- Residency Qualifications
- Where to Get a Fishing License
- Fishing License Fees
- Additional Fishing License Information
Fishing License Information
Every person who is required to have a license to fish, hunt, and/or trap must carry such license with them (electronic copy, printed paper, or annual hard card) and show the license immediately upon request of any officer whose duty it is to enforce the game and inland fish laws, or upon the demand of any owner or lessee, or any employee or representative of such owner or lessee, upon whose land or water such person may be hunting, trapping, or fishing.
- Persons who have been a bonafide resident of the city, county, or state for six consecutive months immediately preceding the date of application for license;
- Persons who have been domiciliary residents of the state for at least two months upon approval of a completed affidavit to be furnished by the DWR;
- Legal voters in Virginia;
- Any member of the armed forces of the United States, or a member of the immediate family of such a member as defined in § 2.2-3101, upon execution of a certificate of residence if the member (i) resides in the Commonwealth, (ii) is on active duty, and (iii) is stationed at a military installation within, or in a ship based in, the Commonwealth;
- Students (including nonresident students boarding on campus) residing in Virginia who are enrolled in bonafide Virginia schools;
- Any unnaturalized person who owns real estate in the county or city and who has actually resided there not less than five years next preceding the date of the application for the license in the county or city where they qualify.
All persons, except those listed below, must purchase the proper licenses before fishing.
- Resident or nonresident landowners, their spouses, their children and grandchildren and the spouses of such children and grand- children, or the landowner’s parents, resident or nonresident, do not need a license to hunt, trap, or fish within the boundaries of their own lands and inland waters.
- Residents under 16 years of age (also do not need a trout license).
- Resident, active-duty members of the armed forces while on official leave. However, when trout fishing they must have copy of their Military Orders in their possession.
- Tenants, on the land they rent and occupy, are not required to have a license, but must have the written permission of the landowner.
- Guests fishing in individually owned private ponds.
- Nonresident children under 16 years of age (also do not need a trout license).
- Legally blind persons.
- Any Indian who “habitually” resides on an Indian reservation or a member of the Virginia-recognized tribes who resides in the Commonwealth is not required to have a freshwater license; however, such Indian must have on his person an identification card or paper signed by the chief of his tribe, a valid tribal identification card, written confirmation through a central tribal registry, or certification from a tribal office. However, a saltwater fishing license is required.
- Stockholders owning 50 percent or more of the stock of any domestic corporation owning land in Virginia, his or her spouse and children and minor grandchildren, resident or nonresident, to hunt, trap and fish within the boundaries of lands and inland waters owned by the domestic corporation.
- Persons 65 years of age or older do not need a saltwater license but must comply with the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) requirements.
- Any person not fishing but aiding a disabled license holder.
Where to Get a License
- Create Your Customer Account: The new Go Outdoors Virginia site allows you to create a unique customer account to access licenses and products that apply to you based on age and residency.
- Existing Customers: Log in using your date of birth and either your DWR Customer ID or your previous year’s DWR license number and license year.
Select the license(s) you want, pay with your credit card and print your license if needed.
Sold by some clerks of the Circuit Court and hundreds of license agents around the state.
To find a license agent visit the License Agent Locator.
By Phone/Mobile Phone:
(804) 367-1000 during regular business hours, or use your GoOutdoorsVirginia mobile app.
(The issuance fee is included in the prices below.)
Resident and nonresident licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted.
|Sportsman’s License (16 years or older)
Includes hunting license, bear license, deer/turkey license (valid July 1– June 30), archery license, muzzleloader license, freshwater fishing license and trout license
|County/City Resident Freshwater Fishing
(For county or city of residence only)
|Resident State Freshwater Fishing License* (age 16 and older)||
|Resident State Fresh/Saltwater Fishing*||$39.50|
|Resident Saltwater Fishing License||$17.50|
|South Holston Reservoir Fishing License
Allows fishing in both Tennessee and Virginia waters of South Holston Reservoir
upstream of the dam. A valid resident fishing license is also required.
|Resident 5-Day Freshwater Fishing
(5 consecutive days) Not valid in designated stocked trout waters
|Resident 5-Day Fresh/Saltwater Fishing
(5 consecutive days) Not valid in designated stocked trout waters
|Resident 10-Day Saltwater Fishing
(10 consecutive days)
|Resident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing||$126.00|
|Resident 65 and Over Annual Freshwater Fishing*||$9.00|
|Resident Annual Fishing License for 70 Percent or Greater Service-Connected Partially Disabled Veterans
Resident Veterans rated 70% or greater service-connected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Administrative Office may apply for a discounted annual fishing license. All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this license. Please visit the Forms section for application, instructions, and prices. Applications may be mailed or brought into our Henrico office location only.
|Resident Trout Fishing (October 1–June 15)
Required in addition to other resident licenses if fishing in stocked waters.
