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fish and game main > Delaware Fishing > Minimum Sizes > Delaware Fishing Records

Delaware Minimum Fish Sizes and Legal Bag Limits

The most recent laws and information for Delaware saltwater fishing. We try to stay up to date but to beabsolutely sure you have the very most recent fishing information then you may want to visit the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Year 2006 Tidal Water Recreational Fishing Limits

No license is required for hook and line recreational fishing in tidal waters. It is illegal to fish for any species of game fish (see Gamefish and General Fishing Restrictions)
with more than two hooks and lines, and each hook and line shall have no more than three separate lures with hooks.

(Photos provided as a courtesy and/or purchased from artist Duane Raver and the US Fish & Wildlife Service )


Atlantic Croaker

atlantic croaker

All Year 8 None
American Eel

american eel

All Year 6 50

Atlantic Sturgeon

atlantic sturgeon




All Year None 10

Black Sea Bass

black sea bass

All Year 12 25

Red Drum

All Year 20 - 27 Max. 5, None greater than 27 Inches



Closed Sept. 1 - 28 14
15 (April, May & June)
3 (April, May & June)

Scup (Porgy)

scup porgy

State Waters*
All Year

Federal Waters*
Jan. 1 - Feb 28
Sept. 7-Nov. 30







Spotted Seatrout

speckle trout

All Year 12 None

Spanish Mackerel

spanish mackerel

All Year 14 10

Striped Bass

striped bass

All Year** Non Tidal Water 15 Inches

Tidal Water  28 Inches



Summer Flounder


All Year 17 1/2 4


gray trout

All Year 13 8

White Perch


All Year 8 None
Winter Flounder

winter flounder

All Year 10 None
Unregulated Shark-Smooth Dogfish

smooth dogfish

All Year N/A N/A
Unregulated (Recreational Only) Shark-Spiny Dogfish

spiny dogfish

All Year N/A N/A
Regulated Shark - Sandbar Shark
For Other Regulated Sharks
See the List Below

sandbar shark

All Year 54" 1
Blue Crab

blue crab
Hard Shell
Soft Shell

All Year





3 1/2"
1 Bushel Per Crabber
Hard Clams


All Year 1 1/2" Wide 100 Residents
50 Nonresidents
(500 With Permit)
Smooth Whelk (Conch) All Year 6" length OR 3 1/8" Diameter N/A
Knobbed Whelk (Conch)


All Year 5" length OR 2 3/4" Diameter N/A


All Year 3 3/8" Minimum
Carapace length

5 1/2 Maximum

2 Per Diver

*State waters include the Delaware River and Delaware Bay, Coastal Bays, and Atlantic Ocean out to 3 miles. Federal Waters include the Atlantic Ocean beyond 3 miles from the Delaware Shore.

**Striped bass recreational season is closed on the spawning grounds (Nanticoke River, C & D Canal, and Delaware River and their respective tributaries north of the southern most jetty at the C & D Canal) during April and May. Striped Bass are not permitted to be retained if taken with a recreational gill net.

*** American shad and hickory shad (species combined) daily limit 10; catch and release only in the Nanticoke River and its tributaries.

# River herring and alewife 25 fish limit, aggregate of fish.

Finfish are measured from tip of snout to tip of tail.
Blue crabs are measured tip to tip on the back (Females with eggs are protected, females with U-shaped apron have no size limit).
Lobster carapace length is measured from rear of eye socket
to rear of body shell.

SHARKS - It is unlawful to:

  • possess the fins from any shark listed in the table below prior to landing unless the fins are attached to the body.
  • fillet any shark listed in the table below prior to landing said shark. A shark may be eviscerated and the head removed prior to landing.
  • release any shark listed in the table below in a manner that will not ensure the maximum probability of survival.
  • have on board more than one shark listed below except that two Atlantic Sharpnose sharks may also be on board.
  • possess any prohibited species at any time, in Delaware waters this would include sand tiger sharks, dusky sharks and white sharks
  • possess any shark listed below that measures less than 54 inches, forked length.

Shark Species

Large Coastal Species

Great Hammerhead Scalloped Hammerhead Smooth Hammerhead Tiger Shark
Nurse Shark Silky Shark Blacktip Shark Bull Shark
Sandbar Shark Lemon Shark Spinner Shark

Small Coastal Species

Finetooth Shark Bonnethead Atlantic Sharpnose Shark Blacknose Shark

Pelagic (open sea) Species

Porbeagle Shark Shortfin Mako Blue Shark Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Thresher Shark

Prohibited Species

Basking Shark Great White Shark Bigeye Sand Tiger Sand Tiger
Whale Shark Bignose Shark Caribbean Reef Shark Dusky Shark
Galapagas Shark Narrowtooth Shark Night Shark Atlantic Angel Shark
Caribbean Sharpnose Shark Smalltail Shark Bigeye Sixgill Shark Sevengill Shark
Sixgill Shark Longfin Mako Shark Bigeye Thresher Shark

Additional Information about Sharks

For information or to report a violation, call 1 (800) 523-3336

Fishing for highly migratory oceanic species such as bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, true albacore, blackfin tuna, swordfish, billfish and certain shark species, when caught in waters outside of Delaware's jurisdiction (ocean waters greater than 3 miles offshore), are subject to federal regulations. For further information on federal regulations, call the National Marine Fisheries Service at (301 713-2347 or (508) 281-9260. In addition, a 24-hour information line is available at (301) 713-1279 or (508) 281-9305.

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