West Virginia Fishing License: Everything You Need to Know

West Virginia Fishing License: Everything You Need to Know

Both locals and visitors enjoy fishing as a popular recreational activity in West Virginia. However, before you can cast your line into the state’s abundant waterways, you need to understand the requirements and process for obtaining a West Virginia Fishing License.

West Virginia Fishing License: Everything You Need to Know

Purchasing a West Virginia Fishing License

Purchasing a West Virginia Fishing License is a straightforward process that can be completed online through the WVDNR online Licensing and Game Check System. This system allows both residents and non-residents to enroll, pay, and print their licenses conveniently.

Online Enrollment Process

To begin the process, if you have an account in the WVDNR online Licensing and Game Check System, log in using your username and password. If you have never purchased a license from WVDNR before, click the button labeled Enroll Today and follow the instructions.

Once logged in, click on the tile labeled Purchase a license, tag, or permit. Scroll through the list of products and add products to your cart by clicking the Add button. The products you select will appear in the cart. Once you have selected your products, click the Proceed to Checkout button.

At checkout, review the list of products to ensure they are correct. You can remove any products chosen in error by clicking the X next to that product. If you see an orange circle with an exclamation point, this indicates terms to be accepted or a survey that requires completing. When complete, click on the Pay Now button.

A screen will appear where you can provide your credit card information. Once entered, click Pay. From the Checkout Confirmation page, you will see a list of items purchased and a button labeled Print Active License. Click, print, and enjoy your hunting or fishing experience.

License Prices and Regulations

The cost of an Annual Fishing License (Class F) is $35.00, while a One-Day Fishing License (Class LL) costs $3.00. It’s important to keep yourself up to date with the current fishing regulations, as laws may differ when fishing in certain lakes or rivers or catching certain fish species.

Customer Support

For any licensing questions, you can contact the Customer Relations Section, Hunting and Fishing License Unit by phone at 304-558-6200 (option 1).

Additional Information

West Virginia offers a variety of fishing opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to the sport, you can find tips, best fishing spots, and helpful reminders on the WVDNR website.

Remember, purchasing a fishing license not only allows you to enjoy the sport of fishing, but it also contributes to conservation efforts, ensuring the sustainability of West Virginia’s natural resources for future generations.

Fishing License Fees

Fishing is a popular pastime in West Virginia, with over 20,000 miles of streams and more than a hundred fishing lakes. The state is home to a variety of fish species, including trout, largemouth bass, walleye, tiger muskie, crappie, yellow perch, white bass, and catfish. To legally fish in West Virginia, you need to purchase a fishing license. The cost of these licenses varies depending on the type of license, the duration, and whether the purchaser is a resident or non-resident.

Resident Fishing Licenses

For residents of West Virginia, the Annual Fishing License (Class F) costs $35.00. This license is valid for the calendar year, so it’s best to purchase it at the start of the year. For those who only plan to fish for a single day, the One-Day Fishing License (Class LL) is available for $3.00.

For senior citizens, the Senior Lifetime Hunting & Fishing license is available for $25. This license is required for anglers who turn 65 on or after January 1, 2012.

For infants, there is the Trout Fishing-Infant license, which costs $115. This license is only valid when accompanied by a Class B, AB-L, AB-L-I, B-L, B-L-I, X, or XJ License and must be purchased before the infant turns 2-years old.

Non-Resident Fishing Licenses

Non-residents also have options for fishing licenses. The One-Day Fishing License (Class LL) is available for $3.00, while the Annual Fishing License (Class F) costs $37.00.

Purchasing a Fishing License

Fishing licenses can be purchased in several ways:

  • At more than 160 retail agent locations found throughout the state
  • Designated county clerk offices
  • Online through the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ Electronic Licensing & Game Check System
  • Directly from the Hunting and Fishing License Unit by phoning (304) 558-2758

Remember, purchasing a fishing license is the first step in ensuring that you will legally catch fish in West Virginia. The second step is to make sure that you purchase all the relevant fishing stamps that coincide with your license type and cover the type of fishing you are planning to do.

Other Fishing License Types and Costs

There are also other types of fishing licenses available, with costs ranging from $3.00 to $805.00. These include licenses for hunting and trapping, as well as licenses for specific types of fish or fishing methods. Always ensure to match the appropriate stamps with the type of fishing license that you require.

Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, there are a variety of fishing licenses available to suit your needs. Always remember to purchase the correct license and any necessary stamps before you start fishing, to ensure you’re fishing legally and responsibly.

Fishing Regulations

Fishing is a popular pastime and sport in West Virginia, offering year-round opportunities for anglers. However, it’s crucial to stay updated with the current fishing regulations to ensure a legal and enjoyable experience. Fishing regulations are established to prevent overharvesting of sport fish, protect spawning fish, maintain healthy populations, and protect vulnerable species.

Understanding the Regulations

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) provides a comprehensive summary of the current fishing regulations. This summary includes fishing tips, information on reciprocal boundaries, and rules for fishing in shared waterways with other states.

Fishing licenses are required for anyone wishing to fish in West Virginia. These can be obtained online, by phone, or in person at the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. There are different types of licenses available for residents and non-residents, and lifetime licenses are available for avid anglers.

Specific Regulations

There are specific regulations for different types of fishing and different species of fish. For example, there is a daily creel limit of one black bass over 20 inches caught within the slot limit area, and all black bass harvested must be under 12 inches.

It’s also important to note that fishing regulations can differ when fishing in certain lakes or rivers or catching certain fish species. For example, there are specific regulations for fishing in the Ohio River, the Potomac River, and the Big Sandy and Tug Fork rivers.

Violations and Penalties

Violations of fishing regulations can result in penalties. West Virginia operates under a point system for individuals who violate their rules. When a violator accumulates ten or more points, his or her licenses will be revoked for two years.

Additional Resources

In addition to the regulations, the WVDNR provides additional resources for anglers. These include information on upcoming fishing tournaments, fishing forms, and a list of authorized fishing license agents.

Engaging with the Fishing Community

The WVDNR also hosts a variety of events and programs to engage with the fishing community. One such event is the West Virginia Gold Rush, where the WVDNR stocks over 50,000 golden trout in lakes and streams across the state each spring.

Understanding and adhering to fishing regulations is crucial for maintaining healthy fish populations and ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to the sport, staying informed about the current regulations will help you make the most of your fishing adventures in West Virginia.

Additional Resources

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) provides a wealth of resources for outdoor enthusiasts, covering a wide range of activities and interests. Whether you’re a seasoned angler, a wildlife photographer, or a weekend hiker, these resources can enhance your outdoor experiences and deepen your understanding of West Virginia’s rich natural heritage.

Wildlife Watching

West Virginia is home to a diverse array of wildlife, and the WVDNR offers numerous resources to help you observe and identify these creatures in their natural habitats. These resources include guides to identifying mammals, birds, and snakes, as well as tips for landscaping to attract wildlife and advice on wildlife photography. The West Virginia Wildlife Center is another excellent resource for wildlife enthusiasts, offering the chance to see native species up close.

Outdoor Recreation

The WVDNR provides a wealth of information to help you make the most of your outdoor adventures in West Virginia. This includes guides to the state’s scenic trails, tranquil bodies of water, and diverse flora and fauna. You can also find information on upcoming events, such as hunting seasons and fishing tournaments, to help you plan your outdoor activities.

Plant Identification

West Virginia’s diverse ecosystems are home to a wide variety of plant species. The WVDNR provides resources to help you identify native plant species, as well as guides to poisonous plants to avoid and information on exotic and invasive species. These resources can be invaluable for hikers, gardeners, and anyone with an interest in the state’s natural flora.

Boating & Water Recreation

West Virginia’s rivers, lakes, and reservoirs offer ample opportunities for boating and water recreation. The WVDNR provides information on boat ramps, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and rules and regulations for water recreation. Whether you’re planning a leisurely paddle or a thrilling white-water adventure, these resources can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

These resources provided by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are invaluable for anyone looking to explore the state’s natural beauty, whether through wildlife watching, outdoor recreation, plant identification, or boating and water recreation. By making use of these resources, you can enhance your outdoor experiences, deepen your understanding of the state’s natural heritage, and ensure that you are acting in a way that conserves these resources for future generations.


Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to the sport, fishing in West Virginia offers a unique and rewarding experience. However, to ensure a safe and legal fishing trip, it’s essential to understand the requirements for obtaining a West Virginia Fishing License and to stay updated with the current fishing regulations. Happy fishing!

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