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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.

Attention Hunters, Anglers, and Outdoor Enthusiasts:

People entering Delaware from out of state must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days before engaging in fishing, hunting, or golf, and before visiting state parks and wildlife areas or using boat ramps. The self-quarantine must begin at the time of entry into Delaware. Find more information on DNREC’s coronavirus response. Visit for statewide information and updates.

Delaware Bay

White perch and catfish are the only action I am hearing about in the tributaries of Delaware Bay and along the shoreline from Augustine to Woodland Beach. There are short rockfish mixed in with these fish so the use of circle hooks when fishing with bait, even in areas where they are not required, are highly recommended.

White Perch

Striped bass have to be on the way to their spawning grounds, but so far, the only reports I have seen were for small fish caught along with perch and catfish. Commercial fishermen have been getting some rockfish in the ocean, but I learned a long time ago that stripers will hit a net long before they will hit a bait or lure.

Broadkill Beach could see the first run of black drum in the next week or two. Last year sand fleas were the best bait.

Inshore Ocean

I have no reports from the ocean.

Offshore Ocean

No offshore report this week.

Indian River Inlet

Had a good report that tog were caught at the Inlet on Monday. Green crab was the best bait and the change of current from in to out was the best time to fish.

I went down to the Inlet on Tuesday to be greeted by 20-knot northeast winds and a screaming incoming current. I had hoped to make a few casts for short rockfish, but the Corps of Engineers are constructing a new handicap pier and had my favorite fishing spot marked off with yellow tape. The new pier looks to be a bit longer and has all new rails and a new deck. The section of the sidewalk that has been falling into the inlet for a couple of years is in even worse shape than it was last year.

Surf Fishing

Last Sunday, Governor Carney opened the state drive-on beaches to Delaware residents who have surf fishing permits. It is now our responsibility to behave in a manner that maintains social distancing and we must keep our vehicles at least 20 yards apart. Other restrictions include only two people per vehicle and they must be from the same household. People traveling from out of state must self-quarantine for 14 days so they cannot drive down and fish for a day and then drive home.

On Tuesday, I checked out a few access points along the northside from Dewey Beach to the Inlet and only the Faithful Steward was open. I understand Three Rs and South Bethany as well as Beach Plum Island at Broadkill Beach are also open.

Unfortunately, as soon as the governor opened the beaches a coastal storm moved in and made surf fishing all but impossible. Checking the marine forecast, it looks like seas running to 10 feet right through the weekend.


Freshwater fishing is still very good. Trout season in New Castle County opened early with a youth day on Tuesday followed by the regular season opening on Wednesday. I saw several photos of kids with nice stringers of fat trout caught on Tuesday and that is a great thing to see during these troubled times.

The fly-fishing-only section of White Clay Creek also produced well as I saw photos of nice trout taken there. According to the angler, there were a number of fly fishermen working those waters, but social distancing was not a problem.

Delaware ponds continue to produce a variety of fish. One report I received with photos showed a gentleman and his wife with bass, sunfish, pickerel and yellow perch. Mepps and Joe Flies spinners, suspending jerkbaits and Culprit Skinny Jerk plastic baits were the primary lures. The largest bass, a 17 incher, came on a small surface lure.

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