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Attention Anglers: Transfer & Unauthorized Release of Fish Into Virginia’s Rivers and Lakes is Illegal!

Unauthorized introduction (stocking or any live release) of fish into new waters can harm the environment and destroy public fisheries. Examples of potentially harmful species include:

  • Blue Catfish, which are overabundant in our tidal rivers, with ongoing efforts to reduce their abundance;
  • Flathead Catfish, which are native to the Midwest, prey on other fish species almost from the time they hatch;
  • Northern Snakeheads, which are exotics from Asia, with unknown impacts on other species;
  • Minnow species, released from bait buckets, which can out-compete native species and/or disrupt spawning of important species;
  • Rusty Crayfish, which can destroy aquatic vegetation used as nursery habitat by game fish.

This law applies to game fish, bait and aquarium species. All introduced species have the potential to cause significant and irreversible damage, and the effects are frequently unpredictable.

You can help by:

  • Not transporting species into other waters.
  • Destroy, or hold for future use, any unused live bait.
  • Report suspicious and illegal activity to 1-800-237-5712