Get a Virginia Fishing License

Whether you want to fish for freshwater for species like smallmouth bass, trout and sunfish or if you prefer saltwater fishing for ocean sport fish species like cobia, flounder and redfish you will need a license. Check the regulations for seasons, size limits and bag limits.

Get a Virginia Fishing License
Fishing License

Maryland / Virginia / Chesapeake Bay Angler Survey

Please participate in this survey conducted for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD. The study objective is to track how anglers in Maryland, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay area are changing while keeping a long tradition of fishing and boating alive. A vital objective is to find ways to introduce new anglers to the Bay and the outdoors. It should take you no more than 9-12 minutes to complete. For further information please email

Complete the Survey


Since fishing regulations help protect and preserve fish in our state fish populations, every angler must check the current set of regulations before each fishing trip. All states have a different set of regulations and most are updated by the season or by the month.


Imagine what a lake, pond, stream, river or ocean would be like if there were no fishing regulations in place. Fish populations would become depleted or even extinct. Given the pleasure fishing brings to millions of people, we all need to do our part to contribute towards conservation by knowing and understanding the importance of state fishing laws before visiting one of the top fishing spots in Virginia.

Fishing License Requirements
Everyone is required to have a license to fish in Virginia and must have an electronic or printed copy of the license with them while fishing.

Where to Buy
Licenses can be purchased online at Go Outdoors Virginia or purchased in person at some of the Circuit Courts, license agents, and DWR headquarters. Licenses are not sold at DWR regional offices. Find a license agent. Licenses can be purchased by phone during regular business hours by calling (814) 367-1000 or through the Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app.

Resident freshwater licenses are $23 for one year, $44 for two years, $65 for three years and $86 for four years. An annual freshwater fishing permit for those 65 and over is $39.50. A combination freshwater and saltwater license are $39.50 and a saltwater-only license is $17.50. To purchase a license for a county or city of residence only, the fee is $16.

Five-day passes are available for $14 for freshwater and $24 for saltwater. Ten-day fishing passes are available for saltwater only and are $10.

A South Holston Reservoir Fishing License can be purchased for $16 and allows fishing in both Tennessee and Virginia waters of South Holston Reservoir upstream of the dam. A valid resident fishing license is also required. For veterans with a 70% or greater service-connected disability, an annual license is $17.50.

For non-residents 16 and older the licensing fee for freshwater fishing is $16 and $25 for saltwater. A combination freshwater and saltwater license are $71. Shorter-term freshwater licenses are available for one day for $8 and $21 for five days. Saltwater licenses are available for ten days for $10. A five-day combination freshwater and saltwater fishing license are $31.

Trout Fishing
Trout Fishing is available from October 1 through June 15. A resident trout fishing license is required in addition to other resident licenses to fish in stuck trout waters. Licenses are $23 for one year or $555 for a lifetime license.

Tidal Boat License
A Tidal Boat license allows boat owners to fish in freshwater and saltwater. The license also covers all passengers on board when the registered boat owner is present. For residents the license if $126 and it is $201 for non-residents.

Other Licensing Requirements

Daily permits are required at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, and Douthat State Park fee fishing areas in addition to other licensing. The fee is $8. Additional permits are required for State Forest use.

Permits are required to fish in the National Forest along with other required permits with exceptions for those under 16 or over 65 or nonresidents under 16. The fee is $4.

To take shad, herring, or mullet a County Dip permit is required. The fee is $4.50. River herring and American shad cannot be harvested from tidal waters.