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 bay is still pretty cold, but I did have one report of white perch caught from shore at Bowers Beach. As we get more mild weather I expect to see more anglers soaking bloodworms and grass shrimp from New Castle down to Broadkill Beach and catching white perch. The C&D Canal should begin to produce catfish as will Reedy Point.

White Perch

I also had reports from the Broadkill River of white perch and catfish. The perch hit grass shrimp and bloodworms while the catfish went after cut bunker. I am sure the other tidal rivers and creeks hold perch and catfish and these will begin to produce as we get closer to spring.

Inshore Ocean

When boats can get out they continue to catch big tog. I am happy to see some anglers tagging and releasing the large females so those fish can spawn and continue the good fishing we enjoy.

Offshore Ocean

No reportTautog

Indian River Inlet

Still no reports of anything from here.

Surf Fishing

No report.


Newton Pond near Greenwood and Tidbury Pond in Dover were to be restocked with trout on March 14th. I would expect to see a good crowd at both locations on Saturday, but not as many as we saw on opening day. I think there will be room for fishermen along the banks and the trout should be hungry.

Pickerel are still active in the ponds and the upper reaches of the tidal rivers and creeks. Bass have been taken from the same waters. The spillways hold crappie and should be seeing the first run of herring. Remember, you cannot keep any river herring (statewide) and the harvest of American and hickory shad is prohibited in the Nanticoke River and its tributaries.

Rainbow trout

Chain Pickerel

American Shad

Blueback herring

Back in the Day

Back in the 1950s, when I was but a wee lad, I would fish for herring and American shad, that we called white shad, at the Laurel spillway. There was no fishing pier then and we either stood on a piece of busted concrete at the edge of the spillway or on the grate where the water ran out of the dam.

The only bait we used were shad darts and we tied them on one above the other. You would cast across the current and let out line until your darts were back to the calm water. Then you worked them through the rips and on almost every cast you caught at least one and sometimes two herring.

The big thrill came when you hooked a shad. These fish would weigh up to five pounds and jumped like tarpon. They were exciting to catch, especially for a boy who hadn’t caught anything much bigger than a sunfish.

I tried keeping some herring, but they were too boney for our taste. The roe however, was delicious. The same for the shad. Since you can only eat so much roe, most of the shad and herring were released.

Now you can’t keep any of those fish in the Nanticoke River system. Hopefully, the Department’s American shad hatchery production will help change that in the near future. I haven’t seen a white shad in years and the last one I caught was from the Delaware River in New York. And so it goes.

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