Delaware.gov logo
Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker

 Pages Categorized With: "Fish and Wildlife"

Artificial Reef Program

Delaware has 14 permitted artificial reef sites in Delaware Bay and along the Atlantic Coast. Cleaned and stable construction materials, boats, and subway cars create new habitat. They support expanded recreational fishing and diving. Development


Invasive Aquatic Species

Delaware, along with other states in the Mid-Atlantic Region, has been invaded by non-native aquatic species that pose a threat to native species, to ecological processes, and to the economy. An invasive species is a non-native species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental


Research and Monitoring

Biologists from the Division of Fish and Wildlife keep track of the state’s fish populations. They work on Delaware’s rivers, ponds, estuaries, the Delaware Bay, and coastal waters and study how different species are faring. What Fisheries Biologists Do Fisheries Biologist John Clark captured and tagged this


Resources for Delaware Pond Owners

Many small “farm” ponds in Delaware provide important recreational opportunities. Children may catch their first bluegill from such a pond. Ponds provide aesthetic beauty, irrigation, fire safety in rural areas, and wildlife habitat.

Contact Us

Fisheries Office 302-735-8650


Gamefish and Freshwater Fishing Restrictions

Gamefish are found in either tidal or non-tidal freshwater in Delaware. Gamefish taken from Delaware waters cannot legally be sold, traded or bartered unless authorized by permit. The following restrictions apply to fishing for gamefish and in general for fishing in all non-tidal waters. For more information, or to report a violation, call 1-800-523-3336


Largemouth Bass Tournaments

Largemouth Bass fishing tournaments are popular in Delaware’s public ponds and tidal rivers. Most events are held between April and November. Data collected during the tournaments is useful to biologists that manage bass populations.
Get a Tournament Permit


Aquatic Plants and Herbicides

The Division of Fish and Wildlife gets many questions about about aquatic plant problems in small ponds. White-waterlily (Nymphaea odorata) Aquatic plants provide habitat for fish and small pond creatures. According to biologists, plant cover between 20 and 40 percent is ideal for


Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

DNREC’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) is an educational program offering hands-on workshops to encourage and enhance participation in outdoor activities like hunting and shooting sports, fishing and boating, and non-harvest activities.
We regret to announce that, because of forecast inclement weather, the 2023 edition of Becoming and Outdoors Woman has


Hunter Education Training Centers and Ranges

There are hunter education training centers in all three Delaware counties, and shooting ranges in Kent and New Castle Counties.

Contact Us

Office of Hunter Education 6180 Hay Point Landing Road Smyrna, DE 19977 302-735-3600 x 1 HunterEducation@delaware.gov


Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor Program

The Delaware Hunter Education Program needs you to help prepare the next generation and other newcomers to hunting or trapping for a safe and enjoyable hunting future.

Contact Us

Robert Brennan Hunter Education Coordinator 302-735-3600


Hunter Education Courses

The Hunter Education Program offers a variety of classes, both basic and advanced. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most hunter education classes are only available online.

Contact Us

Office of Hunter Education 6180 Hay Point Landing Road Smyrna, DE 19977


Hunter Education Course Calendar

The Hunter Education Program offers a variety of classes, both basic and advanced. Basic hunter education classes are available in person or online. Live classes run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Use the Digital DNREC Hunter Education system to register for hunter education courses, print hunter education cards, and manage your profile.


Delaware Master Hunter Program

The Delaware Master Hunter Program is not for beginners. Your hunting license was only the beginning. And you aren’t a beginner any more. In fact, you’ve been at this outdoors pursuit called hunting for a long time and have a wealth of experience to show for it.



Hunter Education

The Delaware Hunter Education Program is committed to putting safe, ethical and educated hunters in the field. Since 1970, it has continued Delaware’s tradition of fair chase hunting by educating and developing responsible, involved, safe and knowledgeable hunters for the future of The First State.
[panel type=”success” heading=”Contact


Shellfish Aquaculture

The Division of Fish and Wildlife makes acreage in the Inland Bays available for leases for shellfish aquaculture.

