Being one of the smallest states in the United States, West Virginia also holds the negative record of having the second lowest household incomes from all 50 states. Almost the entire state is covered up by mountains, leaving room to sufficient natural lakes and rivers to exploit.

The overall colder climate provides the perfect environment for the development of natural ecosystems, as well as a rich fauna and flora. The biodiversity in the area is rich, and the natural landscapes are merely breathtaking.

West Virginia is also one of the most popular fishing destinations both for residents and nonresidents. Most of the 400,000 issued licenses for hunting and fishing come from residents. The total population of the state is around 1.8 million people, meaning that more than close to a quarter of the total Mountaineers hold a valid hunting and fishing license.


Licenses and permits

Licenses and permits are only issued for the calendar year, meaning they are not effective from the first day of validation, but only from January 1st. The fishing year-round license for residents costs under $20, while a five-day fishing permit is issued for $8. Nonresidents will pay an annual fee of $37 for fishing, while a one-day fishing permit can be issued for only $3.

By comparison to other states, West Virginia’s fees for hunting and fishing licenses are amongst the lowest, meaning it is highly recommendable to take a trip to this state and practice your fishing skills as often as possible.  

Some of the residents do not require a fishing license if they fall under one or more categories: totally blind persons, residents who turn 65 years before the beginning of 2012, nonresidents and residents under 15 years old, residents who were honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces, and others.


Daily Creel Limits

West Virginia offers a wide array of lakers, rivers, and ponds, hence a large number of fish species available. The daily creel limits refer to the maximum number of fish one person can fish in a day from a different species. Fish possessions of any kind are limited to twice the daily maximum creel limit.

Thus, you can only possess the following number of fish from the most popular species: 6 black bass and trouts, 2 Northern pike and blue catfish, 30 hybrid striped bass, striped bass, and white bass in any combination, 8-10 sauger, and saugeye, as well as no more than 10 frogs.

Hybrid striped bass, striped bass, and white bass are not allowed for fishing in the Rollins Lake and should be released immediately.

It is prohibited to fish for paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon, and lake sturgeon in all West Virginia waters. Should you catch one of these species, you should immediately release it.


Other rules and regulations

Catch and release fishing practices are allowed only under strict regulations, including the immediate release of a fish after capturing it, or handling the fish with bare, wet hands.

It is strictly forbidden to use any fishing methods other than rod, lines, and hooks.

It is illegal to use firearms, crossbows, dynamite or any other explosives, as well as poisonous mixtures for catching and killing fish, frogs, turtles, and frogs.

It is also illegal to fish with more than two lines or poled between the beginning of January and until the end of May.

For ice fishing, it is forbidden to use holes larger than 10 inches in diameter on all public waters in West Virginia where ice fishing is available.

It is forbidden to seine or trap game fish.

It is illegal to jug fish or hand fish under any circumstances.



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