West Virginia to waive license requirement for resident anglers

West Virginia to waive license requirement for resident anglers
A fly-fisherman wades into a cold mountain stream in West Virginia. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has announced that to encourage solitary outdoor activity during the coronavirus outbreak, state residents can enjoy a month of free fishing.


Through Friday, April 24, the requirement to possess a fishing license to fish in state-regulated waters has been waived for state residents, though anglers must practice safe social distancing.

Law enforcement officers with the Division of Natural Resources will continue to patrol all state waterways. and officers may require proof of West Virginia residency in the form of a valid driver’s license or a state-issued ID.

Existing license and stamp requirements for non-residents will remain in place.'


All fishing regulations remain in effect both for residents and non-residents, including bag limits, slot limits, catch-and-release areas, and fly-fishing-only areas.

This waiver of the license requirement applies only to fishing licenses. It also includes a waiver for trout and conservation stamps. All requirements for hunting licenses remain in effect.

All regular trout stockings will continue in frequency as set forth in the 2020 Fishing Regulations, but the DNR will no longer provide updates to its trout stocking hotline or online trout stocking report.

Gold Rush stockings, originally scheduled to begin March 27, have been postponed.


To make sure no crowds interfere with trout stocking personnel and that anglers maintain a safe distance from hatchery staff, officers will join each stocking run.

To learn more about fishing in West Virginia, visit .

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