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Recreational Fishing Size, Seasons, and Creel Limits for 2014-'15*

ADVISORY: The recreational black sea bass season has been extended and will remain open through September 21 and from October 18 through December 31.


* Regulations as of May 9, 2014

ADVISORY: A license is now required for hook and line recreational fishing in Delaware tidal waters.

It is illegal to fish for any species of game fish (see Gamefish and General Fishing Restrictions) with more than two hooks and lines, and each hook and line shall have no more than three separate lures with hooks.

2013 Recreational Fishing Size, Seasons, and Creel Limits

Non-tidal Waters

Recreational Minimum Size Limit
Recreational Season
Recreational Creel Limit per Angler
Bass, Largemouth
Largemouth Bass

12 inches
15 inches in Beck's Pond

Open Year Round 6
2 from Beck's Pond
Bass, Smallmouth
Smallmouth Bass
None between 12 - 17 inches Open Year Round 6 (no more than 1 > 17")

Striped bass hybrid
(only occur in Lums Pond)

15 inches Open Year Round 2

(bluegill, pumpkinseed, redear, crappie, yellow & white perch)

None Open Year Round 50 (no more than 25 of one species)
Trout (Freshwater)
Rainbow Trout
None Opens first Saturday in April 6 (4 in fly-fishing only waters)

Tidal Waters

Recreational Minimum Size Limit
Recreational Season
Recreational Creel Limit per Angler
American Eel
American Eel

6 inches

Open Year Round 50

Shad (Hickory and American)


Closed Nanticoke R. & its tribs

Open Year Round elswhere

10 in any combination
Croaker, Atlantic
Atlantic Croaker
8 inches Open Year Round None

 Atlantic sturgeon
Atlantic Sturgeon

Black drum
16 inches Open Year Round 3
Black sea bass
Black Sea Bass
12.5 inches


May 19 - Sep. 21
Oct. 18 - Dec. 31


None Open Year Round 10
Catfish (any species)
None Open Year Round None
Red drum
Red Drum

20-27 inches Open Year Round 5
River herring (alewife & blueback)
None Closed None
Scup (Porgy)
8 inches Open Year Round 50
Spanish MackerelSpanish Mackerel 14 inches Open Year Round 15
Spotted Seatrout
Spotted Seatrout
12 inches Open Year Round None
Striped Bass
Striped Bass
28”, except only 20-26" fish may be retained from July 1 - Aug. 31 in DE River, DE Bay & their tribs. Open Year Round 2, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31 (see Fishing Guide page 18)
Summer flounder
Summer Flounder
16 inches Open Year Round 4

15 inches

Jan. 1 - Mar. 31
April 1 - May 11
July 17 - Aug. 31
Sept. 29 - Dec. 31


Weakfish (Sea Trout)
Weakfish (Sea Trout)
13 inches Open Year Round 1
White Perch
White Perch
8 inches Open Year Round None
Winter flounder
Winter Flounder
12 inches Feb. 11 - Apr. 10 2


Recreational Minimum Size Limit
Recreational Season
Recreational Creel Limit per Angler
Blue Crabs
Blue Crab

Hard shell - 5”
Sof shell -
Peeler - 3"


Open Year Round
Pots: Mar 1 - Nov 30

1 Bushel
Clams, Hard
Hard Clams
1.5 inches Open Year Round 100 – resident; 50 - non-resident


3 3/8” Carapace length; female maximum length 5 1/4” Open Year Round 2 per diver; V-notched prohibited

*A special permit may be required for federal waters*

Recreational Season
Recreational Creel Limit per Angler
Spiny & smooth dogfishSmooth Dogfish

Open Year Round


Blacktip shark, bull shark, great hammerhead, lemon shark, nurse shark, scalloped hammerhead, silky shark, smooth hammerhead, spinner shark, tiger shark


Blue shark, oceanic white-tip shark, porbeagle, shortfin mako, thresher shark


Atlantic sharpnose shark, blacknose shark, bonnethead, finetooth shark


Jan.1 - May 14;
July 16 - Dec. 31





Open Year Round







Open Year Round

Boat anglers - only 1 shark  of any species per vessel, except 1 additional bonnethead and 1 additional Atlantic sharpnose per angler onboard vessel.





Shore anglers - only 1 shark of any species per angler, except 1 additional bonnethead and 1 additional Atlantic sharpnose per angler.

Sandbar shark, sand tiger shark, Atlantic angel shark, basking shark, bigeye sand tiger, bigeye sixgill shark, bigeye thresher, bignose shark, Caribbean reef shark, Caribbean sharpnose shark, dusky shark, Galapagos shark, longfin mako, narrowtooth shark, night shark, sevengill shark, sixgill shark, smalltail shark, whale shark, white shark



The sandbar & sand tiger are toothed sharks commonly taken in the nearshore waters of the state and are prohibited. Like all prohibited species, they must be immediately released to ensure the maximum probability of survival.

Special Restrictions for Shark

It is unlawful to fillet a shark prior to landing. A shark may be eviscerated prior to landing, but head, tail andfins must remain attached to the carcass.
It is unlawful to release a shark in a manner that will not ensure the sharks maximum probaility of survival.
It is unlawful to possess the fins from any shark prior to landing unless they are naturally attached to the body of the shark.

Highly Migratory Species
*A special permit required*

Atlantic tunas, swordfish and billfish

* - All private vessel owners/operators recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) for personanl use in the Atlantic Ocean must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling Permit.

Further limits and restrictions apply. Consult or call toll free (888) 872-8862 for specific information.

(Images courtesy of, or purchased from, artist Duane Raver and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Sandbar and sand tiger images adapted from Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the World. Parts 1 & 2 available courtesy of Lineart of other shark species from Bigelow, H.B. & W.C. Schroeder (1953) available courtesy of

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