Seasons by Species

SPECIES OPEN SEASON MINIMUM SIZE DAILY LIMIT
American Eel All year 9 inches 25
American Shad Closed Nanticoke R. & its tribs.; Open all year elsewhere No Size Limit 2 American shad
Hickory Shad Closed Nanticoke R. & its tribs.; Open all year elsewhere No Size Limit 10 Hickory shad
Atlantic Croaker All year 8 inches No Daily Limit
Atlantic Sturgeon Endangered - no harvest permitted (see also Sport Fishing Tournament) N/A N/A
Black Drum All year 16 inches 3
Black Sea Bass May 15 – Sep. 30, Oct. 10 – Dec. 31 13 inches 15
Bluefish All year No Size Limit 3 – fishing from a private vessel or shore; 5 – fishing from a charter boat or headboat
Catfish (any species) All year No Size Limit No Daily Limit
Cobia All year 37 inches 1 per angler or 1 per vessel
Red Drum All year 20 - 27 inches may be retained 5
River herring (alewife & blueback) Closed - no harvest permitted N/A N/A
Scup All year 8 inches 40
Spanish Mackerel All year 14 inches 15
Spot TBD (Refer to the electronic version of Delaware’s fishing guide at www.fw.delaware.gov, for updated regulatory changes as they occur) N/A N/A
Spotted Seatrout All year 12 inches No Daily Limit
Striped Bass All year, except catch & release only on spawning grounds Apr 1 - May 31 28 – 31 inches; except 20 - 25 inches only - Jul 1 - Aug 31 in the DE Bay, River and their tributaries. 1, except catch & release only on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31
Summer Flounder All year 16 inches 4
Tautog Jan. 1 - May 15 16 inches 4
July 1 - Dec. 31
Tilefish (Blueline) May 1 - Oct. 31 No Size Limit 3 - person from private vessel; 5 - person from US Coast Guard uninspected for-hire vessel; 7 - person from US Coast Guard inspected for-hire vessel
Tilefish (Golden) All year No Size Limit 8
Weakfish All year 13 inches 1
White perch All year 8 inches No Daily Limit
Winter flounder Feb. 11 - Apr. 10 12 inches 2
Blue Crab Pots: Mar. 1 - Nov. 30; other gears year around Peeler - 3 inches; Soft-shell - 3.5 inches; Hard-shell - 5 inches 1 bushel
Jonah Crab All year 4 3/4 inches 50
Hard Clams All year 1.5 inches 100/resident; 50/non-resident
Lobster All year 3 3/8 - 5 1/4 inches (slot) 2; V-notched prohibited
Conch All year Knobbed whelk: 5 inches / 3 inch whorl; Channeled whelk: 6 inches / 3.125 inch whorl 5 bushels
Sharks and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) - Special permit required for federal waters N/A N/A N/A
Smoothhound and Spiney Dogfish Shark All year No Size Limit No Daily Limit
Sandbar Shark Jan. 1 - May 14, July 16 - Dec. 31 54 inches FORK LENGTH 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 one additional Atlantic sharpnose per shore angler.
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark Jan. 1 - May 14, July 16 - Dec. 31 78 inches FORK LENGTH N/A
Shortfin Mako Shark All year 54 inches FORK LENGTH N/A
Blacknose Shark All year No Size Limit N/A
PROHIBITED SPECIES N/A N/A N/A
Dusky Shark N/A N/A N/A
Sand Tiger Shark N/A N/A N/A
SPECIAL RESTRICTIONS FOR SHARK N/A N/A N/A
Tunas and HMS - Special permit required N/A N/A N/A
Atlantic tunas, swordfish, and billfish *Special permit required - All private vessel owners/operators recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) for personal use in the Atlantic Ocean must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling Permit. Further limits and restrictions apply. Consult hmspermits.noaa.gov or call toll free (888) 872-8862 for specific information and permits. N/A N/A

Please note that the information for some species may change, so it's advisable to refer to the electronic version of Delaware’s fishing guide at www.fw.delaware.gov for updated regulatory changes as they occur.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.