Virginia Fishing Licenses
Anglers who would like to enjoy sport fishing in Virginia state waters are required to get VA fishing licenses. Each license to fish is issued by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). Fishing permits are categorized based on factors such as the applicant’s age and whether they plan to fish inland or off the coast. Additional support for novice anglers is available through DGIF fishing education resources. Experienced anglers can also connect with other fishing enthusiasts through the various organizations operating throughout the state. Read the sections outlined below for more information on how to get fishing licenses in Virginia:
- Types of fishing licenses in Virginia
- Fishing education in Virginia
- Fishing organizations in Virginia
Types of Virginia Fishing Licenses
Fishing legally in Virginia requires a valid fishing license issued by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Fishing permits are available for both residents and visitors to the state, with residents receiving a discount on their license to fish. To be considered a resident, you must have lived in Virginia for six consecutive months. Active-duty military members stationed in Virginia and students attending educational institutions in the state are also considered residents when buying fishing licenses. State residents who are younger than 16 years of age are exempt from fishing license requirements. Two types of fishing permits are offered by the DGIF:
- Recreational fishing licenses
- Commercial fishing licenses
There are three methods offered by the DGIF for buying fishing licenses in Virginia:
- Order online through the Online Hunting and Fishing License Application on the DGIF website.
- Order over the phone by dialing 1-866-721-6911 Monday through Friday during regular business hours.
- Order in person from one of the hundreds of authorized licensing agents throughout the state.
Fishing licenses can also be purchased in person at select clerks of the Circuit Court.
Recreational Fishing Licenses in Virginia
Sport fishing in Virginia requires a recreational fishing license issued by DGIF. Recreational fishing licenses are categorized based on the applicant’s age and state residency status. Children younger than 16 years of age are exempt from fishing license requirements. Fees for recreational fishing permits vary:
- Residential Fishing Licenses
- Resident Sportsman's License (includes hunting license, bear license, deer/turkey license, archery license, muzzleloader license, freshwater fishing license and trout license): $133
- County/City Residential Freshwater Fishing License: $16
- State Residential Freshwater Fishing License: $23
- State Residential Fresh/Saltwater Fishing License: $39.50
- Five-Day Residential Freshwater Fishing License: $14
- Five-Day Residential Fresh/Saltwater Fishing License: $24
- Residential Tidal Boat Sport Fishing License: $126
- Residential Senior Annual Freshwater Fishing License (ages 65 and older): $9
- Special Residential Annual Fishing License for Partially Disabled Veterans: $12
- Residential Trout Fishing License (October 1-June 15): $23
- Non Resident Fishing Licenses
- State Non Resident Freshwater Fishing License: $47
- State Non Resident Fresh/Saltwater Fishing License: $71
- One-Day Non Resident Freshwater Fishing License: $8
- Five-Day Non Resident Freshwater Fishing License: $21
- Five-Day Non Resident Fresh/Saltwater Fishing: $31
- Non Resident Tidal Boat Sport Fishing: $201
- Non Resident Trout Fishing (October 1-June 15): $47
DGIF also offers lifetime fishing license options for residents only. Fees for lifetime fishing licenses vary depending on the applicant’s age.
Fishing license fees are subject to change without notice.
Commercial Fishing Licenses in Virginia
Anglers fishing to make a profit off their catches need to buy a commercial fishing license to operate legally. Commercial fishing permits are issued through the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Fees for licenses to fish commercially vary:
- Commercial Fisherman Registration License: $190
- Commercial Fisherman Registration License (ages 70 and older): $90
- Delayed Entry Registration: $190
- Delayed Entry Registration License (ages 70 and older): $90
- Seafood Landing License for each boat or vessel: $175
- Personal Seafood Buyer's License: $63
- Business Seafood Buyer's License: $126
- Clam Aquaculture Product Owner's Permit: $10
- Oyster Aquaculture Product Owner's Permit: $10
- Clam Aquaculture Harvester's Permit: $5
- Oyster Aquaculture Harvester's Permit: $5
- Non Resident Harvester's License: $444
Commercial fishing license fees are subject to change without notice.
Virginia Fishing Education
Virginia provides many fishing opportunities for anglers to expand their fishing knowledge, regardless of age or skill level. DGIF offers a few educational opportunities throughout the state for both children and adults. Each year the department holds Kid Fishing Days during which children can enjoy a number of educational fishing activities, as well as competitions and prizes. Additionally, DGIF holds monthly fishing workshops on different topics.
Virginia Fishing Organizations
Both experienced and novice anglers can benefit from additional social support when out fishing. Luckily, Virginia is home to many fishing organizations that operate throughout the state. Popular VA fishing organizations include:
- The Northern Virginia Anglers Club
- The Falmouth Flats Fly Fishers
- The Tidewater Angler’s Club
The Northern Virginia Anglers Club was started in 2010 to create a community of anglers in North Virginia that would promote sport fishing throughout the state. Members offer each other support by organizing fishing events and tournaments, as well as pushing for better wildlife conservation efforts.
The Falmouth Flats Fly Fishers is a group of anglers with a common interest in fly rods and fly fishing. The nonprofit club was started in 1999 and continues to offer various activities and tournaments for members to engage with each other and enjoy sport fly fishing throughout the year.
Founded in 1941, the Tidewater Angler’s Club is one of Virginia’s oldest fishing organizations. Throughout the decades, Tidewater Angler’s has supported and helped to pass numerous fishing laws throughout Virginia while also promoting sportsmanship and wildlife conservation.