DWR is now acknowledging archery taken fish for State Record recognition in a special archery fishing category. Archery fishing, commonly known as bowfishing, is becoming increasingly popular among anglers of Virginia. In 2014, bowfishing anglers requested that DWR recognize fish taken by archery for State Records since the sport was growing in popularity, the sport was considered a recreational and not commercial activity, and a fishing license is required to take fish with archery gear.
The State Record Fish Review Committee with DWR reviewed the request and determined, through a majority vote, that archery anglers should be recognized for their exceptional catches. Since the gear was completely different from traditional hook-and-line tackle, it was determined there should be an archery only category. Additionally, the agency now recognizes large catches with archery gear in the Trophy Fish Award Program.
Only species of fish that can be legally taken in public water with archery gear (bowfin and catfish below the Fall-Line, longnose gar, and common carp) may be considered for a State Record or Trophy Fish Awards. Visit the Trophy Fish section of the DWR website for the trophy fish size chart, rules for certifying fish, and agency contacts.