The Spring Run has Sprung in Delaware
Opening day for trout was exciting for all and great fishing for some. As usual like any opening day across the country people, were lined up to catch fish. White clay creek was packed on both sides. In the more popular fishing areas. Funny thing is with any opening day you can always venture away from the crowds and do much better. Find a few holes or some structure and you will find fish schooled up for the taking. Some guys said these were the biggest trout they have seen stocked in along time. I believe DNREC is stocking again today as well, they also stocked a few days before opening day. Trout stamp money is what funds trout stocking, not tax money. Just in case anyone was wondering, I have seen a few excited posts on social media threads. I know a lot of people that took their kids and had a great time despite the crowds and I can imagine there will be some traffic during the predawn work days this week and during lunch breaks. Spring break is this week, there are a lot of people who have off. I know another good reason to blow off work this week and do some fishing, but not in a creek. Unless you consider the Delaware River a creek.
The All Species Fishing Tournament is moving along nicely with mostly freshwater fish and some brackish caught here and there. Like the season, it is starting to speed up and I expect to see more and more pictures as the weeks pass. Everyone is having a good time. The concept for this tournament has been working very well and everyone is following the rules. If you are interested in participating you just have to sign up and pay online on the All Species Fishing Tournament Page. Your shirt and deck of DSF playing cards will be there within a week. If you do not want to wait that long, you are welcome to use a regular deck of cards to qualify any fish pictures. We decided to supply everyone with a deck of cards as part of the entry fee for fun. Some are even using a regular deck of cards to preserve their DSF playing cards, they are nice cards. That is fine if you choose to do that, the card is picked weekly on Sunday night, and announced Monday mornings. The card picture on the tournament page is also changed every week, and this is the best place to check which card is for that week. I also post it on the DSF Facebook page and the group Facebook page. Good luck everyone and keep those pictures coming. Danny Schanne is still in first place, but for the most part everyone is about neck and neck.
The white perch action has been hot to not in the the southern areas of Delaware. The farther north you travel the better it gets. Bloodworms and grass shrimp are the best baits, the shrimp have been hard to find. Crappies action has been hot in a few areas like Milton park. The pond action is picking up as the water temps slowly creep up. Tidal creek and river fishing has been good. The winds this weekend made fishing difficult but many got out there and gave it a shot. The Delaware Bay beaches were a lovely chocolate milk color, but the ocean beaches were surprisingly clear. The inland bays were stirred up rather heavy too and Friday’s low tide was a blow out from the wind and full moon. I walked the banks of the back bays in areas that you normally can not access at a regular low tide. The shoreline in some areas is more sand than mud these days and that is a nice change of pace. The water was so brown it looked solid or thick. Hopefully the wind will lay down this week, but that is wishful thinking. I don’t think the wind has stopped blowing for a month. One day it is a southwest blow and the next a northwest blow. It will be rainy and windy by Tuesday into Wednesday, and as Corby would say … THIS IS STRIPER WEATHER! (you had to be there).
Okay, I know what you are thinking … so, blah, blah, blah, what about the striped bass? For the past week there have been lots of shorts and a few keepers caught in the upper Delaware bay and River on bloodworms and bunker chunks. Woodland beach was a hot spot for a few days and then it would shift to Augustine beach area and above. Then it would heat up again in all areas the Nanticoke and tidal rivers are seeing some action as well. Don’t forget the spawning regulations have been in effect since April 1st. Woodland saw several keepers on bloodworms in a matter of days. From that area and above netters have been catching bunker and a few big stripers in the mix. Prespawn bass, meaning they are full of eggs and headed north to the spawning grounds. All of the large bass pictures I have seen are egg laden fish and have been released, for the most part. I have several pictures of keepers, but the boys won’t let me post them, understandable they have backgrounds that few would recognize but many would try to find. I can respect that and you guys are really teasing the heck out of me with those. It goes something like this, “Hey man, check this out, but don’t show it to anyone”
The new creel limits don’t go into effect for striped bass until May 11th. Shorts have been hitting at the Indian River Inlet, unfortunately the proof of that came in the form of a picture of an eighteen inch striped bass found in the sand next to the north side parking lot. I hate seeing things like that, if you can’t respect the fish you are targeting, you should not fish. Some people just don’t get the fact we need to take better care of fish stocks for all species. Unfortunately there is always that one guy that just has total disregard for creel limits and they display zero etiquette. You see it in all kinds of fishing situations. I saw an argument the other night online with a guy who wanted to bow fish, so he could shoot a fish in the face, it takes a tough man to shoot a fish in the face. He didn’t want the fish for food he just wanted to kill something. Like I always say, there is always one, unfortunately these days there are more than one. There is going to be more people at the inlet this year due to the new campground, the parks may want to think about an attendant that watches for people poaching. I have seen people sell fish in the parking lot before, and then go right back to fishing. You can call it in, but they are long gone by the time anyone can show up, since fish and wildlife enforcement is also spread thin. Unfortunately even with close scrutiny, there are always people trying to cheat the system. It is the same way they live their lives, so you can’t do much to change them, but you could charge the heck out of them. We need better poaching laws, not the new lax ones that were recently created, and with ridiculous heavy fines. Poaching charges are still just a cost of doing business and since the criminal charge was relaxed that creates less of a deterrent.
Bunker are not only up north in the bay, but they are also in the surf at Cape Henlopen and along the entire coast line. Gannets have been raining on bait schools, and dolphins are in the mix following a long line of bait fish. It looks like nature’s version of sea world out there, the dolphins are feeding like crazy. This has been seen from Ocean City to Indian River Inlet the past several of days. The osprey have been feeding on bunker for the past week or more at Cape Henlopen according to a buddy of mine who has been watching them. The signs are there, the bait fish are here, and the conditions are perfect for striped bass fishing. The boys in the Chesapeake I know are catching prespawn bass and some are covered in sea lice. The fiah are headed to the spawning grounds and up tidal rivers to spawn. This is just the beginning, so rest assured you still have time, don’t quit your job just yet. We are excited to see food close to shore and hoping that will bring the bass into the surf this year, more so than the past few years. Yes, it would be nice to see a spring run like that one spring. I am am sure we all know of when I am referring. That was roughly the end of April into the beginning of May, and was insane fishing for roughly two solid weeks at the Indian River Inlet. People will be talking about that run for years to come Seeing this much action now in so many places, increases the odds of catching, and spreads everyone out. Hopefully the hardest decision I have to make this week is how far I want to drive. Now if you will excuse me, I have to blow off work to go fishing! Oh wait!