Division of Fish and Wildlife announces revised trout fishing regulations, new options for catching invasive snakeheads

Division of Fish and Wildlife announces revised trout fishing regulations,
new options for catching invasive snakeheads


DOVER (Jan. 17, 2013) – Revised non-tidal fishing regulations have been published in January’s Delaware Register of Regulations and became effective on Jan. 11, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recently announced. The new portions contain changes to pond trout-fishing regulations and authorize the use of bowfishing equipment and spears for snakeheads and other invasive fish species.

Regulation changes for trout fishing in stocked downstate ponds in Kent and Sussex counties are:

  • A trout stamp is required to fish in Dover’s Tidbury Pond and Greenwood’s Newton Pond from the first Saturday in March through April 1, unless otherwise exempted by law.
  • No fishing is permitted at these two ponds for 14 days prior to the season opening.
  • The 2013 freshwater trout season for these two ponds will open at 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 2.
  • Following the season opener, trout fishing at these ponds is permitted one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules.
  • The daily possession limit is six trout.

“These changes serve several purposes. Closing these ponds to fishing for two weeks before the season provides a better opportunity to complete our stocking and eliminate incidental hooking mortality prior to the season opener, and lets stocked trout adjust to their new waters and spread out,” said Fisheries Biologist Stewart Michels. “The changes also were made to address complaints about harvest prior to the opener and to improve fair access to the fishery.”

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Each spring, Delaware’s freshwater trout stocking program purchases and releases thousands of rainbow, brown and golden trout in the two downstate ponds and six upstate streams. All proceeds from the purchase of Delaware Trout Stamps are used to help purchase the following year’s fish. The popular fishery also is supported by federal Sport Fish Restoration funds generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

The new regulations also expand opportunities for anglers helping to control invasive fish species in Delaware, including snakeheads, which have been found recently in Delaware in Becks Pond in New Castle County, as well as a number of other state waterways, including Broad Creek, Nanticoke River, Marshyhope and Nonesuch Creek.

“Snakeheads are a non-native invasive fish species that have the potential to cause ecological harm and damage native fish populations,” Michels said. “Bowfishing is an effective harvesting technique that may diminish the numbers of this very aggressive fish and slow or prevent their spread.” The Division of Fish and Wildlife also is developing regulations to soon allow bowfishing for snakehead and similar invasive fish species in tidal waters, he added.

Under the new regulations, snakehead and carp may be legally harvested from non-tidal waters with a bow and arrow or by spear, unless otherwise prohibited by area rules or local ordinance. Bowfishing is not presently authorized in Delaware State Parks and New Castle County Parks, including Becks Pond.

For more information on Delaware Fisheries regulations, licensing, trout stocking or invasive fish species, visit www.fw.delaware.gov/fisheries or call the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914. To view the revised regulations, click Fisheries Regulations.


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