Delaware fishing guide

Welcome to your key source for all fishing-related information in Delaware. Discover not only the prime fishing spots but also learn about the diverse species inhabiting these waters. Stay informed about the latest fishing regulations and licensing requirements for fishing in Delaware

Load data spots
9 waterbodies
54 cities
38 fishes

Licenses for fishing in Delware

For more detailed information and to purchase a fishing license, you can visit the eRegulations website and the DNREC website.

License Type Resident Fee Non-Resident Fee
General Fishing License $8.50 $20.00
7-day Tourist Fishing NA $12.50
Boat Fishing License (20 ft or less) $40.00 $40.00
Boat Fishing License (more than 20 ft) $50.00 $50.00
Head Boat License $300.00 $600.00
Charter Boat License $150.00 $300.00
Fishing Guide License $100.00 $300.00
Young Angler Trout Stamp (12-15) $2.10 $6.20
Adult Trout Stamp (16-64) $4.20 $6.20

Additional notes:

  • The boat fishing license covers the license holder and all occupants in the boat. Residents who purchase a boat fishing license are also given a regular fishing license to use anywhere in the state. Non-resident boat license holders need a separate non-resident fishing license to fish elsewhere in Delaware when not aboard their vessels.
  • There are various exemptions and discounted licenses available, particularly for residents over 65, the legally blind, and those with disabilities.

Fishing Regulations in Delaware

Prohibited Gear and Fishing Methods
  • Use of explosives, poisons, or electrical devices for fishing is illegal.
  • Fishing with nets, traps, or seines is restricted to specific permits and designated areas.
  • Use of live fish as bait is limited in certain waters to prevent the spread of invasive species.
  • Snagging fish is not allowed except in designated areas during specific seasons.
  • Spearing and bowfishing are permitted for certain species in specified waters, with restrictions.
Catch Limits
  • Trout: Daily limit varies by area, typically 4 fish, with size restrictions in some waters.
  • Striped Bass: Daily limit and size restrictions vary, especially in the Delaware River and Bay.
  • Bluefish: Daily limit varies, often 10 fish, with no size limit.
  • Black Sea Bass: Daily limit and size restrictions vary, with specific seasons.
  • Tautog (Blackfish): Daily limit varies by season, with size restrictions.
  • Summer Flounder: Daily limit and size restrictions vary, with specific seasons.
  • Weakfish: Daily limit varies, often 1 fish, with size restrictions.
  • Crab (Blue Crab): Daily limits and size restrictions apply, with specific regulations for recreational crabbing.
  • Lobster: Harvesting generally prohibited, with exceptions for specific areas and sizes.
  • Shellfish (Clams, Oysters): Daily limits and size restrictions apply, with areas closed due to water quality.
Restrictions on Access to Water Bodies
  • Access to some waters may be restricted for environmental conservation or public safety reasons.
  • Fishing on private property requires explicit permission from the landowner.
  • Special regulations for fishing in state parks and wildlife areas.
  • No fishing zones enforced around certain infrastructures like dams and fish hatcheries.
  • Seasonal access restrictions in certain areas for fish spawning and habitat management.
Zones of Special Regulation
  • Catch-and-release areas for certain species, especially trout and striped bass.
  • Areas with gear restrictions, such as artificial lures only or barbless hooks.
  • Slot limits for striped bass and other species in certain areas.
  • Special regulations in waters with high fishing pressure or ecological sensitivity.
  • Managed areas for shellfish harvesting, with regulations to protect water quality and populations.
Protection of Rare Species
  • Fishing for endangered or threatened species is strictly prohibited.
  • Special regulations in habitats of rare or sensitive aquatic species.
  • Research fishing for rare species requires special permits and adherence to guidelines.
  • Conservation measures for native fish species and habitat restoration projects.
  • Monitoring and enforcement to protect critical habitats and vulnerable species.
Seasonal Restrictions
  • Closed seasons for specific species during spawning or migration periods.
  • Seasonal fishing regulations for certain species to ensure sustainability.
  • Temporary closures of specific waters for conservation or emergency reasons.
  • Regulations adjusted based on fish population surveys and environmental conditions.
  • Special rules for ice fishing, including gear and shelter regulations, in colder regions.