Virginia.gov

Fishing License Information & Fees

Residency Qualifications:

  1. 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;
  2. 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 Game Department;
  3. Legal voters in Virginia;
  4. Members of the armed forces if they reside in the Commonwealth and are on active duty and are stationed at military installations within or on ships based in the Commonwealth;
  5. Students (including nonresident students boarding on campus) residing in Virginia who are enrolled in bonafide Virginia schools;
  6. Unnaturalized owners of real property in Virginia who have resided in a county for five years immediately prior to making application for a license may apply for resident licenses only in the county where they qualify.

Every person who is required to have a license must carry such license and shall show the license immediately upon demand 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.

A license is not valid unless signed by the licensee.

Exceptions

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 grandchildren, or the landowner's parents, resident or non - resident, 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— must have copy of leave papers 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 12 (except in designated stocked trout waters) when accompanied by a properly licensed adult.
  • 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.

License Year

All fishing licenses sold are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Legacy Fishing or Hunting License

  • Issued only to an individual who is younger than two years of age and is valid for the lifetime of the license holder regardless of any change in that person's status as a resident or nonresident.
  • Legacy hunting license is valid until the individual's 12th birthday. Upon proof of completion of a hunter education course or equivalent, this license is transferable to a lifetime hunting license at no additional charge.
  • The Legacy fishing or hunting license is available by application through the Richmond office or by mail. The cost is $125 for resident children and $250 for nonresident children.

Lifetime Licenses

Resident and nonresident lifetime licenses are purchased by an application and require supporting documentation of age, residency and/or disability. They are issued only through the Richmond office. Retail license agents cannot issue these licenses. Applications can be submitted in person at the Richmond office or mailed in. License applications can be found on the Department's website

Replacement License

If you purchased a license from a retail license agent, such as a sporting goods store, you can request a replacement at any retail license agent.

If you purchased a license online, by phone, by mail, or from the Richmond office you will need to request a replacement from customer service at 1-866-721-6911.

Customer Service Center for Purchasers of Fishing Licenses

A customer service center has been established to help purchasers of hunting and fishing licenses. The center will be open from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, except holidays. The customer service center phone number is 1-866-721-6911 or email: customerservice@dgif.virginia.gov. Representatives at the center will be available to answer questions about licensing, assist you in purchasing the licenses appropriate for your hunting or fishing outing, correct information on a current license or re-issue a lost license.

Tidal Boat License

The tidal boat license is available to any boat owner, resident and nonresident. The license is a special combined sport - fishing 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 (to river Fall Lines) waters 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.

License Fees

The issuance fee is included in the prices below.

Resident Fees

License Fee
Sportsman's License (16 years or older); Includes hunting license, bear deer turkey license (valid July 1-June 30), archery license, crossbow license, muzzleloader license, freshwater fishing license and trout license $133.00
Freshwater fish in county or city of residence* $16.00
Freshwater fish statewide* $23.00
Freshwater and saltwater statewide* $40.00
South Holston Reciprocal Fishing License (allows fishing in both Tennessee and Virginia waters of South Holston Reservoir) $21.00
Freshwater statewide for 5 consecutive days (not valid in designated stocked trout waters) $14.00
Freshwater and saltwater statewide for 5 consecutive days (not valid in designated stocked trout waters) $24.00
Resident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing $126.00
65 and over license to fish freshwater* $9.00
Special Resident Annual Fishing License for Partially Disabled Veterans (Resident veterans rated and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having at least 70 percent service-connected disability upon certification. All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this license. Can be purchased in person at the Richmond office or via a mail-in application. Application available online) $12.00
Service-connected Totally and Permanently Disabled Veteran Resident Lifetime License* to hunt and freshwater fish (available through Richmond Office or by mail) $0.00
Totally and Permanently Disabled Resident Special Lifetime License to freshwater fish*, (available through Richmond office or by mail) $15.00
Fish in designated stocked trout waters (This license required in addition to other resident licenses if fishing in these waters) $23.00
Legacy Fishing License, must be purchased before age 2 (available through Richmond Office or by mail) $125.00
Special lifetime to fish freshwater* or Special lifetime trout license to fish in designated stocked trout waters (A valid resident fishing license is also required), both available only through Richmond office or by mail. Fees for each lifetime license are as follows:
Age up to age 44 $260.00
Age 45-50 $210.00
Age 51-55 $160.00
Age 56-60 $110.00
Age 61-64 $60.00
Age 65 and over $20.00

* A valid trout license ($23.00 annual or lifetime) is required in addition to other resident licenses only if you are fishing in designated stocked trout waters.

Nonresident Fees

License Fee
Freshwater fish statewide** $47.00
Freshwater and saltwater fish statewide** $71.00
Freshwater fish statewide for 1 day** $8.00
Freshwater fish statewide for 5 consecutive days** $21.00
Freshwater and saltwater fish statewide for 5 consecutive days** $31.00
Nonresident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing $201.00
Special Nonresident Annual Fishing License for Partially Disabled Veterans; (Resident veterans rated and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having at least 70 percent service-connected disability upon certification. All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this license. Can be purchased in person at the Richmond office or via a mail-in application. Application available online) $24.00
Fish in designated stocked trout waters (This license required in addition to other nonresident licenses if fishing in these waters) $47.00
Legacy Fishing License, must be purchased before age 2 (available through Richmond office or by mail) $250.00
Nonresident special lifetime license to fish freshwater** (available through Richmond office or by mail) $555.00
Nonresident special lifetime trout license to fish in designated stocked trout waters (A valid nonresident fishing license is also required); (available through Richmond office or by mail) $555.00

** A valid nonresident trout license ($47.00 annual or $555.00 lifetime) is required in addition to other nonresident licenses only if you are fishing in designated stocked trout waters.

Miscellaneous Fees

Permit Fee
Daily Permit Required at Big Tumbling Creek, Crooked Creek, and Douthat State Park Pay-As-You-Go (Fee) Fishing Areas (required in addition to regular resident, non-resident, or non-resident 5 day license) $8.00
National Forest Permit, for fishing in the National Forest this permit is required in addition to other fishing licenses [exceptions: residents under 16 or over 65, nonresidents under 12 except when fishing in designated stocked trout waters and complimentary licenses]. Valid for one year from date of purchase. $4.00
Virginia State Forest Use Permit, Allows hunting, trapping, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding. No motorized vehicles on gated roads/trails (open or closed). Sold in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry. $16.00
Facility Access Permit $4.00 per day or 23.00 per year
County Dip Net Permit to take shad, herring, and mullet $4.50

National Forest Permit

All persons required to have a license (except residents under 16 or over 65, nonresidents under 12 except when fishing in designated stocked trout waters) are required to have a National Forest Permit when fishing on National Forest lands except 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.

State Forest 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.

Facility Access Permit

As of January 1, 2012, a Facility Access Permit is required when using any Department-owned Wildlife Management Area or Fishing Lake. Such permit shall not be required for any person holding a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license or a current certificate of boat registration issued by the Department or persons 16 years of age or younger. The Facility Access Permit requirement does not apply to Departmentowned boat ramps or segments of the 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.