The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds anglers that during striped bass spawning season, which continues through midnight on May 31, it is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass from the Nanticoke River, the C&D Canal, and the Delaware River north of and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C&D Canal, or any tributaries of these waterways. Under state regulations, anglers are required to release any striped bass caught in these spawning areas during the spawning season, with no harvest of striped bass allowed.
“Striped bass are one of Delaware’s most popular catches and their numbers are currently strong. The restriction during spawning will help maintain this important fishery and ensure that the striped bass thrives into the future in Delaware waters,” said Fisheries Section Administrator John Clark.
In addition, regulations require anglers fishing during spawning season on any striped bass spawning ground with natural bait to use a non-offset circle hook, also known as an “in-line” circle hook. “The Division of Fish and Wildlife recommends that circle hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce mortality of 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,” Clark said.
With two exceptions, striped bass season is open all year, with a size limit of 28 inches and a possession limit of two fish per day. As noted above, striped bass season is open for catch and release only on spawning grounds from April 1 through May 31. In addition, a slot season is in effect from July 1 through Aug. 31 in Delaware waters of the Delaware River, the Delaware Bay and their tributaries. During the slot season, anglers may only keep striped bass from 20 to 26 inches and harvest is limited to two fish per angler. The spawning season closure and slot limits do not apply to Delaware’s coastal waters, Indian River Inlet or the Inland Bays, where the minimum size limit remains 28 inches year-round, with a two-fish possession limit.
For complete information on fishing in Delaware, pick up a copy of the 2012 Delaware Fishing Guide at your local tackle shop or license dealer, or check it out online. For more information, call the Fisheries section at 302-739-9914.