Delaware’s 2021 downstate pond trout season will open early to minimize opening day crowds and accommodate responsible outdoor recreation during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) period. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s plans are subject to change based on health and safety considerations, and any further restrictions or changes to the season will be announced. Anglers are encouraged to practice social distancing while fishing, which is currently six feet from other individuals, approximately the length of some fishing rods.
Only Newton Pond near Greenwood in Sussex County will be stocked with trout, where the trout fishing season will open several days earlier than previously scheduled, provided pond ice conditions do not prevent stocking or fishing. Trout fishing will be allowed for only youth anglers under age 16 on Sunday, Feb. 28 , followed by the opening of the regular trout season for all anglers on Monday, March 1, with fishing allowed both days from 7 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset unless otherwise restricted by area rules. Adults accompanying youth anglers on Feb. 28 are not allowed to fish that day.
To improve trout fishing for when the season opens, Newton Pond is closed to all fishing from Tuesday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 27 to accommodate trout stocking, eliminate incidental hooking of trout and allow stocked trout time to adjust to their new waters.
Newton Pond will be stocked with more than 400 pounds of 12- to 13-inch rainbow trout before opening day, with additional stockings scheduled for the weeks of March 8 and 15. Trophy-sized trout weighing two or more pounds will also be stocked as an added attraction for trout anglers.
Trout anglers planning to fish Newton Pond should note the following rules and regulations:
· A Delaware fishing license is required, unless an angler is exempt.
· A Delaware trout stamp is required through April 1, unless an angler is exempt.
· Following the 7 a.m. start on the special youth-only day and on opening day, trout fishing at these ponds is open one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules.
· The daily possession limit is six trout.
Proceeds from the purchase of Delaware trout stamps are used to help purchase next year’s trout for stocking. This popular fishery is also supported by federal Sport Fish Restoration funds administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that are generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.
Delaware fishing licenses and trout stamps are sold online at de.gov/fishinglicense and by license agents statewide, listed online at de.gov/LicenseAgents. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife licensing office at 302-739-9918. Additional trout fishing information is available at de.gov/trout. Information on fishing in Delaware is available in the Delaware Fishing Guide or by calling the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.