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Recreational Saltwater Fishing License Boundaries

A recreational saltwater fishing license is required in Virginia's portion of the Chesapeake Bay, its tidal tributaries, and Virginia's Territorial Sea.  Boundaries associated with these areas are described below:

"Territorial sea" means the waters within the belt, three nautical miles wide, that is adjacent to Virginia's coast and seaward of the mean low-water mark (from COV 28.2-100; this is the outer Atlantic Ocean boundary of Virginia tidal area requiring a license from the Commission).


Freshwater/Saltwater License Lines on Tidal Rivers

Persons fishing upstream of the designated lines on the following waters must have a valid freshwater fishing license while those fishing below the lines must have a valid saltwater fishing license:

…..Potomac River: Route 301 Bridge

…..Rappahannock River: Route 360 Bridge

…..Piankatank River/Dragon Run: The 1st set of power lines immediately upriver of Anderson Point

…..York River System (including the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers): Route 33 Bridges

…..James River: A line connecting Hog Point and the downstream point of the mouth of College Creek

Below these designated lines a freshwater or saltwater license will be valid on any tidal portion of any tributary entering the above mainstem waters.

The following waters are entirely freshwater and require a freshwater fishing license throughout: Meherrin River; Nottoway River; Blackwater River (Chowan drainage); Back Bay, Northwest River, and North Landing River and Intercoastal Waterway upstream to Great Bridge Locks; and Dismal Swamp Canal below (or South) of Deep Creek Locks.

Click here for more information on Virginia saltwater licenses and reciprocity agreements with other jurisdictions that may effect where you can fish with your license.

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