Virginia Fishing License Online

Virginia Fishing License Online: A Comprehensive Guide To Get Yours In a Few Easy Steps

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Ready to start your fishing trip in Virginia? This article has all the answers you need. Learn about getting your Virginia fishing license online, understanding fishing regulations, and choosing between saltwater and freshwater licenses. Plus, find out the cost of your fishing license. Let’s dive in and get you on the water with ease!

When you visit the Go Outdoors Virginia website, you’ll find it incredibly simple to get your fishing license online. Not only can you purchase the license with ease, but you can also conveniently report your harvests and apply for wildlife permits. Plus, you have the flexibility to update your application and hunt choices online until the deadline.

This means you can stay in compliance with Virginia fishing laws and regulations hassle-free. Whether you’re a resident or non-resident, the process is straightforward and accessible, thanks to the user-friendly website and helpful customer service available.

How to Purchase a Virginia Fishing License Online

When it comes to fishing in Virginia, having a valid fishing license is key. Luckily, getting one is a breeze as you can easily purchase your fishing license online. Let me guide you through the process:

Virginia Fishing License
*This image is a representation and not intended to depict an official state fishing license.

Step 1. Create a Customer Account

To get your Virginia fishing license online, start by creating a customer account. Simply visit the Go Outdoors Virginia website and click “Create a Customer Account.” Fill in your personal details like name, address, phone number, and email. Then, click “Create Account” to proceed.

Step 2. Purchase a Fishing License

Once you’ve created your customer account, it’s time to get your fishing license. Simply click the “Purchase Licenses” button and choose the license type that suits you best. There are options like an annual license, a 3-day license, or even a special trout license. Just be sure to pick the right one for your age and residency.

After selecting the license type, you will be asked to provide additional information, such as your date of birth and social security number. You will also need to answer a few questions about your fishing preferences and habits. Once you have filled out all the required fields, click on “Add to Cart” and proceed to checkout.

Step 3. Print Your License

Once you’re done with the checkout, keep an eye on your email for an electronic copy of your fishing license. You can also access it in the “My Licenses” section of your customer account.

If you prefer a physical copy, no worries! Simply print it at home or visit a retail license agent for an annual hard card.

In case you have any questions or issues while purchasing a Virginia fishing license online, you can Virginia DWR contact customer service by calling (804) 367-1000 during regular business hours.

Using An Electronic Copy Of Your License

When it comes to your Virginia fishing license, an electronic copy is just as valid as a printed one. It’s convenient and easily accessible on your phone or in a printed format, making it easy to show to game wardens when requested.

Residency Qualifications

If you’re looking to get a resident fishing license in Virginia, it’s important to understand the residency qualifications. To qualify for a resident fishing license, you need to meet specific requirements.

If you don’t meet the residency qualifications, don’t worry! You can still purchase a Virginia non-resident fishing license. Let’s take a closer look at the qualifications for residency:

  • Being a bonafide resident of the city, county, or state for six consecutive months before applying
  • You can also qualify if you have been a domiciliary resident of the state for at least two months, or if you are a legal voter in Virginia.
  • Members of the armed forces and their immediate family members can obtain a license if they reside in Virginia, are on active duty, and stationed within the Commonwealth.
  • Students enrolled in Virginia schools and non-naturalized individuals who own real estate in the county or city where they apply may also qualify.


When it comes to fishing licenses in Virginia, there are a few exceptions to keep in mind. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Resident or nonresident landowners, their immediate family, and parents fishing on their own property.
  • Residents under 16 years old for (also not required for trout fishing).
  • Resident, active-duty military personnel (with their Military Orders for trout fishing).
  • Tenants with written permission from the landowner.
  • Guests fishing in individually owned private ponds.
  • Nonresident children under 16 years old (also not required for trout fishing).
  • Legally blind individuals.
  • Virginia-recognized tribe members with proper tribal identification (freshwater exemption, saltwater license required).
  • Stockholders and their immediate family members hunting and fishing on corporate-owned lands.
  • Individuals aged 65 and older exempt from saltwater license (Virginia Fisherman Identification Program FIP compliance required).
  • Individuals assisting disabled license holders.

Please note that these exceptions may have additional conditions, and it’s advisable to consult the official Virginia fishing regulations for complete details.

Types of Virginia Fishing Licenses

Let’s talk about fishing licenses in Virginia because I know they’re essential for a great fishing trip. There are various types of Virginia fishing licenses you can choose from, depending on what you’re looking for. Here are a few of the most common ones:

Virginia Freshwater Fishing License

If you’re planning a freshwater fishing trip in Virginia, you’ll need a freshwater fishing license. There are different options available to suit your needs.