* A valid trout license (annual or lifetime) is required in addition to other resident licenses only if you are fishing in designated stocked trout waters (October 1–June 15).
|Nonresident State Freshwater Fishing** (age 16 or older)||$47.00|
|Nonresident Saltwater Fishing License||$25.00|
|Nonresident State Fresh/Saltwater Fishing**||$71.00|
|Nonresident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing**||$8.00|
|Nonresident 5-Day Freshwater Fishing**
(5 consecutive days)
|Nonresident 10-Day Saltwater Fishing License
(10 consecutive days)
|Nonresident 5-Day Fresh/Saltwater Fishing**
(5 consecutive days)
|Nonresident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing||$201.00|
|Nonresident Annual Fishing License for 70% or Greater Service-Connected
Partially Disabled Veterans and Service-Connected Totally and Permanently
Disabled VeteransNonresident Veterans rated 70% or greater service-connected or as Total
and Permanent Service-Connected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Administrative Office may apply for a discounted annual fishing license.
All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this
license. Please visit the Forms section for application, instructions,
and prices. Applications may be mailed or brought into our Henrico office location only.
|Nonresident Trout Fishing (October 1–June 15)
Required in addition to other nonresident licenses if fishing in stocked waters.
** A valid nonresident trout license (annual or lifetime) is required in addition to other nonresident licenses only if you are fishing in designated stocked trout waters (October 1–June 15).
|Daily Permit Required at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek,
and Douthat State Park Fee Fishing AreasRequired in addition to regular resident, resident 5-day license, nonresident,
or nonresident 1-day or 5-day license.
|National Forest Permit
For fishing in the National Forest, this permit is required along with the
|Virginia State Forest Use Permit
Allows hunting, trapping, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding. No motorized
|Access Permit||$4.00 per
|County Dip Net Permit
To take shad, herring, and mullet. River herring and American shad may not
|Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS)||$18|
Additional Fishing License Information
Tidal Boat License
The tidal boat license is available to any boat owner, resident and nonresident. The license is a special combined sportfishing license that gives the boat owner a license to fish in saltwater and freshwater within Virginia. The license also covers all passengers on board the owner’s boat when fishing in Virginia tidal waters (to river Fall Lines) and saltwater only when the registered boat owner is present. There are no decals issued under this license and the VMRC Fisherman Identification Program rules apply for passengers fishing in saltwater under this tidal boat license. Visit the VMRC website for more information.
National Forest Permit
All persons are required to have a National Forest Permit (with the exceptions listed below) when fishing on National Forest lands except on the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River, the James River, Skidmore Lake in Rockingham County, North Fork Pound Reservoir, Lake Moomaw, the Jackson River below Gathright Dam, and in Wilson Creek below Douthat Lake in Alleghany and Bath Counties. Those exceptions, not required to have a National Forest Permit, are residents under 16 and over 65, and nonresidents under 16.
State Forest Use Permit
Required for those persons aged 16 or older to practice the following activities on a state forest: hunting, trapping, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding. No motorized vehicles on gated roads/trails (open or closed). The Forest Use Permit is not required for forest visitors who practice the following activities on a state forest: walking, hiking, or boating. Sold in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry.
An access permit is required when using any DWR-owned or managed facility or boating access site. Such permit shall not be required for any person holding a valid hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license, or a current certificate of boat registration issued by the Department or persons under the age of 17. The Access Permit requirement does not apply to passengers of vessels launched from Department-owned boat ramps or segments othe Appalachian Trail on Department-owned land. The permit fee is $4 for a daily permit or $23 for an annual permit and may be purchased online or at any license agent.
If you purchased a license from a retail license agent, online or by phone, you can visit GoOutdoorsVirginia, select “Manage Your Account” and reprint your license anytime. You can also visit any retail license agent that sells hunt/fish licenses or call the Headquarters office at (804) 367-1000 during normal business hours.