Bill Lets Out-of-State Youths Fish Without License

Winchester Star • March 14th, 2018

By Josh Janney

WINCHESTER — Out-of-state youths age 16 and younger will soon be able to fish in Virginia without a license,

House Bill 1151, sponsored by Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke County, passed the General Assembly this month. The legislation is designed to encourage anglers and their families to visit Virginia by loosening fishing license requirements for children. Tourism and outdoors experts say this will make the state more appealing as a destination for camping and fishing.

“The bill should be a boost to tourism,” Tom Guess, a legislative and policy leader for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), said in a news release. “It helps us recruit and retain anglers.”

Gooditis added: “This bill will make it so families don’t have to jump through awkward hoops to enjoy angling here in Virginia. We want families from across the region and the country to come and enjoy our the great natural beauty of the commonwealth. I was happy to work with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure we could get this bill passed.”

The legislation, pending Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature, will become law July 1.

Once in effect, out-of-state youths age 16 and younger will be allowed to fish without a fishing license when accompanied by a person possessing a valid license to fish in Virginia. Out-of-state youths also will be allowed to fish for trout without a license.

Truman Braslaw