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).
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 (freshwater license required in tributaries above Rt. 301; PRFC, VA or MD saltwater license good in mainstem up to DC border)
..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.
For more information on Freshwater licenses and fishing contact
the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.