The Complete Guide to the West Virginia Fishing License

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

Fishing in West Virginia is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it’s important to remember that a valid fishing license is required. 

Purchasing a license may seem overwhelming, but with a few simple steps, you can quickly get your permit and begin angling with peace of mind. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about acquiring your West Virginia fishing license.

Who Needs a Fishing License in West Virginia

WV Fishing License Age Requirements

Fishing regulations in Tennessee require all anglers aged 15 and above to have a valid fishing license and a proper form of identification while fishing. 

Make sure to carry the necessary documents when fishing to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Who is Exempt From Needing a West Virginia Fishing License

senior West Virginia resident fishing
  • Residents who are totally blind do not require a fishing license but must carry a physician’s statement or certificate. A trout stamp is not needed to fish for trout.
  • Residents 65 and older do not require a fishing license but must carry a WV driver’s license or WV photo ID card issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
  • Non-residents and residents under 15 years of age do not require a fishing license.
  • Residents on active duty in U.S. armed forces while on military leave do not require a fishing license and must carry their Leave number.
  • Resident landowners and their family members may fish on their own land during open seasons without requiring a licensing fee, per West Virginia Code 17A-10-8.
  • Honorably discharged U.S. armed forces, who receive permanent service-connected disability benefits from the Veterans Administration,/ former Prisoners of War who qualify under West Virginia Code 17A-10-8, may receive DNR issued card for exemption from the registration fee.
  • Residents/ in-patients of state mental hospitals or benevolent institutions need a written statement from the facility’s superintendent to fish without requirements for a licensing fee.
  • Resident developmentally disabled people may use a DDFL card issued by a DNR (West Virginia Division of Natural Resources) office. A trout stamp is not required.

What Age Do You Need a West Virginia Fishing License?

Anglers over the age of 15 need to have a valid WV DNR fishing license.


West Virginia residents under the age of 15 do not need a fishing license in West Virginia.

West Virginia residents are defined as: 

  • individuals who have resided in the state consecutively for at least 30 days.
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces are considered residents if they were initially from West Virginia, even if stationed outside the state.
  • Full-time students attending a college or university in West Virginia are also classified as residents.
  • Non-resident full-time students studying within the state may purchase lifetime licenses.
  • Proof of residency is necessary when obtaining licenses or permits for hunting, fishing, or trapping activities.


People who do not reside in West Virginia, and are over the age of 15 will need to get a non-resident WV fishing license. 

Non-residents who suffer from a life-threatening condition are eligible for a free license as well. 

Trout Stamp

trout fish hooked

The Resident Trout Stamp is valid for one full year from either the date of purchase or the beginning of the corresponding license year, whichever is later. 

Anglers without a valid and validated stamp run the risk of being issued a citation. Ensure your permit is up to date and valid before trout fishing in West Virginia waters.

Lifetime license holders who are 65 years of age or older as of December 31, 2011, must purchase a trout stamp or the Senior Lifetime License which includes that privilege. 

Individuals who don’t need a trout stamp:

  • Anglers aged 65 or over before Jan 1, 2012.
  • Youth under 15 years old.
  • Disabled veterans with 100% permanent service-connected disability, or former POWs.
  • Active duty U.S. military personnel on leave.
  • Senior Lifetime License (XS) holders do not need a Trout Stamp.

How to Buy a West Virginia Fishing License 

West Virginia canyon

West Virginians and non-residents alike can purchase their fishing licenses over the internet, at state-approved retailers, or by phone.


You can purchase your license online by visiting creating your account, and choose the license you would like to purchase from there. 

When purchasing your license online, there is a $2 fee per transaction.

In Person

You can buy your fishing license in person from one of many authorized vendors across the state, including more than 160 retail outlets and county clerk offices.

It costs $3 for the initial purchase and $1 for any subsequent purchases.


Purchase your fishing license over the phone by calling (304) 558-2758. Which is the hunting and fishing license unit.

There is a $2 fee per transaction for purchasing your license over the phone.

