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Delaware Fishing Report
When, Where, What and How They're Biting


By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: June 22, 2017

2017 Delaware Fishing GuideDELAWARE BAY The summertime trio of white perch, catfish and short rockfish is the staple of the upper bay. The shoreline, piers and tidal creeks and rivers including the C&D Canal all hold these fish. Some locations fish better on the flood and others on the ebb, so you have to learn what time is best in your area. Bloodworms work best for perch with catfish also interested in cut bunker or chicken livers.

On July 1, Delaware will open a rockfish season in Delaware Bay and its tributaries that allows anglers to keep two fish between 20 and 25 inches per day. The Lewes and Rehoboth Canal has a demarcation line at the Kings Highway Bridge.

From the reports I have been getting the slot action should be good. Bloodworms fished from shore or piers and bunker chunking at several popular locations such as the Yellow Can and the 6L Buoy can be expected to be successful.

There are some flounder being caught out of Bowers Beach and Lewes, with the various reef sites the best locations. To be successful you must jig with a bucktail directly over the hard structure which means you will make a few donations to Davy Jones.

There seem to be more trout over 13 inches caught this year. Boats from Lewes and Bowers Beach have been finding their patrons a one-fish limit on most trips. Kings and blowfish make up the remainder of the catch. A few larger trout have been caught at the Outer Wall, Ice Breakers, Mohawk and 14-Foot Light.

Since the big blues packed up and left town fishing from the pier at Cape Henlopen State Park has reverted to summertime action. Spot, croaker and kings have been caught on bloodworms.

Flounder fishing in the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal is slow, but a few quality fish have been caught including a 7.01-pound citation. Just like anywhere else, if you put in enough time you have a chance of catching some flatfish. It seems white Gulp! swimming mullets are mentioned quite often in the reports I receive.

  • ADVISORY: Summer Flounder Regulations: As of April 1, the minimum size for summer flounder in Delaware is 17 inches.The bag limit remains at four fish per day and the season runs for 365 days.

INSHORE OCEAN Flounder and sea bass have been caught at the Old Grounds, but both are spread out over a wide area. If you pick up a fish or two keep going back over that area until the bites stop. Bucktails and teasers decorated with Gulp!, squid or fish strips seem to work best on both flounder and sea bass.

Three of us fished there on Thursday and while we caught a fair number of sea bass and two flounder, the only keeper was one sea bass.  The water on the bottom was very cold and we also caught several small ling.

Reef sites 10 and 11 and the Del-Jersey-Land Reef also hold flounder and sea bass. These sites haven picked over pretty well, but the Del-Jersey-Land gave up a four-pound sea bass last week.

Trolling or jigging a spoon has produced small blues at Fenwick Island. The wrecks there also hold sea bass and flounder.

OFFSHORE OCEAN The Poorman’s Canyon was hot last week with excellent numbers of bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye tuna caught on the troll. The first white marlin were caught by boats from Indian River and Ocean City as well.

This weekend may be a bit different as the temperature break that was in the Poorman’s has probably moved. Temperature charts will get a lot of attention before the boats head out.

INDIAN RIVER INLET It is pretty slow at the Inlet and in the Back Bays. The occasional flounder is caught, but not much else.
Jetty jockeys have been connecting with one or two keeper rockfish every night by drifting sand fleas or casting bucktails

SURF FISHING I saw a few good catches of kings from the surf while other anglers complained they didn’t catch anything.  And so it goes.

FRESHWATER The ponds continue to produce bass, crappie and pickerel on lures and live bait.  If you want to have some fun try fishing very light tackle around the pond catching sunfish. Fly fishermen deprived of trout claim the sunfish is the next best thing in Delaware.

BALLOONS On Thursday I must have seen six or eight balloons on the water. I am sure these came from some birthday or graduation party and the people who let them fly had no idea the danger they present for birds, fish and turtles.

Please spread the word that balloons should never be released into the air. It may look like they fly away, but they land somewhere and if that is in the ocean there will be dead marine animals resulting.

 *Eric Burnley Sr. is a native Delawarean who has fished the waters of his home state for more than 60 years. He has been a full-time outdoor writer since 1978, with articles appearing in most national magazines as well as many regional publications. He has authored three books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast ,The Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass and Fishing Saltwater Baits.

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