As a resident, you can choose between one-year, three-year, or five-year licenses. Non-residents, on the other hand, have the choice of one-day, three-day, seven-day, or annual licenses.

Keep in mind that fees for these licenses depend on the duration and your residency status.

Virginia Saltwater Fishing License

For those who prefer saltwater fishing, a saltwater fishing license is required. Virginia residents can get an annual saltwater fishing license, while non-residents can get a three-day or seven-day saltwater fishing license. The fees for these licenses also vary depending on the residency status.

Trout Licenses

The trout license is required for anyone fishing in designated stocked trout waters. Virginia residents can get a one-year or three-year trout license, while non-residents can get a one-day, three-day, or annual trout license.

Sportsman’s Licenses

The Sportsman’s License is perfect for the true outdoorsman. It covers hunting, bear, deer/turkey (valid July 1–June 30), archery, muzzleloader, freshwater fishing, and trout. Virginia residents can get a one-year Sportsman’s License.

Lifetime Licenses

Enjoy a lifetime of outdoor adventures in Virginia with a Lifetime Hunting, Freshwater, Trout, and/or Saltwater Fishing License. By purchasing these licenses, you not only gain endless opportunities for hunting and fishing but also contribute to a special endowment fund supporting wildlife programs and habitats.

The funds generated from lifetime license sales are deposited into the endowment fund, ensuring sustained support for conservation projects. With a lifetime license, you can enjoy hunting, fishing, and trapping for your entire life, even if you move out of state. Additional annual licenses or permits may be required for specific activities, such as bear, deer, or turkey hunting, archery, muzzleloader, or other permits.

Enhance your lifetime license experience with a convenient credit card-style license that easily fits in your wallet.

Senior Combo Lifetime

Senior Combo Lifetime licenses are available for Virginia residents aged 80 and older. Explore the great outdoors while leaving a legacy for wildlife enthusiasts to come.

Legacy Hunting or Fishing Licenses

You can share a Lifetime of Adventure with the Legacy Hunting or Fishing License. This special license is for individuals younger than two years old and lasts a lifetime. It doesn’t matter if you’re a resident or non-resident—the license remains valid.

For hunting, it’s valid until the twelfth birthday, and after completing a hunter education course, it can be transferred to a lifetime hunting license at no extra cost. To find out the cost and apply for this unique license, access the application form or contact Customer Service at 1-866-721-6911.

Virginia Fishing License Cost

In this section, I list the various options available and provide an overview of the Virginia fishing license costs associated with each license type. So, let’s dive in and discover the perfect fishing license for your needs and budget.

Virginia Fishing License Costs

License TypeResidentNonresidentResident 65+
Sportsman’s License$100.00N/AFree
County/City Resident Freshwater Fishing*$16.00N/AFree
State Freshwater Fishing (1-year) (age 16 or older)*$23.00$47.00Free
State Freshwater Fishing (2-year) (age 16 or older)*$44.00N/AFree
State Freshwater Fishing (3-year) (age 16 or older)*$65.00N/AFree
State Freshwater Fishing (4-year) (age 16 or older)*$86.00N/AFree
State Fresh/Saltwater Fishing (age 16 or older)*$39.50$71.00Free
Saltwater Fishing$17.50$25.00Free
South Holston Reservoir Fishing License$21.00N/AFree
5-Day Freshwater Fishing$14.00$21.00Free
5-Day Fresh/Saltwater Fishing$24.00$31.00Free
10-Day Saltwater Fishing$10.00$10.00Free
Tidal Boat Sport Fishing$126.00$201.00Free
Trout Fishing (Oct 1-Jun 15)$23.00$23.00Free
65 and Over Annual Freshwater Fishing*N/AN/A$9.00
Nonresident Annual Fishing License for VeteransN/AN/AFree
Nonresident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing (except designated stocked trout waters)N/A$8.00Free
Daily Permit Required at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, and Douthat State Park Fee Fishing Areas$8.00$8.00Free
National Forest Permit$4.00$4.00Free
Virginia State Forest Use Permit$16.00$16.00Free
Access Permit Per Day$4.00$4.00Free
Access Permit Per Year$23.00$23.00Free
County Dip Net Permit$4.50$4.50Free
Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS)$18.00$18.00Free

* To fish in designated stocked trout waters (October 1–June 15), you’ll need a valid trout license. This applies to both annual and lifetime resident licenses, in addition to your other resident licenses.