How much is a fishing license in West Virginia

Resident Licenses
Conservation Stamp(Class CS)$5.00
Fishing (Class B)$19.00
Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping (Class X) Ages 18 through 64$35.00
Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping License Plus (Class XP) Annual license that also includes the trout stamp$45.00
Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping 3-year (Class X3):$105.00
Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping Plus 3-year, Includes Trout Stamp (Class XP3)$135.00
Five-day Fishing (Class L)$8.00
Junior Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/Trapping (Class XJ)$16.00
Trout Fishing Stamp Required of licensed anglers fishing for trout,except holders of Class XS, XP and XP3 licenses (Class O)$10.00
Apprentice Junior Hunting/Trapping/ Fishing.Ages 15-17, includes privileges of Class XJ (Class AHJ)$16.00
Non-resident Licenses
Conservation/Law Enforcement Stamp. Required for all licensed anglers. (Class CS/LE)$13.00
Fishing (Class F)$37.00
One Day Fishing (Class LL)$3.00
Junior Sportsman Hunting/Fishing/ Trapping-  ages 8 through 17 (not required for fishing under age 15) (Class XXJ)$16.00
National Forest Hunting/Trapping/Fishing- Required of licensed anglers except for holders of Class XXJ (Class I)$2.00
Trout Fishing Stamp (Class OO)$16.00
Apprentice Junior Hunting/Trapping/ Fishing- Ages 15-17, includes privileges of Class XXJ. (Class AAHJ)$16.00
Resident and Nonresident Licenses
Special Hunting and Fishing License for Personswith a Life-threatening Condition. For ages 20 or younger. Does not require additionallicenses or stamps. (Class DT)Free

Lifetime Licenses

West Virginia river

West Virginia offers Lifetime Licenses for residents.

These licenses serve as a substitute for equivalent annual licenses and can be obtained through DNR (Department of Natural Resources) offices, license agents, or online at 

Senior residents who have previously made a purchase through a license agent or DNR office can also purchase a senior lifetime license online. 

Non-resident students who are full-time attending a college or university in West Virginia can also enjoy the benefits of a lifetime license. 

Make sure to obtain the necessary permits before participating in hunting, trapping, or fishing activities as required by law.

Lifetime Licenses
License TypeAgePrice
Combination Hunting, Trapping and Fishing (Class AB-L)15-64$805
Senior Lifetime Hunting/Trapping/Fishing License- 65+, includes trout stamp (Class XS):65 years of age on or after January 1, 2012,$25.00
Combination Hunting, Trapping and Fishing – Child (Class AB-L)Under age 1$322.00
Age 1 to under 5$442.75
Age 5 to under 10$603.75
Age 10 to under 15$724.50
Fishing (Class B-L)15+$552.00
Fishing – ChildUnder age 1$220.80
Age 5 to under 10$414.00
Age 10 to under 15$496.80
Trout Fishing15+$230.00
Trout Fishing – Child (Class O-L)Under age 1$92.00
Age 1 to under 5$126.50
Age 5 to under 10$172.50
Age 10 to under 15$207.00


If an angler is caught making false claims on an application for a fishing license, or are caught not following fishing laws, they will have their fishing privileges suspended for one year. 

Violators accumulate fishing and hunting points to reach a threshold that triggers license revocation. 

Amount of points given for each violation:

  • 10 points for using explosives or poison materials.
  • 6 points for taking fish by illegal methods, exceeding the daily creel limit, and using bait in a prohibited area. 
  • 4 points for all other violations. 

When the threshold of 10 or more combined points is reached, the violator’s license(s) will be revoked for two years. Points are removed from the angler’s record on their second anniversary.

License revocations can also be made through an accumulation of points and may not all be listed in this document. For more information, please refer to West Virginia Code and State Code of State Rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to fish in West Virginia?

Yes, you do need a license to fish in West Virginia if you are over the age of 15, regardless of residency. 

How much is a 5 day fishing license in WV?

A 5 day fishing license in WV costs $8. 

Can you still fish for free in West Virginia?

You can still fish for free in West Virginia if you are under the age of 15, or if you are fishing during a free fishing day

How much does a fishing license cost in West Virginia?

How much a fishing license costs in West Virginia, is dependent on the type of license that is purchased. 

The most popular license is the annual fishing license, which is $19 for residents and $37 for non-residents.

Final Thoughts

Getting a West Virginia fishing license is easily done online or in person at one of many approved vendors across the state. 

Not only is it a legal requirement for anglers, but by purchasing a license before your next bass fishing trip you can help protect the waters we all love to fish. 

So get out there, hunt down a suitable vendor, and get your license, and once you do, be sure to download our free bass lures guide, so you always know the perfect lure to throw, no matter where you’re fishing.