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The Fishing Authority in Delaware


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Non-tidal Waters

Recreational Minimum Size Limit
Recreational Season
Recreational Creel Limit per Angler
Bass, Largemouth

12 inches
15 inches in Beck's Pond

Open Year Round 6
2 from Beck's Pond
Bass, Smallmouth
None between 12 - 17 inches Open Year Round 6 (no more than 1 > 17")

Striped bass hybrid
(only occur in Lums Pond)

15 inches Open Year Round 2

(bluegill, pumpkinseed, redear, crappie, yellow & white perch)

None Open Year Round 50 (no more than 25 of one species)
Trout (Freshwater)
None Opens first Saturday in April 6 (4 in fly-fishing only waters)

Tidal Waters

Recreational Minimum Size Limit
Recreational Season
Recreational Creel Limit per Angler
American Eel

6 inches

Open Year Round 50

Shad (Hickory and American)


Closed Nanticoke R. & its tribs

Open Year Round elswhere

10 in any combination
Croaker, Atlantic
8 inches Open Year Round None

Atlantic sturgeon

Black drum
16 inches Open Year Round 3
Black sea bass
12.5 inches

May 22 - Oct. 11
Nov. 1 - Dec. 31

None Open Year Round 10
Catfish (any species)
None Open Year Round None
Red drum

20-27 inches Open Year Round 5
River herring (alewife & blueback)
None Closed None
8 inches Open Year Round 50
Spanish Mackerel 14 inches Open Year Round 10
Spotted Seatrout
12 inches Open Year Round None
Striped Bass
28”, except only 20-26" fish may be retained from July 1 - Aug. 31 in DE River, DE Bay & their tribs. Open Year Round 2, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31
Summer flounder
18 inches Jan. 1 - Oct. 23 4

16 inches

Jan. 1 - Mar. 31
April 1 - May 11
July 17 - Aug. 31
Sept. 29 - Dec. 31


Weakfish (Sea Trout)
13 inches Open Year Round 1
White Perch
8 inches Open Year Round None
Winter flounder
12 inches Feb. 11 - Apr. 10 2


Recreational Minimum Size Limit
Recreational Season
Recreational Creel Limit per Angler
Blue Crabs

Hard shell - 5”
Sof shell - 3.5"
Peeler - 3"

Open Year Round
Pots: Mar 1 - Nov 30

1 Bushel
Clams, Hard
1.5 inches Open Year Round 100 – resident; 50 - non-resident


3 3/8” Carapace length; female maximum length 5 1/4” Open Year Round 2 per diver; V-notched prohibited







Click on Tidal Fishing Area

Upper Delaware Bay

Lower Delaware Bay

Rehoboth Bay

Indian River Bay

Little Assawomen Bay


Dleaware Surf Fishing Rules

DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announces spring 2012 trout stocking plans 

DOVER (Feb. 17, 2012) – The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife today announced that its spring 2012 downstate trout season will begin Saturday, March 3 with the opening of two downstate ponds stocked with rainbow trout.  On that date, Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond outside of Greenwood in Sussex County will open for trout fishing beginning at 7 a.m. 

“As in the past three years, we’ll be stocking a day or two before the opening so the trout will have a chance to spread out in the ponds. Trout will be stocked in these two ponds again later in the month,” said Fisheries Administrator John Clark.  “We also have some trophy-sized trout weighing more than 2 pounds,” Clark added.

Newton Pond, a restored borrow pit, will be stocked for its third year. The 10-acre site was renovated using Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration funds and features a boat ramp for car top boats and canoes with no gasoline motors allowed, a fishing pier and plenty of shoreline access to allow anglers to spread out. Clark stressed “car top boats only,” since the ramp at Newton Pond was not designed or constructed for heavy vehicles with boat trailers, and vehicular traffic is blocked from using the ramp. 

“Newton Pond is currently open for catch and release fishing for previously stocked bass and bluegill. The trout, however, are fair game and we encourage fishermen to keep them up to the limit of six,” Clark continued, noting that trout are a cold water species and can only survive while water temperatures in the pond remain cool. 

Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Parks and Recreation, and anglers are asked to be respectful of the vegetation and fences erected to protect landscaped areas. Newton Pond is owned and managed as a state wildlife area by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Each pond will initially be stocked with about 300 pounds of rainbow trout, average size 11 to 13 inches. Some “trophy-sized” rainbows weighing 2 pounds and measuring well over 14 inches also will be included. Stocking will be repeated Thursday, March 15 with the same amount of fish in each pond.

Beginning in April, thousands of rainbow and brown trout will be stocked in six designated trout streams in northern New Castle County: White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek. All of the streams will receive a heavy stocking just prior to the season opener on the first Saturday in April. Trout stocking will continue on a regular weekly basis through the end of April. 

Anglers wishing to try their luck are reminded that in addition to Delaware’s normal fishing license requirements, most anglers also must purchase a trout stamp, which costs $4.20 for ages 16 through 64, or a youth stamp, which costs $2.10 for youth anglers ages 12 through 15. A resident annual fishing license, which now covers fresh and tidal waters as well as crabbing and clamming, costs $8.50 for ages 16 through 64. Persons under the age of 16 and residents age 65 and older are not required to purchase fishing licenses in Delaware, although exempt persons may purchase fishing licenses and trout stamps if they so choose to help support fisheries management and trout stocking efforts. Higher stamp and license prices apply to non-resident anglers.  

All proceeds from trout stamps are used to purchase next year’s fish. Since the price of trout is not expected to decrease in the immediate future, the Fisheries Section is hoping plenty of anglers will come out this season to help support the program, Clark added.