General Fishing License
A fishing license is now required to fish in both tidal and non-tidal waters in Delaware. Non-tidal waters include lakes, ponds, impoundments and streams where the tides do not occur. Most non-tidal waters are fresh except for brackish water impoundments.
Delaware's fishing license may be obtained from DNREC's Dover office or from over 100 license agents, mostly sporting goods and hardware stores, throughout the state. Licenses can also be purchased online. Each holder of a fishing license must display the license on an outer garment while fishing. Any resident of Delaware who is 16 or older, but less than 65, is required to have a license to fish in non-tidal waters. Exemptions from fishing license requirements are found in the Delaware Code.
The fee for an annual resident fishing license remains $8.50. The non-resident fee was increased in 2008 from $15 to $20 per year, while the seven-day tourist license rose from $5.20 to $12.50. Each of these license options entitles the holder to fish in any of Delaware's waters, as well crabbing and clamming. With licenses good for the calendar year, enforcement for the new tidal license began Jan. 1, 2008.
All funds derived from the issuance of fishing licenses are dedicated to a special account for the purpose of matching and securing federal money alloted to Delaware under the provisions of the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act. Together, these funds support restoration, conservation, management and enhancement of sportfish and the provisions for public use and benefit from these resources.
Fisherman Information Network
Since 2009, recreational anglers fishing in Delaware waters have been required to call or go online annually to participate in Delaware's fishing registry by obtaining a Delaware FIN (Fisherman Information Network) number for all anglers 16 years and older. As of April 15, 2011, the required FIN number will be generated automatically on all individual fishing licenses sold through Delaware's electronic licensing systems. The new system applies only to anglers who purchase an individual fishing license. The three exemptions are: exempt anglers, non-resident boat fishing license holders who do not have an individual license, and individuals fishing on licensed boats who do not have an individual license. These anglers will still have to visit www.delaware-fin.com or anglers may also call, toll-free, 1-800-432-9228, any time of day, seven days a week. (Anglers needing live operator assistance may call 866-447-4626 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.) The FIN number will be required of both licensed and license exempt anglers, including anglers who fish on a boat that has a boat fishing license and who are not required to have a separate fishing license. Requiring a FIN number for anglers allows Delaware to comply with a new federal requirement for states to provide the Department of Commerce with an angler registry and thus avoid a federal license fee for Delaware.
For freshwater trout fishing, possession of a trout stamp also may be required (see Freshwater Trout Fishing Program).
For more information or to report a violation, call 1-800-523-3336.