Fishing Regulations in Northern Virginia: What You Need to Know

Are you planning a fishing excursion to Northern Virginia? If so, you need to be aware of the special regulations that apply to bass fishing in the area. In this article, we'll provide an overview of the rules and permit requirements for bass fishing in Northern Virginia. In Virginia, it is illegal to capture any species of fish, freshwater mussel, or mollusk for sale without a special permit. There are also specific size limits for bass fishing in the state. For instance, there is no big mouth bass or small mouth bass between 16 and 24 inches, and only one per day over 24 inches.

Additionally, there are limits on the number of bass that can be caught in certain areas. For example, there is no big mouth bass under 12 inches or small mouth bass under 12 inches in Smith Mt. Lake and its tributaries below the Niagara Dam. In the Clinch River, within the limits of Scott, Wise, Russell or Tazewell counties, there is no small mouth of less than 15 inches. In the Dan River and its tributaries downstream of the Union Street Dam, there is no black bass or small mouth of less than 20 inches, with only one per day over 20 inches allowed.

In the Levisa Fork River within the boundaries of Buchanan County, there is no blackmouth or windmill smallmouth between 14 and 22 inches, with only one per day over 22 inches allowed. In addition to these size limits, there are also restrictions on possession. For example, in tidal rivers such as the Meherrin River below the Emporia Dam and Nottoway River, Blackwater River (Chowan Drainage), North Landing and Northwest Rivers and their tributaries, there is no possession limit for people who hold a permit obtained under 4VAC15-340-80. Anadromous (coastal) Alewife and Bluewife Herring above and below the fall line in all coastal rivers of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries also have no possession limit. In addition to these restrictions on possession, there are also regulations on fishing tournaments and rodeos. A permit for special use of a boat ramp is required to organize, supervise or request registrations for fishing tournaments, rodeos or other fishing events in lakes, ponds or streams owned by the department for which prizes are offered, awarded or accepted depending on the size or quantity of fish caught. Finally, a Virginia fishing license is necessary for all recreational saltwater fishing activities in Northern Virginia.

To purchase a recreational saltwater fishing license and learn about associated fees, visit the Fishing License Fees section of this website. As you can see, there are several special restrictions on bass fishing in Northern Virginia that you need to be aware of before planning your trip. Be sure to check with local authorities for more information about specific regulations that may apply to your area.