Delaware County is well-known for its delicious blue-claw crabs and also its fishing. Whether you enjoy whiling away peaceful hours fishing pristine lakes teeming with bass, perch, and catfish, or if you are more at home fishing off the coast, Delaware has it all. These 10 best fishing locations in Delaware feature the top amenities and challenging game fish, too
The beach resorts of Delaware offer options for joining excursions or for chartering deep-sea boats and head boats. Deep-sea boats offer game fishermen the chance to land big, feisty fish, such as marlin and tuna, while head boats set hooks for striped bass and croakers.
For something different, try surf fishing from the shoreline of Fenwick Island, Cape Henlopen, and Delaware Seashore State Parks, where ocean catches include bluefish, sea bass and tilefish. For this activity, you need to get a surf fishing vehicle permit, which gives you direct vehicular access to the shoreline.
Top Fishing Locations
You can discover some of Delaware’s best fishing in its wide, scenic inland bays. While there, you can fish from a pier or by boat for flounder and striped bass. Crabbing from a pier for Delaware’s iconic blue-claw crabs is also a popular pastime.
For freshwater fishing, Delaware’s rivers, streams and ponds are popular haunts. Head to the river bank if you want to catch perch, bluegill, striped bass and catfish, or try the streams and ponds at White Clay Creek State Parks and Lums Pond, which are stocked with large-mouth bass and trout.
Here are the top 10 locations for fishing in Delaware. All of these locations are bursting with many different species of local fish sure to guarantee you a memorable fishing trip.
1. Killens Pond
Killens Pond is located in Killens Pond State Park, in Felton, Kent County. This impressive body of water covers 66 acres, so it’s never overcrowded. You can view the exact location in Google Maps. Killens Pond has boat launch facilities and shore access, as well as kayak, canoe and rowboat rentals. There are also cabins for those who want to extend their fishing trip.
Killens Pond offers an abundance of largemouth bass and a diverse gamefish population. This location features the top three fishing ponds in Delaware. It boasts the highest catch per angler hour, earning it a place on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware.
An afternoon’s fishing at Killens Pond could provide you with any of the following species, depending on the season:
- Largemouth bass
Killens Park is nationally renowned for largemouth bass fishing. In 2013, a lucky angler at the pond saw the largest tournament course bass ever, weighing in at an impressive 7.6 pounds. To give yourself the best chance of landing a record-breaking bass, fish the pond from mid-May to mid-June before spawning commences.
2. White Clay Creek
White Clay Creek is located in White Clay Creek State Park, in Newark, Delaware and includes a number of separate small ponds. The location is popular with recreational anglers and offers a wide range of game fish including:
- Largemouth bass
- Rainbow trout
- Brown trout
The best time to go trout fishing is in the spring when the trout arrive in White Clay Creek. The trout fishing season runs from the first Saturday in April through June 30th, and from the first Saturday in October through November 30th. White Clay Creek is popular with dedicated trout anglers because they stock the creek regularly with brown and rainbow trout, ensuring a decent catch.
Note that this creek on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware is closed to all fishing for two weeks prior to opening day of the trout season while spawning takes place. Year-round fishing is available in the Millstone and Cattail Ponds for those who want to try their luck with crappie, bluegill and bass. Note that bass is part of the catch-and-release program in Delaware.
3. Indian River Marina
Indian River Marina is located within the Delaware Seashore State Park. The park is bordered to the west by Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay, and to the east by the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The Marina’s location is just minutes away from inland bays and the ocean, which is some of the finest fishing grounds on the East Coast. This is one of the most versatile places on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware.
The Indian River Marina has Delaware’s biggest charter boat fleet. Here anglers can enjoy off-shore and in-shore fishing, jetty and surf fishing. For the more adventurous who seek the challenge of landing a big-game fish, there are experienced charters to deep-sea fishing grounds. For the competitive angler, they also hold fishing tournaments regularly.
The fish species you can expect to land in this location include:
- Yellowfin tuna
- White marlin
- Striped Bass (Rockfish)
- Sea Bass
- Bluefin tuna
- Blue marlin
- Bigeye tuna
4. Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier
Keen pier fishermen can enjoy a great day of angling at Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier. The pier is located within Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, and one mile east of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. Refurbished in 2016, the pier is open all year round, 24/7 and extends way out for a quarter mile, so it never gets overcrowded. There’s also a bait shop conveniently located on the pier. And once you’ve landed your supper, there are shops that will clean and prepare it for you.
The pier provides shelter and food for a wide variety of fish. The numbers are impressive, so it’s almost impossible to come back from a fishing excursion empty-handed. This makes it a great location for beginners and experts alike. If you fancy a spot of fly fishing, mornings alongside the pier are the best place for bluefish and sea trout. The pilings at the end of the pier are famous as a flounder hotspot. You can also fish this area from a kayak, if you’d like.
