Fishing Regulations in Northern VA: What You Need to Know

If you're an angler looking to go bass fishing in Northern VA, there are a few regulations you should be aware of. To ensure that only healthy fish are stored, it is recommended that those stocking private ponds or public waters purchase their brooders from production facilities that regularly test their fish for diseases. A permit is required for the special use of a boat ramp if you are organizing, supervising, or requesting 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, whether in money or other valuable considerations. No species of fish, freshwater mussel, or mollusc may be caught in inland waters for sale, except under special permits provided by law.

No fishing license of any kind is necessary for rod and reel fishing in freshwater, except in waters designated for storing trout. Any fish caught and entered for scoring or consideration during a permitted fishing tournament, rodeo, or other fishing event in lakes, ponds, or streams owned by the department must be released immediately at the capture site. It is illegal to use lime, dynamite, or any other substance to destroy fish, or to dump or allow harmful materials to pass into watercourses that could destroy fish or fish hatchlings, as well as depositing garbage in lake streams or along their banks. Fishermen should be aware that they can still enjoy excellent recreational fishing in these waters.

Additionally, remember that larger and older fish tend to accumulate more pollutants, and fatty fish (such as channel catfish and carp) tend to accumulate PCBs and other organic chemicals.