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


By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: March 26, 2015

2014 Delaware Fishing Guide

DELAWARE BAY A few keeper rockfish were caught from the lower Delaware River and the upper bay.  One was caught at Edgemoor and three were taken at Augustine Beach. All were 30-inch-class fish and all were caught on bloodworms.

White perch have been caught on bloodworms in numerous locations including Augustine Beach and the Woodland Beach Pier. The bite has been less than stellar due to the still cold water.

INSHORE OCEAN No reports of anything caught out here and with the forecast calling for more cold and wind I don’t think we will see much this weekend. The weather is supposed to moderate next week and that might encourage a few boats to try for tog.

This is just an uneducated guess, but in the past very cold winters have been followed by Boston mackerel runs. I did speak with two captains who agreed with this theory and will looking for any sign of mackerel when and if they can ever get away from the dock.

INDIAN RIVER INLET I did have reports of white perch from the Millsboro area, but nothing further east.  The first fish to move through the inlet will be hickory shad followed by bluefish and rock.

FRESHWATER As the downstate trout season goes, Newton and Tidbury ponds are completely stocked so fishing is as good as it’s going to get. A little mild weather would go a long way towards encouraging more anglers to get out and give the trout a try.

April 4 is the opening of trout season in New Castle County. No matter the weather there will be big crowds at every trout stream and lots of fish will be caught. I am hoping for warmer temps by then, but I do remember fishing in the snow on opening day.

The one good thing about freshwater fish is they can’t go very far. They are stuck in the ponds or rivers and since they have to eat they can be caught all year.

I have seen photos of bass, pickerel, perch and crappie taken from ponds with live minnows or shiners the most productive baits. The tidal rivers and creeks are producing the same fish on the same baits.

TIDE AND CURRENT I have addressed this subject before, but since it is so important to all types of saltwater fishing I believe a review is warranted. Tide and current not only control the fish, they also control when and where an angler can expect to find success.

Tides move up and down while currents move in and out. As a general rule the current will change direction sometime after the tide reaches its high or low mark.  The time between current changes will see a decrease in the speed of the current until it goes slack for a very short time before it begins to run the other way.
No place in Delaware demonstrates this better than Indian River Inlet. There the change of the current and tide can be observed every six hours.

The moon controls the tide and the tide controls the current. New and full moons create the highest and lowest tides and the strongest currents. This can be a good thing when fishing rips where the higher and lower tides create stronger currents mixing up the bait and attracting larger fish.  It is not such a good thing for bottom fishermen who can’t keep and bait down no matter how much weight they use.

Most fish will feed while facing into the current. This is because they get all their information from the water passing by so by facing into the current they get the maximum amount of information. Current will also move the bait to them so they have to expand less energy when feeding.  Striped bass will often use structure such as bridge pilings to get out of the current while still being able to detect food moving past.

Those who fish Indian River or Rehoboth bays know that higher tides will bring flounder up on the shallow areas especially in the spring when the shallow water warms first. I have caught flounder in locations where the bottom was plainly visible, while others fishing the deeper channels did not fare as well. Over the years I have found a live minnow on a plain hook fished without any weight is the most effective presentation for shallow-water flounder.

I doesn’t matter where you fish, the tide and current will dictate your chances for success. Personal observation over time will bring the education you'll require to make the correct decisions.

*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 two books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast and The Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass.

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