** A valid nonresident trout license annual or lifetime is required in addition to other nonresident licenses if you are fishing in designated stocked trout waters (Oct 1–Jun 15).

Virginia Free Fishing Days

Free Fishing Days in Virginia are June 2–4, 2023

Did you know that Free Fishing Days are happening on June 2–4, 2023? You can enjoy the thrill of fishing without needing to purchase a fishing license. It’s the perfect opportunity to invite a family member or friend to join you and experience the fun

Looking for a place to fish near you?

Virginia offers numerous opportunities right in your own backyard! Check out our Where to Fish section to find the perfect location.

See our Where to Fish section to get started or join DWR at an event listed below!

No registration is required, and DWR staff and volunteers will be there to provide rods, reels, terminal tackle, and bait. They’ll guide you on how to fish and make sure you have a great time. Bring your family and friends to one of the following locations on Saturday, June 3rd:

Saturday, June 3rd

  • Northern Virginia: Burke Lake Park – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (7315 Ox Rd, Fairfax Station, VA 22039)
  • Central Virginia: Dorey Park – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (2999 Darbytown Rd, Henrico, VA 23231)
  • Eastern Virginia: Mt. Trashmore Park – 9:00 am – 1:00 pm (310 Edwin Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462)
  • Southwest Virginia: Hungry Mother State Park – 8:00 am – 1:00 pm (2854 Park Blvd, Marion, VA 24354)

Virginia Fishing Regulations

When it comes to saltwater fishing in Virginia, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) regulates the activities. To find out more about recreational and commercial fishing regulations, permit requirements, and licenses, visit VMRC’s website.

The Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) is free and requires registration for unlicensed saltwater anglers aged 16 and older. This program doesn’t apply to annual Virginia saltwater fishing license holders. To register or learn more, visit VMRC’s website or contact them at (757) 247-2200. Remember, there’s no cost for registration.

Starting January 1st, 2019, a statewide moratorium prohibits the possession of American shad, but catch and immediate release is allowed.

Additionally, possessing river herring, including blueback herring and alewife, is now illegal in Virginia. If anglers unintentionally catch river herring, they must release them immediately. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) sets regulations regarding river herring harvest and possession. For any concerns or questions, reach out to the VMRC at 1-800-541-4646 or visit their website.

Please note that this website provides general information, and specific Virginia fishing regulations can be found in the Code of Virginia or the DWR Fisheries, Wildlife, and Boating Regulations. For answers to specific fishing questions, kindly contact the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Additional Fishing Opportunities in Virginia

As a fishing enthusiast, I’m always looking for new and exciting opportunities to cast my line. Fortunately, Virginia offers a wide range of fishing and hunting opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Here are some of the options available:

Angling Opportunities

Virginia is home to a diverse range of fish species, including bass, catfish, trout, and more. Anglers can choose from a variety of freshwater and saltwater locations throughout the state, including rivers, lakes, and the Chesapeake Bay.

County/City Resident Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Residents of certain counties and cities in Virginia can obtain a freshwater fishing license for a reduced fee. These licenses are valid only in designated areas, so be sure to check the regulations before purchasing.

Resident State Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Residents of Virginia can obtain a state freshwater fishing license, which allows them to fish in all designated freshwater areas throughout the state.

Resident Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Residents of Virginia can also obtain a saltwater fishing license, which allows them to fish in all designated saltwater areas throughout the state.

Virginia Fishing License for Landowners and Tenants

Landowners and tenants in Virginia can obtain a fishing license that allows them to fish in all designated freshwater areas on their property.

Virginia Fishing License for Private Ponds

Private pond owners in Virginia can obtain a fishing license that allows them to fish in their own pond without a state license.

Aiding a Disabled License Holder

Those who wish to accompany a disabled license holder on a hunting or fishing trip can obtain a special permit that allows them to assist the disabled hunter or angler.

Overall, Virginia offers a wide range of fishing and hunting opportunities for enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there’s something for everyone in the great outdoors of Virginia.

Consult the official Virginia fishing regulations for complete details.


To sum it up, getting your Virginia fishing license online is a breeze. All you need to do is create an account on the GoOutdoorsVirginia website and choose the right license for your age and residency. It’s a quick process that I completed in just a few minutes.

If you’re into both fishing and hunting, they offer packages that cover all your needs. Plus, there’s the Restore the Wild membership that supports conservation efforts and gives you exclusive perks.

Non-residents and those with unique circumstances should check specific requirements. Even real estate agents might consider getting a license for client fishing trips.

Overall, I found the online process to be easy and convenient. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to enjoy Virginia’s great outdoors.

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