Reef sites designated as SMZ (June 12)
DOVER – The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has established Special Management Zones (SMZ) at four of Delaware's Atlantic Ocean Reefs under a new rule that was published in the Federal Register and will go into effect on July 9. DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife began the SMZ process in 2011 to limit fishing gear permitted on the four reefs and thereby emlinate gear conflicts between commercial and recreational fishing and to ensure compliance with restrictions under the Federal Sport Fish Restoration program recreational fishing funding used to establish the reefs. Click here for more information.
Blueline tilefish regulation changes in effect (June 12)
DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds anglers of emergency management measures for the blueline tilefish fishery that went effect June 4. The purpose of the emergency action is to limit mortality on unregulated blueline tilefish. The measures are for vessels fishing north of the Virginia - North Carolina border and limit commercial possession to 300 pounds per trip, recreational limit of 7 fish per trip and requires commercial and charter/party vessels must hold a valid open access golden tilefish permit to land blueline tilefish. Click here for more information on the emergency action. Click here for information regarding an upcoming public hearing on blueline tilefish regualtions.
Recreational striped bass regulation changes (May 7)
DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds anglers that the new recreational striped bass regulation will take effect May 11. The revised regulation brings Delaware into compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Fisheries Management Plan, which now requires a 25-percent reduction in both the recreational and commercial striped bass harvests in 2015. The new regulation reduces recreational harvest through changes in size limits, but maintains Delaware’s current seasons and possession limits. Click here for more information.
Black sea bass season adjusted (May 6)
DOVER – DNREC Secretary David Small has signed an Emergency Order changing the opening day of recreational black sea bass season to May 15 rather than the previously established May 19 date, thereby keeping Delaware’s tidal finfish regulations consistent with revised federal recreational black sea bass season regulations published March 25. Click here for more information.
Downstate trout season opener postponed until March 14 (March 5)
DOVER – Due to the recent extreme cold and today’s winter storm as forecast by the National Weather Service, the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife has postponed opening day of downstate trout season by one week, from 7 a.m. Saturday, March 7 to Saturday, March 14 at Tidbury Pond near Dover and Newton Pond near Greenwood. Both ponds will now remain closed to any fishing until March 14 in preparation for the new opening day. Click here for more information.
Archived Fisheries News
2014Black sea bass season extended (September 18)
DOVER – Effective September 18, 2014, the recreational fishing season for black sea bass has been extended. The fishery has been extended 3 days and will run through September 21, at which time it will again close and reopen on October 18 and remain open until December 31. A new creel limit of 15 fish is also inplace with the minimum size remaining 12.5 inches. Division of Fish & Wildlife amended the regulations for fishing for black sea bass to meet the requirements of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission.
New summer flounder regulations in effect (May 2)
DOVER – Effective May 11, 2014, the Division of Fish & Wildlife amended the regulations for fishing for summer flounder to meet the requirements of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission. Recreational anglers fishing for summer flounder will be able to keep smaller fish beginning Sunday May 11. The changes allow anglers to keep four fish per day with a minimum size of 16 inches. For more information click the here.
New black sea bass regulations in effect (May 2)
DOVER – Effective January 1, 2014, in accordance with state regulation adopted November 11, 2013, the recreational fishing season for black sea bass is closed. The fishery will reopen on May 19 and run through September 18, at which time it will again close and reopen on October 18 and remain open until December 31. A new creel limit of 15 fish is also inplace with the minimum size remaining 12.5 inches. Division of Fish & Wildlife amended the regulations for fishing for black sea bass to meet the requirements of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission. For more information click the here.
Recreational hand or rake harvest of conchs is prohibited (August 9)
DOVER - The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind recreational fishermen that the harvest of “conchs” (channeled whelk Busycotypus canaliculatus and knobbed whelk Busycon carica) by hand or rake methods of take is strictly prohibited. Recreational harvest of conch is permitted with the use of conch pots in accordance with Delaware Code Title 7, Chapter 28 and DNREC Administrative Code 3710.
