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


By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: Oct. 12, 2017

2017 Delaware Fishing GuideDELAWARE BAY Bay fishing has been pretty good for those who fish the Outer and Inner walls, the Ice Breakers and other hard structure. Sheepshead to 16 pounds have been caught on green crabs and sand fleas from these locations. A few keeper tog and lots of shorts are in the same areas on the same baits.

Little bluefish are all over the bay up as far as Bowers Beach. These fish will hit just about anything, but the vast majority are much too small to keep.

The fishing pier on Cape Henlopen State Park has seen a few keeper flounder caught on live mullet fished close to the pilings. Lots of small bluefish and some larger spot visit the pier each day.

Flounder have also been caught out of Bowers Beach on squid and minnow combinations.  Most of these fish are too small to keep, but there are some of the larger fish available.
Keeper-sized trout have been caught in various locations from the walls to the reef sites. Most are caught while fishing for other species so they are taking a wide variety of bait.

White perch, short rockfish and catfish inhabit all the tidal rivers and creeks from Claymont to Port Mahon. Bottom fishing with bloodworms, peeler crab and cut mullet or bunker has accounted for most of these fish. We have had reports of keeper rockfish caught on peeler crab out of the Leipsic River and Duck Creek.

  • 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 The ocean has been a bit bumpy so not too many boats have been fishing there. The last good report we had was plenty of bluefish at the Fenwick Island wrecks. The top techniques have been trolling or jigging with metal lures. Some triggerfish were caught while bottom fishing over the same structure.

OFFSHORE OCEAN Very few boats have reached the offshore grounds over the past week. Those who made the run found dolphin and a few tuna on the troll. Bottom fishing has been good for tilefish.

INDIAN RIVER INLET Small tog have been caught here with a few keepers on sand fleas and green crabs. Still lots of tiny bluefish on metal lures.

SURF FISHING The Delaware Mobile Surf Fisherman’s Tournament was held last weekend and while fishing was slow contestants did catch flounder, blues and kings. The largest two flounder measured over 18 inches.

FRESHWATER With the continued warm weather the ponds are not cooling down and many have lots of weeds and other vegetation. I suspect the larger bass will be somewhere in this stuff waiting for your Scum Frog, chatterbait or jig.

The upper reaches of the tidal rivers and creeks should hold bass, crappie and pickerel. White perch and catfish will also be available.

FIRST AID KITS First aid is something you don’t think about until you need it. Since I have been on blood thinners every little nick bleeds like a stuck pig and requires some sort of Band-Aid to stem the flow. Fortunately, I finally learned to carry my own first aid stuff and not depend on the kindness of others.

I make sure my kit contains some Band Aids, gauze, tape and antiseptic. I keep a much larger first aid kit in my boat and truck, but these few items will keep me from bleeding all over my friend’s boat until we get back to the dock.

All boats must have a first aid kit and charter captains must take a first aid course. If you have never had such a course this winter would be a good time to enroll. While you are at it, enroll in a boating safety course as well.

 *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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