Fishing with Dad

Virginia fishing season

  • All fishing on inland waters requires a freshwater fishing license, unless license exempt.
  • A hand landing net may be used to land fish legally hooked in all waters.
  • It is unlawful to have more than the daily creel limit of any fish in possession while afield or on the waters. The daily creel limit includes live possession of fish.
  • Any person who fishes on another’s property must have the landowner’s permission to do so except on designated stocked trout waters along which signs have been placed indicating that the waters are open to public fishing.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person, while fishing, to remove the head or tail or otherwise change the appearance of any game fish (except bluegill sunfish and bream of the sunfish family) having a daily creel or size limit so as to obscure its species or render it impracticable to measure its total original length or count the number of such fish in possession. In addition, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess
    or transport such altered game fish while on the water. However, the prohibition against possession and transportation in the previous sentence shall not apply to the preparation of lawfully obtained fish for immediate use as food or any lawful commercial use of such fish.
  • It is unlawful to use lime, dynamite, or any other substances to destroy fish, or to cast or allow noxious matter to pass into watercourses that might destroy fish or fish spawn, or to deposit trash in streams or lakes or along their banks.
  • It is illegal to use SCUBA (Self-contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) gear to take or attempt to take fish.
  • Remove all trotlines, juglines, or set poles from public waters when not in use.
  • Marking fish with tagging equipment for personal information or research requires agency permission.
  • No species of fish, freshwater mussel, or mollusk may be taken in inland waters to be sold, except under special permits provided by law.
  • It is unlawful to take, kill, capture, or possess any threatened or endangered species.

Virginia Game Fish

Includes the following: Trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, roanoke bass, bream, bluegill, crappie, walleye, sauger, white bass, chain pickerel, muskellunge, northern pike, and striped bass.

Stocking Fish

It is unlawful to stock any species of fish into inland waters of the Commonwealth without first obtaining written approval from the Department (private ponds excepted). Also, blue catfish and their hybrids cannot be stocked in privately owned ponds and lakes.

Trout as Bait

Artificially raised rainbow trout may be sold as bait for use in the James and New rivers, and in impoundments (ponds, lakes, reservoirs), except impoundments listed as designated stocked trout waters and Lake Moomaw. Persons possessing purchased rainbow trout for bait must have a valid invoice or bill of sale, specifying date of purchase, the number of trout purchased, and name of an individual or business permitted to sell trout.

Dam Regulations

Area Regulations
Buggs Island Mechanical lure launchers may not be used within 600 yards below Buggs Island Dam.
Walkers Dam Only rod and reel and hand lines permitted within 500 yards below dam. It is illegal to snag fish at Walkers Dam.
Leesville Dam It shall be unlawful to fish, attempt to fish, assist others in fishing, collect or attempt to collect bait while wading, or operating, or anchoring any vessel in the waters of the Roanoke River from Leesville Dam downstream 840 feet to a permanent overhead cable. However, fishing is permitted from behind safety railings of the Department’s Leesville Dam fishing structure.
Fishways It shall be unlawful to fish or to collect bait from March 1 through June 15 within 300 feet of Boshers Dam Fishway on the north bank of the James River.
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