Anglers who enjoy fishing the waters of West Virginia must have a West Virginia Fishing License. This requirement is for both residents of West Virginia as well as non-residents or anglers who are visiting West Virginia.
Residents of West Virginia can choose from a Class B Fishing License, a Class X Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping License for ages 18 through 64, a Class XJ Junior Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping License for 15 year olds, a Resident Lifetime Hunting, Trapping and Fishing License, or a Lifetime Fishing License. According to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, a resident is ” a person who has been a domiciled resident continuously in West Virginia for 30 consecutive days or more immediately prior to the date of application for a license or permit. This includes members of the U.S. armed forces stationed outside the state who were West Virginia residents at the time of entry into the service and full-time students of a college or university of this state. Nonresident students of West Virginia colleges are not eligible to apply for Lifetime licenses. Absentee ownership of land in West Virginia does not constitute legal residence.”
Non-residents of West Virginia can choose from an Annual Fishing License, a One-Day Fishing License, a National Forest Hunting/Trapping/Fishing License or a Junior Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping License for anglers who are 15 through 17 years old. A non-resident is anyone who does not the resident qualifications mentioned above.
West Virginia Fishing Licenses can be obtained in person at more than 350 retail locations throughout the state and at all county clerk offices or they can be purchased directly from the Hunting and Fishing License Unit by calling 304.558.2758. Anglers can also purchase their West Virginia Fishing License by visiting www.wvfish.com.
Also, Ohio residents who have a valid, current Ohio fishing license have the authority to fish the Ohio River along with its tributaries from the West Virginia banks, but West Virginia fishing rules and regulations must be followed. Maryland residents who have a valid, current Maryland fishing license have the right to fish the waters of the Jennings Randolph Lake and they can also fish the shores of the Potomac River located in West Virginia. But, as with Ohio residents fishing the Ohio River in West Virginia, these anglers will have to adhere to the rules and regulations that govern fishing in West Virginia.
Even though most anglers fishing in West Virginia are required to have a current, valid West Virginia Fishing License, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Residents who are totally blind, residents who are 65 years old or older, anglers under 15 years old, residents on active duty in the Armed Forces, landowners and their families, POWs and honorably discharged Vets who are residents and are disabled, state mental hospital residents and developmentally disabled residents are all exempt and may fish free within the state of West Virginia.