Delaware Fishing Report

The weekly Delaware Fishing Report offers information on when to fish, where to fish, which species are biting, and how to catch them. It is written by veteran Delaware angler Eric Burnley, Sr.

Delaware Bay

The cold and windy weather has cut down the number of people fishing in the bay and the lack of rockfish hasn’t helped. Should we get a run of migratory rockfish at the mouth of the bay or even up as far as the Miah Maull Shoal you would see anglers dressed up in several layers of clothing braving freezing temperatures and rough seas for a chance to catch a real trophy.

White Perch

On mild weather days, white perch have been caught out of the tidal rivers and creeks. Bloodworms remain the best bait, but may become scarce as the mud flats up north freeze over.

Tog catches at the Outer Wall have been good, but keepers have been rare. The catch rate is still 10 shorts to every one keeper. Green crabs and sand fleas remain the top baits.

Inshore Ocean

The tog fishing has been inconsistent. On Wednesday, one boat out of Lewes had eight keepers while another from the same port had a boat limit to 10 pounds.

Striped Bass (Rockfish)

Rockfish action has been pretty good for folks that travel north to Wildwood or Sea Isle City, New Jersey. Fish to 38 pounds were caught last week in this area, but most were in the 28 to 34-inch range.

Offshore Ocean

No reports from here last week.

Indian River Inlet

Nothing has changed here. Still small tog and short rockfish.

Surf Fishing

Lots of spiny dogs and a few short rock from the beach.


The cold and windy weather has discouraged even the most dedicated angler from working the ponds and tidal rivers. I am sure we will see milder temperatures before the month is over and anglers will once again hit the water.

Cold Air, Cold Water

The water temperature in the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean has dropped below 50 degrees and with air temperatures in the 30s you are looking at hypothermia problems just running the boat and getting hit by the spray.

I had a friend who was caught out in the Chesapeake Bay during late fall in a sudden wind shift from southwest to northwest and an increase to 25 to 30 knots. Their home port had them running into the seas until the waves knocked out the windshield. My friend realized they were beginning to suffer from hypothermia and turned the boat around and ran to another port. They arrived safely. A bit chilled, but safe.

During this time of year you want to think long and hard before you head out to open water. Center console boats have little protection from the elements and even when the anglers are dressed properly, they can suffer from hypothermia.

Should the worst happen and someone falls overboard, they will have just minutes before they lose their ability to move. This is why everyone should always wear their PFD.

Eric Burnley, Sr. is a native Delawarean who has fished local waters for more than 60 years. Eric Burnley has been a full-time outdoor writer since 1978, with articles appearing in most national magazines as well as many regional publications. He has written three books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass, and Fishing Saltwater Baits