Many people ask if they need a license to fish in the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, VA. The answer is generally yes; anyone 16 years or older needs a Virginia freshwater fishing license. However, June 3,4, and 5, 2016 are Free Fishing Days and no one needs a license to fish in Virginia except in designated stocked trout waters.
For the other 362 days of the year the easiest way to get your license is to buy it online from the VDGIF. There are options for 5-day, year long, and lifetime licenses with different costs for Virginia residents and non-residents. The standard one year license for a Virginia resident costs $23. This license allows you to fish for most fishes throughout the freshwater portions of Virginia for an entire year.
Just like buying anything with options, the add-ons can get confusing and potential expensive.
To fish in the Rappahannock in Fredericksburg, VA, for sunfish, bass, and carp, the Virginia freshwater fishing license is all you need. If you plan to fish for other species there are some additional requirements.
To fish for shad, herring, striped bass, and other anadromous fishes, you need to register with the FREE Virginia Fisherman Identification Program. This free registry allows the Virginia Marine Fisheries Commission to know how many people fish for fishes that live in saltwater for all or part of their life. If you also have a valid Virginia saltwater fishing license, you do not need to register for this program.
If you fish in Cossey Pond (or other stocked trout waters in Virginia) during the fall, winter, or spring you also need a Virginia trout fishing license from the VDGIF.
If you buy your license online you will get a .pdf copy. Feel free to print it out (be sure to sign it) but I’ve had way too many soggy licenses in pockets. Luckily Virginia allows you to keep an electronic version. I just save the .pdf to my phone and always have it with me to show a Conservation Police Officer when they ask.
This may not be an all inclusive list of requirements for your specific needs so make sure you visit the VDGIF site for further details.
See you on the water!