The main fish species thronging among the pier pilings include:
- Sea trout
5. Broadkill Beach
Broadkill Beach is to the north of Lewes on the Delaware Bay in Eastern Sussex County. The exact location can be found on here. Broadkill Beach does not attract many beachgoers who may conflict with a day’s fishing. This is largely because of the population of sand flies that inhabit the beach. If you don’t mind the flies, this is a lucrative, quiet fishing spot for surf fishermen, so it belongs on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware.
Fish species you can find in numbers here include:
- Black drum
The best baits to bring to this location include bunker, clams, bloodworms and mullet. When the blues are biting, try bucktails and spoons. And bring plenty of extra grubs for your bucktails, as the bluefish will make frustratingly short work of them.
6. 3R’s Beach
3R’s Beach is situated on the south side of the Indian River Inlet within the Delaware Seashore State Park, which is easily accessible from Route 1. You can see the location here. The beach offers plenty of space for surf fishing enthusiasts, and if you have a permit, you can park right on the beach. This sandy beach is also a great spot for catching the sun while taking a break from surf fishing.
The strong Atlantic current that continually rolls into the estuary makes 3R’s Beach an extremely good spot for Atlantic striped bass. In fact, this location holds the current Delaware striper record of 52 pounds. If you’re planning to spend a day fishing the surf at this location, you should be aware that this beach has a quick drop-off.
However, a surf pole in the eight to 12-foot range should get your bait to the fish with no problem. During the summer months, use a 15 to 20-pound test line to bring in the best results. Also, watch for birds diving into the water for the best place to cast.
7. Bubblegum Beach
Bubblegum beach is close to the Coast Guard Station at the Indian River Inlet. You can find a link to the location here. This spot is particularly popular for its good flounder bite, and there is also a healthy population of rockfish, too.
While you’re waiting for bottom feeders to bite, keep a weather eye out for small sharks and Mahi Mahi, both of which swim near this location. If you’re lucky, you might even sight a whale cruising past in the deeper waters off the shoreline.
There are also deeper areas that you can check out if you have the right equipment to find fish in deeper waters. You’ll also want to make sure you have the right rod and reel to withstand the pressure that bigger fish can bring.
As with all the surf fishing locations in Delaware, you need a permit to bring your vehicle right onto the beach. At this location you can expect to catch:
8. Delaware River System
If you are a keen fly fisherman, the Delaware River system offers plenty of great sport. The system includes two tail-water rivers, the West and East Branches. Both rivers converge on the town of Hancock, forming the main Delaware river. The Delaware river system is one of the premier dry fly fisheries on the East Coast, if not the world.
A good base for your fishing excursion on the Delaware River is the West Branch Angler Resort. In addition to cabins for extended stays, the resort offers drift boat rentals and guided fly fishing to take you straight to the locations most likely to yield a good catch.
The fly fishing season begins in early April and runs right through the summer into the fall. A combination of summer-long cool waters and a wide variety of bug life provides the perfect conditions for wild trout. Streamer and nymph fishing are also effective for hooking rainbow and brown trout here. You can find directions and contact information for the resort at this link.
9. Brandywine Creek
Brandywine Creek is situated close to Delaware’s largest city, Wilmington. This prime fishing location lies within the Brandywine Creek State Park, which you can see here. This gloriously scenic park enjoys 933 acres of pristine wood and marshland. It contains two nature preserves, Freshwater Marsh and Tulip Tree Woods, which are home to many varieties of regionally indigenous fauna and flora.
The Brandywine Creek bankside fishing spots are accessible via several well-maintained park trails, making it one of the the best fishing locations in Delaware for sure. You can also hire a kayak if you prefer to fish on the water. The species of fish you can expect to hook on the Brandywine include:
- Smallmouth bass
10. Beck’s Pond
Beck’s Pond is in New Castle County, Delaware, here. The large
mouth bass is the main attraction here, with visitors and resident fishermen choosing this location over any other freshwater fishing pond in the whole state. Although the pond is popular, in 1990, park management introduced take and size restrictions to protect stock levels, so the bass flourish there today.
Anglers must adhere to a strict 15-inch minimum size limit on bass and only take two per day. In addition, the pond has water quality issues. Park management advises anglers against the long-term consumption of fish caught here. However, the pond offers a rewarding day’s fishing, hence its popularity.
Fish species that anglers regularly land at Beck’s Pond include:
- Largemouth bass
- Black crappie
- White crappie
- Yellow perch
Delaware offers plenty of choices and variations for anglers, regardless of what species of fish they want to catch. Delaware’s fishing locations are also some of the most beautiful and scenically diverse in the whole United States.
Whether you are a holiday leisure fisherman or a serious angler, a trip to some of Delaware’s surf, lake, or deep-sea fishing locations is a must. In addition to enjoying the fabulous fishing opportunities, you’ll be able to soak up some rays on the beach or wind down over a leisurely lunch of locally caught blue-crab in one of the many seafood restaurants in the area.
My articles appear in Marketing Edge Magazine, on Gizmogrind, and with various Medium publications. But one thing hasn’t changed in all of my life: no matter where I was or what I was doing. I’ve always loved to be outdoors.
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