Welcome to McDowell County, West Virginia

Fishing Regulations

Fishing Regulations for West Virginia

West Virginia fishing regulations are set by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. West Virginia provides a diverse selection of recreational opportunities for the avid angler. McDowell County is in District 4. The District 4 office is located at 2006 Robert C. Byrd Drive, Beckley, WV 25801. They may be reached at (304) 256-6947.


In West Virginia, it is illegal to:

  • use a firearm, crossbow, dynamite or any like explosive, or a poisonous mixture placed in the water for the purpose of killing or taking fish, frogs, aquatic turtles or other forms of aquatic life.
  • fish with more than two (2) lines or poles in an impoundment stocked with trout by the DNR from January 1 – May 31.
  • use an arrow having an explosive head or shaft or an arrow dipped in or smeared with poison or other chemicals.
  • take fish, frogs, aquatic turtles or other aquatic life from a state fish hatchery.
  • fish with trotlines and droplines in state-managed impoundments except Stonecoal, Hawks Nest, Mt. Storm, Cheat and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes.
  • attach a trotline to public piers and docks or within 50 feet of dam appurtenances.
  • use droplines on the Elk River, Hughes River, Little Kanawha River, Middle Island Creek, and South Fork of Hughes River.
  • jug fish.
  • hand fish.

Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use of West Virginia Fishing and Boating Access Sites:

  1. Public boating and fishing access facilities shall be used solely for the purpose of launching and retrieving watercraft or fishing from the shore. No other use of access sites is allowed.
  2. After launching, vehicles shall be parked in available parking spaces.
  3. Any law enforcement officer acting under proper authority may prohibit an individual from launching a watercraft from any public boating and fishing access sites.
  4. The following are prohibited at fishing and boating access sites:
    1. a. Consumption of alcoholic beverages or possession of an open container of alcoholic beverages.
    2. b. Swimming or bathing.
    3. c. Camping.
    4. d. Open fires.
    5. e. Trash disposal except where trash receptacles are provided.
    6. f. Discharge of firearms, fireworks and explosives.
    7. g. Leaving unattended watercraft.
    8. h. Commercial use except as authorized by the Director.
    9. i. Parking of any vehicle or the mooring of any watercraft in such a manner as to obstruct any avenue of ingress or egress, except for the purpose of launching.


Licenses may be obtained as follows:

  1. At approximately 175 license agent locations throughout the state. ($3 issuing fee for first purchase and $1 for subsequent purchases.)
  2. www.wvfish.com (Official DNR website – $2 fee per transaction.)
  3. Directly from the Hunting and Fishing License Unit by phoning (304) 558- 2758. ($2 fee per transaction.)

For additional information contact:

Hunting and Fishing License Unit

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources 324 4th Avenue • South Charleston, West Virginia 25303

(304) 558-2758 | wvdnrcustomerservice@wv.gov