A limit of 2 recreational conch pots per person is permitted. Conch pots are to be marked with a float that is white in color and labeled with the fisherman’s name and address. The minimum size for channeled conch is 6” in length or 3 1/8” in diameter at the whorl. The minimum size for knobbed conch is 6” in length or 3 ½” in diameter at the whorl. The daily possession limit for both species is 5 bushels. A recreational fishing license is also required to recreationally harvest conch.
For more information contact the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.
New summer flounder regulations in effect (June 7)
DOVER – Effective June 11, 2013, the Division of Fish & Wildlife amended the regulations for fishing for summer flounder. The new regulations make it unlawful for anyone to possess any summer flounder measuring less than 17 inches in total length and no closed season. More information can be viewed here.
Restocking of Records Pond (March 6)
DOVER – The Division of Fish & Wildlife is in the process of restocking Records Pond. In anticipation of Hurricane Sandy last fall, Records Pond was drawn down to stream level which resulted in many of the fish washing down to Broad Creek. More information can be viewed here.
Public hearings for invasive species and summer flounder set for March 21 (February 20)
DOVER – The Division of Fish & Wildlife will hold public hearings on regulations concerning invasive species and summer flounder on March 21 beginning at 6 p.m. in the DNREC Auditroium, located at the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901. The invasive species public hearing will start at 6 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to focus on a proposed addition to the state’s tidal finfish regulations to include definitions and measures designed to control invasive finfish species in Delaware’s tidal waters. More information can be viewed here.
The summer flounder public hearing is scheduled for 6:30p.m. and will follow the meeting on invasive species. This public hearing is to discuss proposed amendments to the State's tidal finfish regulations regarding summer flounder. More information can be viewed by clicking here.
Trout stocking schedule released (February 13)
DOVER – The 2013 trout stocking schedule has been released for the upcoming season. Trout fishing in two downstate ponds opens on March 2 with the New Castle County streams opening April 6. The trout stocking schedule can be viewed in the fishing guide at the following link.
Public hearing for black sea bass regulations set for August 30 (August 10)
DOVER – The Division of Fish & Wildlife will hold a public hearing on black sea bass regulations Thursday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. in the DNREC Auditorium, located at the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901. The purpose of this action is to formally adopt the full provisions of the federal rule for the recreational black sea bass fishery and remain compliant with Addendum XXII by amending Tidal Finfish Regulation 3507 Black Sea Bass Size Limit; Trip Limits; Seasons; Quotas through the normal regulatory process. The federal rule establishes a 12.5-inch minimum size limit; an open season from January 1 through February 28 with a corresponding 15-fish per person possession limit; and open seasons from May 19 through October 14 and from November 1 through December 31 with corresponding 25-fish per person possession limits.
New tautog regulations in effect (August 10)
DOVER – Effective August 11, 2012, the Division of Fish & Wildlife admended the regulations for fishing for tautog. The new regulations make it unlawful for any person to possess any tautog measuring less than 15 inches in total length. All other current regulations pertaining to season and creel limits for tautog remain in effect. The complete Tidal Finfish Regulation 3531 can be viewed at the following link.
Trout stocking schedule released (February 14)
DOVER – The 2012 trout stocking schedule has been released for the upcoming season. Trout fishing in two downstate ponds opens on March 3 with the New Castle County streams opening April 7. The trout stocking schedule can be viewed at the following link.
Admended regulations announced for tautog and river herring (February 11)
Final amended regulations for tautog and river herring have been published and will become effective on Saturday, February 11. Additional information can be viewed at the following link.
Summer flounder regulations remain in effect (February 10)
Summer flounder regualtions for the upcoming fishing season will remain the same as the 2011 regulations. The minimum size will be 18 inches, with a creel limit of four fish, and the season will be closed from October 24 - December 31.