Fishing License VA: What You Need to Know Before Casting Your Line

fishing license va

Do you plan to catch fish in the beautiful waters of Virginia? You need a Virginia fishing permit if you are 16 or older. Here are some things you should know before buying one.

Types of fishing licenses available

Virginia offers a variety of fishing licenses, depending on the type you need. Here are the most common types you can obtain:

Resident Fishing License

Residents of Virginia can purchase a resident fishing permit that is valid for one year from the date they purchased it. A resident is someone who has lived in Virginia for 30 days or more before purchasing the fishing license.

Non-resident fishing license

You can purchase a nonresident fishing license if you are not a Virginia resident. This license is good for one year and costs more than the resident fishing license.

Short-term Fishing Licence

If you do not need a fishing license for the whole year, you can buy a short-term one. Depending on the length of your fishing trip, you can choose between a 3-day or 7-day fishing permit.

Veteran Fishing License Absentee

Veterans who reside in Virginia but are unable to visit the state because of service-related injuries may apply for an absentee veterans fishing license. This type of fishing license is valid for one year from the date it was purchased.

Saltwater Fishing License

You need a saltwater license if you plan to fish in the Chesapeake Bay, or the Atlantic Ocean. You can obtain a resident saltwater fishing permit or a non-resident saltwater license depending on your residency status.

How to Buy a Fishing License in VA

You can buy a Virginia fishing licence online, by phone, or at a licensed agent. Here’s how you can get your Virginia fishing license:

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Online Shopping

To purchase a Virginia fishing license online, go to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and click “Buy License.” Follow the prompts to enter the required information. You can save or print your license once you have paid.

Phone Call

You can also buy a fishing permit by calling the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (866)721-6911. You can also purchase a fishing license by calling the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources at (866) 721-6911.


If you would prefer to buy your fishing license in person, visit a licensed agent near you. On the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ website, you can find a listing of licensed agents.

When you need a fishing license in VA

You must have a Virginia fishing permit to avoid legal problems. You must have a Virginia fishing license in the following situations:

Recreational Fishing

If you are over 16, you will need a Virginia fishing permit to fish from the shore, boat or pier. If you fish in private ponds, or on your property, you don’t need to have a Virginia fishing license.

Commercial Fishing

You need a commercial license if you are fishing for commercial purposes. This includes selling your catch. You may need to obtain other permits depending on the kind of fish that you are catching.


You need a shellfish licence if you are harvesting shellfish such as oysters and clams. This license is separate and requires an additional permit.

Fishing license VA costs

The cost of a Virginia Fishing License depends on the type you need. Here are the current rates:

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Resident Fishing License

A Virginia resident fishing permit costs $23. A 3-day fishing license costs $9 and a seven-day license costs $14.

Non-resident fishing license

A Virginia fishing license for non-residents costs $47. A 3-day fishing license costs $21, while a 7-day fishing license costs $31.

Saltwater Fishing License

A resident saltwater license costs $17 and a nonresident saltwater license costs $32.

Veteran Fishing License Absentee

A fishing license for absentee veterans costs $10.

Other Fishing Regulations You Should Know

You must also follow certain regulations in Virginia when you fish. Here are the most important:

Fishing Limits

Virginia has fishing limits on different types of fish in order to promote sustainable fishing. Before you cast your line, make sure you are aware of the limits for the fish that you hope to catch.

Fishing Seasons

You can only legally catch certain fish during certain seasons. Be sure to know the seasons so you don’t get in trouble.

Catch and Release

Virginia encourages catch-and-release fishing to protect the fish population. If you don’t plan to keep your catch, be sure to handle it properly in order to minimize any harm and increase the chances of them surviving.

Fishing Gear Restrictions

Virginia has laws against certain types of fishing equipment, such as poisons and nets. Be sure to check the restrictions on fishing gear before you go.

Fishing Location Regulations

You must adhere to certain fishing regulations in Virginia. Be sure to check the regulations before choosing your fishing spot.


Be sure to have a Virginia fishing license and be familiar with the fishing regulations of your state before you head out on your favorite Virginia fishing spot. You’ll avoid legal problems and contribute to sustainable fishing by following these rules.

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