Freshwater Fishing Regulations

January 1–December 31, 2019

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Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater fishing in Virginia is handled by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). More information regarding license requirements, fees, and regulations may be found on VMRC’s Web site.

American Shad Possession

As of January 1st, 2019, there is a statewide moratorium on the possession of American shad. However, catch and immediate release is permitted.

Moratorium on Possession of River Herring

It is now illegal for any person to have river herring in their possession—this includes blueback herring and alewife. All river herring inadvertently caught by anglers must be immediately released back into the water. In Virginia, regulations regarding the harvest and possession of river herring are set by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). On January 1, 2012, VMRC enacted a regulation which makes it unlawful for any person to be in possession of river herring in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Anglers with concerns or questions should contact the Virginia Marine Fisheries Commission (VMRC) in Newport News at 1-800-541-4646. Additional information can be found on the VMRC website.

This website contains general information. Specific laws and regulations are found in the Code of Virginia or the DGIF Fisheries, Wildlife, and Boating Regulations. For answers to specific questions about fishing, please contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.