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Freshwater/Saltwater License Lines on Tidal Waters

Persons fishing upstream of the designated lines on the following waters must have a valid freshwater fishing license, while those fishing below the lines must have a valid saltwater fishing license:

  • Elizabeth River: The Great Bridge Locks
  • James River: A line connecting Hog Point on Hog Island (Surry County) and the downstream point of the mouth of College Creek (James City County)
  • Piankatank River/Dragon Run: The first set of power lines immediately upriver of Anderson Point
  • Potomac River*: Rt. 301 Bridge
  • Rappahannock River: Rt. 360 Bridge
  • York River System (including the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers): Rt. 33 Bridges

Below these designated lines a freshwater or saltwater license will be valid on any tidal portion of any tributary entering the above mainstem waters.

The following waters are entirely freshwater and require a freshwater fishing license throughout: Meherrin River, Nottoway River, Blackwater River (Chowan drainage), Back Bay, Northwest River, and North Landing River and Intracoastal Waterway upstream to Great Bridge Locks, and Dismal Swamp Canal below (or south) of Deep Creek Locks.

* See reciprocal license section.

Fall Line

The Fall Line is defined as the following landmarks:

  • Appomattox: The remnants of Harvell Dam approx. 0.5 mi upstream of Rt. 1
  • Chickahominy River: Walkers Dam
  • James River (Richmond): 14th Street Bridge (Mayo Bridge)
  • Mattaponi River: Rt. 360 Bridge
  • Pamunkey River: Rt. 360 Bridge
  • Potomac River: Little Falls
  • Rappahannock River: Rt. 1 Bridge