CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice announced in a press conference on Thursday that West Virginia residents can take part in a month of free fishing.

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Beginning March 26, through Friday, April 24, the requirement to possess a fishing license to fish in state-regulated waters has been waived for state residents. Those who participate must practice safe social distancing.

According to a press release, The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR) Law Enforcement will continue to patrol all state waterways. Officers may require anglers to show proof of West Virginia residency, a valid driver’s license or a state-issued ID. The release also explained that existing license and stamp requirements for non-residents will remain in place. All fishing regulations will still be in effect both for residents and nonresidents; these include 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 have not been changed and will stay the same.

The WVDNR announced earlier this week all regular trout stockings will continue in frequency by the set 2020 Fishing Regulations, but the WVDNR will no longer provide updates to its trout stocking hotline or online trout stocking report.

The release also explained that Gold Rush stockings, which were 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, a WVDNR Law Enforcement officer will join each stocking run, according to the release.

To learn more about fishing in West Virginia, and further information about the Governor’s free fishing month, visit the WVDNR’s website by clicking here.