures only or fly fishing zones.
  • Slot limits for bass and other species in certain lakes and rivers.
  • Special regulations in waters with high fishing pressure or ecological sensitivity.
  • Trophy fisheries with enhanced size and bag limits in selected areas.
Protection of Rare Species
  • Fishing for endangered or threatened species is strictly prohibited.
  • Special regulations in habitats of rare or sensitive aquatic species.
  • Research fishing for rare species requires special permits.
  • Reporting accidental catches of rare species is important for conservation efforts.
  • Areas with significant ecological value may have additional fishing restrictions.
Seasonal Restrictions
  • Closed seasons for specific species during spawning or migration periods.
  • Ice fishing regulations, including shelter and gear restrictions, during winter months.
  • Seasonal closures in sensitive ecological areas for species protection and habitat restoration.
  • Temporary closures during environmental events or for population studies.
  • Special regulations for early and late fishing seasons in certain areas.

Most popular cities for fishing in Virginia

The largest and most popular fishing cities in Virginia. Cities in Virginia include information on fishing, as well as a map with fishing spots. Explore the cities to know what fish are caught and in which bodies of water.

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Nearby cities (31)
Nearby waterbodies (18)
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