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Delaware requires a fishing license for fresh and tidal waters


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Delaware's fishing license, which must be purchased annually by recreational anglers, covers both fresh and tidal waters.

In addition to the license, recreational anglers (and shellfishers) also need a Delaware-issued Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number. If you purchased your fishing license (with the exception of the Non-Resident Boat Fishing License), your FIN number was automatically generated and appears on your license with no further FIN registration necessary. If you are exempt from the fishing license requirement (e.g. Residents age 65 or over), you can obtain a free FIN at or by calling 800-432-9228.

Anglers also need to be aware of license costs: for residents, $8.50 whether fishing fresh or tidal waters, but priced higher for non-residents who will fish either fresh or salt water.

The Delaware license for both fresh and tidal waters is also valid for recreational crabbing and clamming. There are fees for charter boats and head boats, and an option for a recreational boat fishing license.

The fee for an annual resident fishing license remains $8.50. The non-resident fee is $20 per year, while the seven-day tourist license is $12.50. Each of these license options entitles the holder to fish in any of Delaware's waters, as well crabbing and clamming. Licenses are good for the calendar year.

The charter boat fee, for a vessel hired on a per-trip basis, will cost $150 annually for resident charter boat owners and $300 for non-resident owners. A head boat license, for a vessel hired on a per-person basis, will cost $300 annually for residents and $600 for non-residents. Both the charter and head boat fishing licenses will cover the license holder as well as all persons fishing from the licensed vessel.

Having a boat fishing license is an option that means anyone fishing on that boat will not need a separate fishing license. Thus a boat owner can hold a boat fishing license that takes the place of a fishing license for everyone aboard his vessel. A resident who buys a boat fishing license also will be given a regular fishing license to use anywhere in the state. Non-resident holders of boat fishing licenses will need to purchase a non-resident fishing license to fish elsewhere in Delaware when not aboard their vessels. (See frequently asked questions for more information about the boat fishing license.)

Residents and non-residents are exempt from fishing license requirements if they are the operator of a vehicle with a valid Delaware surf fishing vehicle permit as long as the vehicle is located on a designated Delaware State Park surf fishing area. Normal licensing provisions will apply to other occupants of that vehicle if they are fishing.

Children under the age of 16 and senior residents 65 and older are exempt from the new licensing provisions.

Under state and federal law, all fishing license revenue must be dedicated to the Division of Fish and Wildlife for fishing-related projects and cannot be diverted for other uses. The new law also establishes the Council on Recreational Fishing Funding, with seven voting members to be appointed by the Governor to advise the Division on expenditure of recreational fishing license funds generated. The Council, which will also have three non-voting members (two from the General Assembly and one from the Division), will meet once or twice a year.

The new licenses will be available at licensing agents statewide and online January 1 of each year. For more information or to obtain a fishing license, please call 302-739-9918.

Delaware fishing license costs

License Type License Fee Agent Fee Maximum Cost
Resident fishing (Age 16-64) $8.50 $2.50 $11
Non-resident fishing (Age 16 and over) $20 $2.50 $22.50
7-Day Non-resident fishing (Age 16 and over) $12.50 $2.50 $15
Resident Trout Stamp (Age 16-64) $4.20 $1 $5.20
Non-resident Trout Stamp (Age 12 and over) $6.20 $1 $7.20
Young Angler Trout Stamp (Age 12-15) $2.10 $1 $3.10
*Resident boat fishing (20' vessel and below) $40 $2.50 $42.50
*Resident boat fishing (Vessel over 20') $50 $2.50 $52.50
*Resident head-boat license $300
*Resident charterboat license $150
*Non-resident boat fishing license (20' vessel and below) $40 $2.50 $42.50
*Non-resident boat fishing license (Vessel over 20') $50 $2.50 $52.50
*Non-resident head-boat license $600
*Non-resident charter boat license $300

* New licenses

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