fishing license virginia

Fishing License Virginia 2024

2024 Virginia Fishing License

In Virginia, obtaining a trout fishing license is necessary for anyone aged 16 and older who wants to fish for trout in designated stocked waters. The license is valid from January 1 to December 31 of each year and can be purchased online through the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) website or at various retail outlets across the state. Anglers can choose between resident and non-resident licenses, with discounted rates available for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Additionally, there are specific trout fishing regulations and creel limits that anglers must adhere to, such as size limits, catch-and-release areas, and designated trout waters, which are carefully managed to ensure sustainable fishing opportunities for all enthusiasts. To view these regulations, be sure to go to the 2024 Virginia Freshwater Fishing Regulations guide for more specific and up-to-date information.


Freshwater County/City  Annual*

Freshwater State Annual*

State Fresh/

Saltwater Annual*

Trout Fishing 

Oct.1 – June 15

National Forest Permit**













*License valid for one year from the date of purchase.

**Required for all persons fishing on National Forest lands with some exceptions. See the Freshwater Fishing Regulations guide.

fishing license virginia


Virginia Fishing Licenses:

Fishing in Virginia offers a diverse range of experiences, from coastal stripers to mountain trout, drawing enthusiasts from near and far. However, before you cast your line into Virginia’s waters, it’s essential to understand the state’s fishing license requirements, residency qualifications, exceptions, and where to obtain your license. Let’s dive into the details.

Fishing License Requirements and Residency Qualifications

First and foremost, anyone required to have a fishing license in Virginia must carry it with them at all times and present it upon request by enforcement officers or landowners. Residency qualifications determine whether you’re eligible for a state, city, or county resident license. State resident licenses are available to individuals who have been domiciliary residents of Virginia for two or more months prior to purchasing a license. Members of the U.S. armed forces, their spouses, and dependents stationed in Virginia are also eligible for state resident licenses.

City or county resident licenses are available to those who have been bona fide residents of the respective city or county for six months prior to purchase. This includes U.S. citizens, legal voters, residents of a city within the county, and students enrolled in Virginia schools.


fishing license virginia


Exceptions to Licensing Requirements

While most anglers need a license to fish in Virginia, there are exceptions. Residents under 16 years old, resident landowners and their immediate family, tenants on rented land with written permission, guests fishing in private ponds, nonresident children under 16, legally blind persons, and certain Native American individuals residing on reservations or Virginia-recognized tribes are exempt from fishing license requirements.

Additionally, residents 65 years or older are exempt from saltwater license requirements but must comply with the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP). Active-duty military members on leave, individuals aiding disabled license holders, and stockholders of certain land-owning corporations also qualify for exemptions.

Obtaining Your Fishing License

Securing your fishing license in Virginia is convenient and accessible. You can obtain one online through the Go Outdoors Virginia platform. New customers need to create a unique customer account, while existing customers can log in using their details. Alternatively, licenses are available in person at select clerks of the Circuit Court, license agents across the state, and the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) headquarters. Phone and mobile options are also available for license purchases.

Understanding License Fees

License fees vary depending on residency status and duration. Resident and nonresident licenses are typically valid for one year from the date of purchase unless stated otherwise. It’s worth noting that Virginia offers Free Fishing Days annually, during which no fishing license is required for recreational rod and reel fishing. This initiative aims to encourage more people to experience the joys of fishing in the state.

Reciprocal License Agreements

Virginia has reciprocal license agreements with neighboring states for certain water bodies, allowing anglers with valid licenses from Virginia or the reciprocal state to fish across borders. These agreements enhance angling opportunities and promote interstate cooperation in fisheries management.

In Conclusion

Fishing in Virginia is a cherished pastime enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. By understanding the state’s fishing license requirements, residency qualifications, exceptions, and where to obtain your license, you can ensure a smooth and legal fishing experience. Whether you’re casting a line on Free Fishing Days or exploring Virginia’s diverse waterways year-round, remember to respect regulations, conserve resources, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors responsibly.

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