Delaware’s Striped Bass Spawning Season Begins April First


striped bass, light tackle trolling the chesapeake bay, linesider, rockfish, kayak fishing
Alan Battista with a big girl from the Chesapeake, kayak fishing.

The striped bass spawning season is almost upon us. It is already in full effect in the Chesapeake.  Anglers over there are catching some big bass.  While we are seeing a lot of short bass catches there have been a few smaller keepers here and there.  Out tidal creeks and inland bays are really active right now.  Bunker have been spotted and caught in Rehoboth bay.  Lots of striped bass are mixed in with them.

There were gannnets working the surf yesterday in Delaware Seashore State Park.  They were not raining or feeding intensely but they would drop in on bait on occasion.  That is a very good sign, they follow food, so if they are here then fish are moving in and we are already seeing bunker around the inland bays.  There have been a few short bass caught in the surf.  This will be a good weekend to fish.

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bait fish, raining gannets, bunker, indian river inlet, striped bass migration, spring run, rockfish run, linesiders,
Raining Gannets off Indian River Inlet on Sunday 2015

Per DNREC regulations …. The spawning season for striped bass in Delaware is considered to begin at 12:01 a.m. on April 1 and continue through midnight on May 31 of each calendar year. It is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass during the spawning season from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C & D Canal, or the C & D Canal or its tributaries. 

 Catch and release only during this season; no harvest is allowed.  It is unlawful for any person to fish during the striped bass spawning season on any striped bass spawning ground with natural bait using any hook other than a non-offset circle hook when the gap (the opening between the point to the shank) of said hook is greater than 3/8 inches.  

The Division recommends that circle-hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce hook and release mortality for striped bass and other fish species. The circle-hook’s design usually results in fish being hooked in the mouth, simplifying hook removal and reducing injury to the released fish.

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