Fishing License Information & Fees
- Buy Licenses Online
- Other Options to Buy Licenses
- Residency Qualifications
- License Year
- Legacy Fishing or Hunting License
- Lifetime Licenses
- Replacement License
- Tidal Boat License
- Customer Service for Purchasers of Fishing Licenses
- License Fees
- National Forest Permit
- State Forest Permit
- Access Permit
- 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 Game Department;
- 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.
Every person who is required to have a license must carry such license and shall 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. Any person who is required to carry certain hunting, trapping, or fishing licenses or a hunter education certificate on their person can meet the requirement by carrying an electronic copy of the relevant license or certificate, except that the bear license and deer/turkey license must still be possessed as a paper copy.
A paper copy license is not valid unless signed by the licensee.
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 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—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. When fishing designated stocked trout waters, a nonresident child under 12 will need a nonresident freshwater fishing license and a nonresident 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.
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 $125.00 for resident children and $250.00 for nonresident children.
Resident and nonresident lifetime licenses and special annual resident and nonresident veterans 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
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, or from the Richmond office you will need to request a replacement by calling toll-free at 1-866-721-6911 during regular business hours.
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 (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.
The issuance fee is included in the prices below.
|Resident Sportsman’s License (age 16 and 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*||$16.00|
|Resident State Freshwater Fishing*||$23.00|
|Resident Fishing License* (age 16 and older)*||
|Resident State Fresh/Saltwater Fishing*||$39.50|
|South Holston Reciprocal 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)||$21.00|
|Resident 5-Day Freshwater Fishing (5 consecutive days) Not valid in designated stocked trout waters||$14.00|
|Resident 5-Day Fresh/Saltwater Fishing (5 consecutive days) Not valid in designated stocked trout waters||$24.00|
|Resident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing||$126.00|
|Resident 65 and Over Annual Freshwater Fishing*||$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|
|Resident Trout Fishing (October 1-June 15) Required in addition to other resident licenses if fishing in stocked waters.||$23.00|
|Resident Legacy Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License (Must be purchased before age 2. See page 10 for more details. Can be purchased in person at the Richmond office or via a mail-in application. Application available online or by calling 1-866-721-6911)||$125.00|
|Resident Lifetime Freshwater Fish* (A valid trout fishing license is also required to fish in stocked trout waters.). Fees for each lifetime license are as follows:||
|Resident Lifetime Trout Fishing (A valid resident fishing license is also required.). Fees for each lifetime license are as follows:||
|Service-connected Totally and Permanently Disabled Veteran Resident Lifetime License* To freshwater fish and/or hunt. A valid trout fishing license is also required to fish in stocked trout waters||no charge|
|Totally and Permanently Disabled Resident Special Fishing Lifetime License (All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this fishing license).||$15.00|
* 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**||$47.00|
|Nonresident State Fresh/Saltwater Fishing**||$71.00|
|Nonresident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing**||$8.00|
|Nonresident 5-Day Freshwater Fishing** (5 consecutive days)||$21.00|
|Nonresident 5-Day Fresh/Saltwater Fishing** (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|
|Service-connected Totally and Permanently Disabled Nonresident Veteran Annual Fishing License; (For nonresident veterans rated and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having a total and permanent disability that is service connected. All applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to this fishing license. Can be purchased in person at the Richmond office or via a mail-in application. Application available online)||$12.50|
|Nonresident Trout Fishing (October 1-June 15). Required in addition to other nonresident licenses if fishing in stocked waters.||$47.00|
|Nonresident Legacy Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License. Must be purchased before age 2. (available through Richmond office or by mail)||$250.00|
|Nonresident Lifetime Freshwater Fishing**||$555.00|
|Nonresident Lifetime Trout Fishing To fish in designated stocked trout waters, a valid nonresident fishing license is also required. See below for more details.||$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 (October 1-June 15).
|Daily Permit Required at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, and Douthat State Park Fee Fishing Areas (Required in addition to regular resident, resident 5-day license, nonresident, or nonresident 1-day or 5 day license)||$8.00|
|National Forest Permit, fishing in the National Forest. This permit is required in addition to other fishing licenses (exceptions: residents under 16 and over 65, and those with a lifetime license issued before 7/1/1988, nonresidents under 12 except when fishing in designated stocked trout waters). 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|
|Access Permit||$4.00 per day or 23.00 per year|
|County Dip Net Permit to take shad, herring, and mullet. River herring and American shad may not be harvested from tidal waters.||$4.50|
National Forest Permit
All persons required to have a license (exceptions: residents under 16 and over 65, and those with a lifetime license issued before 7/1/1988, and 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 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.
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.
An 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, freshwater fishing, or trapping license or a current certificate of boat registration issued by the Department or persons 16 years of age or younger. The Access Permit requirement does not apply to Department-owned 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.