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


By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: March 16, 2017

2017 Delaware Fishing GuideDELAWARE BAY To the best of my knowledge, no one fished the open bay last week. The winds were howling and the air temperature was very cold for most of the week leaving shoreline fishing the only game in town. Even the banks and bridges along the tidal creeks and rivers were out in the open making for some very hardy anglers.

The white perch were active and several nice catches of fish up to a pound were made along the shoreline from New Castle to Port Mahon. Bloodworms were the top bait. Since the chance of catching a short striper along with the perch is pretty high I would recommend using circle hooks. These hooks make it easy to release the fish and will become mandatory on the first of next month when fishing with bait from the C&D Canal to the Pennsylvania line.

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

INSHORE OCEAN Boats are finding some tog when the weather allows them to clear the inlet. While limits are rare, some of the tog top the five-pound mark. I have no reports of any Boston mackerel.

INDIAN RIVER INLET Cold water plus cold weather has made fishing here very difficult. The occasional short rockfish has been caught. The beach is equally dead.

FRESHWATER April 1 will see the opening of Delaware’s trout season in New Castle County. Five streams will be stocked and all the streams are currently closed to all fishing until opening day at 7:30 a.m.

Bass and crappie have been caught from ponds on live minnows and shiners. The two downstate ponds that were stocked with trout continue to disappoint most anglers. I did see some trout caught from Newton Pond right after the last stocking.

TROUT SEASON Those old timers who have been fishing Delaware’s trout season already have their spots picked out and have a game plan for catching a quick six-fish limit. If you are new to this game and perhaps have a youngster to take along I will give you a few suggestions.

White Clay Creek is hands down the number one location on opening day.  This creek receives the most trout and the most anglers. If you don’t mind crowds and can hold your position once the catching begins, this is the place for you.

If you prefer a more civilized location with plenty of fish and easy access you do have other choices. The park in Newark provides good access and plenty of parking for anglers who want to fish the Christina Creek. The bridge over the same creek on Barksdale Road in Newark is also a good choice.

Access is limited to Pike Creek and Mill Creek, but you can find fishing locations and some parking along their shores. Please be careful and do not trespass on private land or park where your car may receive a ticket.

My personal favorite is Wilson Run in Brandywine Creek State Park. This is where I took my two sons on opening day and we usually caught fish. There is good access to the water, plenty of free parking and even rest rooms.

Beaver Run is where I caught my first trout in the 1950s long before Delaware had a stocking program. I suspect it somehow managed to get there from a Pennsylvania stocking program that put fish in or near the Brandywine Creek.

I rode my bike from Claymont to Beaver Valley and, to tell the truth, that may be the best way to get there today. Parking is very limited along the creek, but is available where Beaver Run empties into the Brandywine.

As for bait and technique, I go with something yellow and round. Berkley trout bait, corn, grubs, earthworms or small, yellow twister tails on a crappie jig.

It seems the bite is best at the opening bell and as more fish are caught the remainder of the stocked trout become a bit cautious. I suggest arriving no later than 7 a.m. to stake out your spot and be ready for the fun to begin.

 *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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