Freshwater Fishing Regulations in Delaware
While this summary provides an overview of key regulations, it's the responsibility of each angler to familiarize themselves with all applicable laws and updates. For comprehensive rules and any new changes, consult the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife's website or contact the Director's office.
Fishing Equipment and Methods
- Hook and Line: Up to 3 hooks or 3 separate lures with hooks per line.
- Lines: When not ice fishing, a maximum of 2 hooks and lines per person in non-tidal waters.
- Dip Net: Allowed for landing freshwater finfish caught by hook and line.
- Bow and Arrow/Spear: Carp and snakehead fish may be taken using these methods except in State Park ponds or Becks Pond.
Restrictions and Protections
- Sale of Finfish: Selling, trading, or bartering finfish from non-tidal waters is illegal without a permit.
- Shad Fishing: Only by hook and line with no more than two (2) lures, each having only one (1) single pointed hook.
- Snagging: Knowingly snagging fish in non-tidal waters with any hook is illegal.
- Fish Ladder Protection: No fishing within ten (10) feet of fish ladder entrances/exits between March 15 and May 30, nor removing fish from any fish ladder.
Closure of Department Ponds During Draw-downs
It is illegal for any person to fish in ponds or lakes managed by the Department when the water level is reduced for any purpose, given that it is appropriately indicated with signs stating closure to fishing. This measure is often taken for maintenance or ecological reasons and is essential for safety and preservation efforts.
Speed and Wake of Motorboats on Division Ponds
All motorized vessels operating in ponds or lakes overseen by the Division must maintain a slow-no-wake speed. This rule is designed to ensure safety, reduce shoreline erosion, and minimize disturbance to wildlife and other recreational users.