Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Wildlife Resources
Chapter 360. Fish: Aquatic Invertebrates, Amphibians, Reptiles, and Nongame Fish

4VAC15-360-10. Taking aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and nongame fish for private use.

A. Possession limits. Except as otherwise provided for in § 29.1-418 of the Code of Virginia, 4VAC15-20-130, 4VAC15-320-40, and the sections of this chapter, it shall be lawful to capture and possess live for private use and not for sale or export no more than one individual of any native or naturalized, as defined in 4VAC15-20-50, species of amphibian or reptile per physical address, and 20 individuals of any single native or naturalized (as defined in 4VAC15-20-50) species of aquatic invertebrate and nongame fish unless specifically listed in this subsection:

1. The following species may be taken in unlimited numbers from inland waters statewide: carp, mullet, yellow bullhead, brown bullhead, black bullhead, flat bullhead, snail bullhead, white sucker, northern hogsucker, gizzard shad, threadfin shad, blueback herring (see 4VAC15-320-25 for anadromous blueback herring limits), white perch, yellow perch, alewife (see 4VAC15-320-25 for anadromous alewife limits), stoneroller (hornyhead), fathead minnow, golden shiner, goldfish, and Asian clams. Grass carp may only be harvested in unlimited numbers from public inland rivers and streams of the Commonwealth. It is unlawful to harvest grass carp from any public inland lake and reservoir. Anglers taking grass carp must ensure that all harvested grass carp are dead.

2. See 4VAC15-320-25 for American shad, hickory shad, channel catfish, white catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish limits.

3. For the purpose of this chapter, "fish bait" shall be defined as native or naturalized species of minnows and chubs (Cyprinidae), crayfish, and hellgrammites. The possession limit for taking "fish bait" shall be 50 individuals in aggregate, of which no more than 20 individuals may be crayfish, unless said person has purchased "fish bait" and has a receipt specifying the number of individuals purchased by species, except salamanders and crayfish which cannot be sold pursuant to the provisions of 4VAC15-360-60 and 4VAC15-360-70. However, stonerollers (hornyheads), fathead minnows, golden shiners, and goldfish may be taken and possessed in unlimited numbers as provided for in subdivision 1 of this subsection.

4. Any crayfish collected for use as fish bait may only be used as fish bait in the water body of capture.

5. The daily limit for bullfrogs shall be 15 and for snapping turtles shall be five. Snapping turtles shall only be taken from June 1 to September 30 and must have a minimum curved-line carapace length of 13 inches. Bullfrogs and snapping turtles may not be taken from the banks or waters of designated stocked trout waters.

6. The following species may not be taken or possessed in any number for private use: red-eared slider and all reptile and amphibian Species of Greatest Conservation Need designated in Virginia's 2015 Wildlife Action Plan.

7. Native amphibians and reptiles, as defined in 4VAC15-20-50, that are captured within the Commonwealth and possessed live for private use and not for sale may be liberated under the following conditions:

a. Period of captivity does not exceed 30 days;

b. Animals must be liberated at the site of capture;

c. Animals must have been housed separately from other wild-caught and domestic animals; and

d. Animals that demonstrate symptoms of disease or illness or that have sustained injury during their captivity may not be released.

8. Native or naturalized amphibians and reptiles, as defined in 4VAC15-20-50, may not be taken or possessed in any number from state or federal land without an appropriate permit or license.

B. Methods of taking species in subsection A of this section. Except as otherwise provided for in the Code of Virginia, 4VAC15-20-130, 4VAC15-320-40, and other regulations of the board, and except in any waters where the use of nets is prohibited, the species listed in subsection A of this section may only be taken (i) by hand, hook, and line; (ii) with a seine not exceeding four feet in depth by 10 feet in length; (iii) with an umbrella type net not exceeding five by five feet square; (iv) by small minnow traps with throat openings no larger than one inch in diameter; (v) with cast nets; and (vi) with hand-held bow nets with diameter not to exceed 20 inches and handle length not to exceed eight feet (such cast net and hand-held bow nets when so used shall not be deemed dip nets under the provisions of § 29.1-416 of the Code of Virginia). Gizzard shad and white perch may also be taken from below the fall line in all tidal rivers of the Chesapeake Bay using a gill net in accordance with Virginia Marine Resources Commission recreational fishing regulations. Bullfrogs may also be taken by gigging or bow and arrow and, from private waters, by firearms no larger than.22 caliber rimfire. Snapping turtles may be taken for personal use with hoop nets not exceeding six feet in length with a throat opening not exceeding 36 inches.

C. Areas restricted from taking mollusks. Except as provided for in §§ 29.1-418 and 29.1-568 of the Code of Virginia, it shall be unlawful to take the spiny riversnail (Io fluvialis) in the Tennessee drainage in Virginia (Clinch, Powell, and the North, South, and Middle Forks of the Holston Rivers and tributaries). It shall be unlawful to take mussels from any inland waters of the Commonwealth.

D. Areas restricted from taking crustaceans. Except for the permitted collection of specimens as provided for in § 29.1-418 of the Code of Virginia or the permitted taking for zoological, educational, or scientific purposes as provided for in § 29.1-568 of the Code of Virginia, it shall be unlawful to take any species of crayfish in the Big Sandy River Basin in Virginia (Russell Fork, Pound River, Cranes Nest River, McClure River, Levisa Fork, Dismal Creek, Knox Creek, and tributaries).

E. Reduction of possession limits for native and naturalized amphibians and reptiles. Any person in possession of legally-obtained native and naturalized amphibians and reptiles, as defined in 4VAC15-20-50, prior to the change in personal possession allowances in subsection A of this section, effective July 1, 2021, must declare such possession to the department by January 1, 2022, in a manner prescribed by the department. This declaration shall serve as authorization for possession only and is not transferable.

Statutory Authority

§§ 29.1-501 and 29.1-502 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR325-03-5 § 1, eff. January 1, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 9, Issue 4, eff. January 1, 1993; Volume 11, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 1995; Volume 13, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 1997; Volume 15, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 1999; Volume 17, Issue 6, eff. January 1, 2001; Volume 19, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2003; Volume 22, Issue 19, eff. July 1, 2006; Volume 23, Issue 9, eff. January 15, 2007; Volume 24, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2008; Volume 27, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2011; Volume 31, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2015; Volume 33, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2017; Volume 37, Issue 7, eff. January 1, 2021; Volume 37, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2021; Volume 39, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2023.

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