Contact Us

Zina Hense Environmental Scientist 302-739-4782
Regulations Questions and Answers [button


About the Division of Fish and Wildlife

We Bring You Delaware’s Great Outdoors through Science and Service   What We Do Manage the state’s fish and wildlife resources. Enforce laws and regulations designed to protect and conserve these resources. Provide hunter and boater safety education programs. Provide environmental education


History of the Sport Fishing Tournament

The Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament began in the late 1930s when the Board of Game and Fish Commissioners arranged a fishing contest. They wanted to increase interest in fresh and saltwater hook-and-line fishing in Delaware.
Sport Fishing Tournament Menu


Tournament Sizes

This page lists the minimum weights and lengths for fish to be eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament. Information on state records for freshwater and saltwater catches is also available.
Sport Fishing Tournament Menu
  • Tournament Home


    Collectible Lapel Pins

    Anglers who make record trophy catches in the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament are awarded collectible lapel pins to mark their achievements.
    Sport Fishing Tournament Menu
  • Tournament Home
  • Tournament Rules
  • Tournament History


    Tournament Youth Division

    The Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament has added a Youth Division for anglers aged fifteen and younger. There is also a Youth Division of the Live Release Award program.
    Sport Fishing Tournament Menu
  • Tournament Home



  • Live Release Entry Form

    The Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament includes awards for catching and releasing eligible species. The Live Release Award is open to both adult and youth anglers.
    Sport Fishing Tournament Menu
  • Tournament Home
  • Tournament Rules



  • Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament

    The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife sponsors the annual Sport Fishing Tournament to promote recreational fishing in Delaware. The tournament recognizes both young and adult anglers for outstanding catches.
    Sport Fishing Tournament Menu Tournament Home


    Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament Rules

    The following rules apply to the annual Delaware Sport Fishing tournament, including the Youth Division.
    Sport Fishing Tournament Menu
  • Tournament Home
  • Tournament History
  • Tournament Youth


    Delaware Elite Anglers

    Delaware’s Elite Anglers are the select few who have received Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament citations for five different species within one calendar year. A once-in-a lifetime award, the Delaware Elite Angler is the most esteemed level of angling accomplishment that the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes.


    Tournament Weigh Stations

    There are official Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament weigh stations throughout the state where anglers can have their catch weighed.
    Sport Fishing Tournament Menu
  • Tournament Home
  • Tournament Rules
  • Tournament History
  • [dropdown-item


    Delaware Fishing Records

    This page lists each current Delaware record fish as well as the anglers who hooked, fought and landed them. Eighteen freshwater species and thirty saltwater species of trophy fish have been recognized as state records in Delaware. These fish are the largest specimens documented to have been caught by rod and reel. If you


    Council on Recreational Fishing Funding

    The Council on Recreational Fishing Funding was created in 2007 and serves in an advisory capacity to the Director of Fish and Wildlife. It considers matters relating to funding fishery-related projects as well as fishery-related construction priorities for the expenditure of funds generated from the sale of recreational fishing licenses. [column md=”5″ xclass=”col-xs=-12 col-lg-4


    Advisory Council on Shell Fisheries

    The Advisory Council on Shell Fisheries was created in 1953 and serves in an advisory capacity to the Director of Fish and Wildlife. It considers matters relating to the control and direction of the shellfish industry and the protection, conservation and propagation of shellfish of this State, and such matters as may be referred to


    Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish

    The Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish was created in 1953 as the Council on Game and Fish. It serves in an advisory capacity to the Director of the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife.

    Contact Us

    Danielle Patone Recording


    Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries

    The Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries was created in 1984 to advise the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and represent both the commercial and recreational interests in the state’s regulation of finfish.

    Contact Us

    Rebecca Hoover Recording Secretary 302-739-9914



    Fish and Wildlife Advisory Councils

    Delaware state law establishes several councils to advise the Director of Fish and Wildlife on matters relating to fisheries, recreational fishing, wildlife and hunting, and shell fisheries.
    Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish Council


    Contact Information

    Patrick J. Emory, Director 89 Kings HighwayDover, DE 19901302-739-9910patrick.emory@delaware.gov
    Frequently-Called Phone Numbers Boat Registration: 302-739-9916 Recreational Licenses, Permits, Passes, and Stamps: 302-739-9918 Boater Education: 302-739-9915 Hunter Education: 302-735-3600 (Ext. 1) Nuisance Animals: 302-739-9912 Report Fishing Violations: 1-800-523-3336 Operation Game Theft: 1-800-292-3030



    Licenses and Permits

    The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife manages licenses, permits, registrations, stamps and conservation access passes related to fishing, hunting, boating, and the use of state wildlife areas. There are hunter safety and boating safety education requirements that must be met. Manage Your Recreational Licenses on Digital DNREC [column md=”5″ xclass=”col-xs-12 col-lg-5


    Fish and Wildlife License Agents

    Hunting and fishing licenses, and conservation access passes (CAP), can be purchased at the following authorized licensing agents. Some agents only sell fishing licenses while others sell only hunting licenses and conservation access passes. Licenses also can be purchased online or at the licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building, at 89 Kings Highway


    Questions and Answers: Delaware Fishing Licenses

    The following are many of the questions that have come in about fishing licenses in Delaware. If you have a question, and don’t find the answer here, please send us an email at DFWRecLic@delaware.gov.


