West Virginia Fishing Licenses
A West Virginia fishing license is required for all anglers who plan to fish in state waters. WV licenses to fish are issued by the state’s Division of Natural Resources (DNR). Novice anglers are encouraged to take advantage of numerous educational programs supported by the department. Additionally, experienced fishing enthusiasts can connect with other anglers through the various fishing organizations established throughout the state. Before you complete the fishing license application process, learn more about how to buy fishing licenses and other related topics below:
- Types of fishing licenses in West Virginia
- Fishing education in West Virginia
- Fishing organizations in West Virginia
Types of West Virginia Fishing Licenses
The Division of Natural Resources offers a variety of WV fishing licenses for residents and visitors looking to fish in state waters. Each license to fish is categorized based on the applicant’s age, residency status and the length of time the license is valid for. Two main categories of fishing licenses in West Virginia are available:
- Residential hunting licenses
- Non resident hunting licenses
Additionally, the state department offers lifetime fishing licenses as well. Three methods are available for purchasing licenses from the Division of Natural Resources:
- Visit one of over 180 authorized retail licensing agents throughout the state.
- A $3 fee for initial purchases and a $1 fee for subsequent purchases will apply.
- Visit the official state DNR website to purchase fishing licenses online.
- Apply over the phone through the Hunting and Fishing License unit of the DNR by dialing 304-558-2758.
- A $2 fee for phone purchases will apply.
Certain state residents are exempt from West Virginia fishing license requirements:
- Individuals who are completely blind
- Individuals who turned 65 years of age prior to January 1, 2012
- Children younger than the age of 15
- Active-duty military members
- Honorably discharged military members
- Individuals fishing on their own private property
- In-patients of any state mental hospital
- Disabled residents
Residential Fishing Licenses in West Virginia
Residential fishing licenses are available to persons living in West Virginia who meet the residency requirements. A WV resident is considered an individual who has resided in the state for at least 30 consecutive days prior to submitting his or her fishing licenses application. Active-duty military members and full-time students attending a state university are also considered residents for fishing license purposes. Applicants can explore the below fishing licenses available to state residents:
- Conservation Stamp (required to purchase a fishing license): $5
- Annual Fishing License: $19
- Sportsman Trapping, Hunting and Fishing License: $35
- Junior Sportsman Trapping, Fishing and Hunting License (ages 15 through 17): $16
- Apprentice Junior Trapping, Hunting and Fishing License: $16
- Trout Fishing Stamp: $10
The Division of Natural Resources also offers lifetime fishing licenses to both residents and non residents:
- Resident Lifetime Trapping, Fishing and Hunting License: $805
- Infant Lifetime Trapping, Hunting and Fishing License: $402.50
- Lifetime Fishing License: $552
- Infant Lifetime Fishing License: $276
- Lifetime Trout Fishing License: $230
- Infant Lifetime Trout Fishing License: $115
- Senior Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License: $25
Note: Residential fishing license fees are subject to change without notice.
Non Resident Fishing Licenses in West Virginia
Visitors to West Virginia are not eligible to purchase residential fishing licenses unless they have resided in the state for at least 30 consecutive days prior to completing a fishing license application. Out of state fishing license options are available for all visitors to the state:
- Trout Fishing Stamp: $16
- Conservation/Law Enforcement Stamp (required for all anglers): $13
- Annual Fishing License: $37
- One-Day Fishing License: $3
- National Forest Trapping, Hunting and Fishing License (must also have an annual or one-day fishing license): $2
- Junior Sportsman Trapping, Hunting and Fishing License (ages 15 through 17): $16
Note: Non resident fishing license fees are subject to change without notice.
West Virginia Fishing Education
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has a number of fishery management programs that focus most of their resources on aquatic education. The DNR also holds several youth and family-oriented fishing excursions throughout the state, including National Fishing and Boating Week events. Each year in June, the DNR hosts WV Free Fishing Days, during which residents can fish for a day without paying a fee.
In addition to events, the DNR promotes educational programs such as the Becoming an Outdoorswoman program and the Youth in the Outdoors program. With a focus on enlightening residents in fishing tactics and wildlife conservation, many educational opportunities are available for both novice and experienced anglers throughout the state.
West Virginia Fishing Organizations
Experienced anglers in West Virginia can gain social support by joining one of the many fishing organizations present throughout the state. Popular fishing organizations range from specialized to generalized types of fishing:
- B.A.S.S. Nation of West Virginia
- Cyclone Trophy Club
- Mountain State Kayak Anglers
The B.A.S.S. Nation of West Virginia hopes to educate the public about the intricacies of bass fishing in the state. In conjunction with the Division of Natural Resources, the B.A.S.S. Nation promotes wildlife conservation and proper fishing tactics while bringing together a community of bass anglers.
The Cyclone Trophy Club’s main focuses are the 10 annual fishing tournaments held throughout the state each year. To participate in the fishing tournaments, you must be a Cyclone Trophy Club member. Winners and participants can enjoy cash prizes and other incentives provided by the club. Cyclone Trophy Club also promotes fishing awareness in WV.
The Mountain State Kayak Anglers is a non-profit social organization aimed at bringing together kayak anglers throughout West Virginia. Affiliated with the larger Kayak Bass Fishing organization, Mountain State Kayak Anglers promotes kayak fishing awareness through a number of events and tournaments.