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:

River Line
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.

* Please 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: 14th Street Bridge;
  • Mattaponi River: Rt. 360 Bridge;
  • Pamunkey River: Rt. 360 Bridge;
  • Potomac River: Little Falls;
  • Occoquan River: I-95 Bridge.
  • Rappahannock River: Rt. 1 Bridge;