    Low Number License Lottery

    DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will not hold a low-number hunting license lottery for the 2020/21 hunting season. Please check back for lottery information about the 2021/22 licensing season. For more information, Delaware residents can contact Danielle Davis, Division of Fish and Wildlife License Program Coordinator, at 302-739-9918, between the


    Fish and Wildlife License Fees

    Information on fees for licenses, registrations, permits, and passes from the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife.
    Delaware Resident Non-Resident Agent Fee


    Exemptions and Exceptions

    Delaware state law and Delaware’s fishing and hunting regulations provide several exemptions and exceptions to the state’s fishing and hunting licensing requirements.
    The following are exempt from fishing license requirements: Surf Fishing Permits [column md=”6″ xclass=”col-xs-12


    Purchase Recreational Licenses Online

    DNREC has replaced the old “egov” online licensing system with a new Digital DNREC ePermitting system for recreational licenses, passes, permits, and stamps.


    Recreational Licensing

    The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife offers licenses, permits, stamps, and passes for recreational fishing and hunting, and for the use of Delaware Wildlife Areas.

    Contact Us

    Trisha Virdin Licensing Coordinator 302-739-9918



    Fish Consumption Advisories

    DNREC and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) work together to monitor the presence of chemical toxins in the flesh of finfish and shellfish in Delaware waters. They issue periodic fish consumption advisories to guide anglers on the amount of fish they can safely consume.
    [panel


    2018 Fish Consumption Advisory Information

    Delaware fish consumption advisories issued February 20, 2018, by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health (DHSS/DPH) show that the concentration of chemical contaminants found in fish caught from Delaware waterways continues to decline, indicating water quality is improving across the


    The Fisheries Section

    The DNREC Fisheries Section works to enhance and protect Delaware’s fish and aquatic resources in support of recreational and commercial fishing. It provides first-class fishing and boating access to Delaware’s many waterways. And it conducts fisheries research, resource monitoring, and collection of biological information on marine fisheries. Recreational Fishing


    Operation Game Theft

    The Operation Game Theft Fund was established by the Delaware General Assembly to assist in the apprehension and conviction of game law violators. Rewards of up to $1,000 are available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of violators.
    [button type=”primary”


    Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police

    DNREC’s Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers protect wildlife and fisheries resources, promote boating education and safety, promote hunting and fishing, respond to boating emergencies and are a partner in Delaware’s Homeland Security maritime mission. The Natural Resources Police oversee boating safety education in Delaware and take part in the annual Natural Resources


    Delaware Trout Stamp Contest Rules

    The next Delaware Trout Stamp Art Contest will take place during the week of Aug. 19, 2024 when judges will review the artwork. Contest Rules Summary Here are the basics. Please see the 2024 Stamp Art Contest Artist Agreement and Contest Entry Form for a full set of the


    Delaware’s Trout Stamp Program

    The DNREC Freshwater Trout Program is supported by funds derived from the state’s trout stamp program. Anglers fishing for trout have been required to purchase a Delaware Trout Stamp since 1955. Today, fees paid by anglers for trout stamps provide DNREC with an average of $50,000 annually to purchase trout from commercial hatcheries. Stamp revenues


    Winning Waterfowl Stamp Contest Entries

    The winning entries for the 2024/2025 edition of the Delaware State Waterfowl Stamp Contest were chosen by a panel of five judges who independently evaluated and scored the contest entries in person.  A painting of a redhead duck in open water by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Greene, Indiana, will grace the 2024/2025 Delaware


    Winning Trout Stamp Contest Entries

    The winning entries for the 2024 edition of the Delaware Trout Stamp Contest were chosen by a panel of five judges who independently evaluated and scored the contest entries in person. The 2024 Delaware Trout Stamp will feature a painting of a rainbow trout by Trevor Dumaw of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mr. Dumaw received $250


    Delaware Waterfowl Stamp Contest Rules

    The Delaware Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest will take place during the week of August 19, 2024 when judges will review the artwork. Contest Rules Summary Here are the basics. Please see the 2024 Stamp Art Contest Artist Agreement and Contest Entry Form for a full set of the





    +