The Division of Fish & Wildlife recently announced that Delaware’s spring 2017 downstate trout season will begin March 4 with the opening of two downstate ponds stocked with rainbow trout, provided pond ice conditions do not prevent stocking or fishing.
Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond near Greenwood in Sussex County will open for trout fishing beginning at 7 a.m. March 4
Trout anglers planning to fish the waters of Tidbury and Newton ponds will want to note:
— A trout stamp is required to fish these ponds from March 4 through April 1, unless otherwise exempted by law.
— Following the opening day 7 a.m. start, trout fishing at these two ponds is permitted one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules.
— The daily possession limit is six trout.
— Both ponds are closed to fishing for 14 days prior to the season opening, with this restriction in effect from Feb. 18 until opening day March 4.
Each pond will initially be stocked with more than 300 pounds of 12- to 13-inch rainbow trout. “Trophy-sized” rainbow and brown trout — weighing 2 pounds or more and measuring more than 14 inches — also will be stocked. Plans call for stocking to be repeated March 16, with the same amount of fish in each pond.
Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Levy Court, Department of Parks & Recreation, and anglers are encouraged to be respectful of the planted vegetation and fences erected to protect landscaped areas. No boats of any type are permitted in Tidbury Pond.
Newton Pond, owned and managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife, will be stocked for the ninth year.
With the exception of the two-week closure preceding trout season, Newton Pond is open for catch-and-release fishing for bass and bluegill. Although barbless hooks are required at Newton Pond throughout the year, they are not required from the opening day of trout season through April 1 while fishing for trout.
Upstate, trout season will open at 7:30 a.m. April 1 in six designated trout streams in northern New Castle County: White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek, which will all be stocked with rainbow and brown trout prior to the season opener. Stocking in the spring will continue on a regular weekly basis in some streams through April 27. For information, visit de.gov/troutstocking.
A Delaware fishing license is required for most anglers fishing for trout. A resident annual fishing license, which covers fresh and tidal waters as well as crabbing and clamming, costs $8.50 for ages 16-64. Persons younger than the age of 16 and residents age 65 and older are not required to purchase fishing licenses in Delaware, although exempt persons may purchase fishing licenses and trout stamps if they so choose to help support fisheries management and trout stocking efforts. For nonresident anglers age 16 and older, a Delaware fishing license costs $20.
Both resident and nonresident anglers age 16 and older are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network number. The free number is included as part of a Delaware fishing license purchase. License-exempt anglers, including Delaware residents 65 and older, may visit delaware-fin.com or call 800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free FIN number.
In addition to Delaware’s normal fishing license requirements, most trout anglers also must purchase a Delaware trout stamp. For residents age 16-64, a trout stamp costs $4.20. For residents age 12-15, a young angler trout stamp costs $2.10. Resident anglers younger than age 12 or age 65 and older are not required to purchase a trout stamp. For nonresidents, a trout stamp is required for all anglers age 12 and older and costs $6.20.
Proceeds from the purchase of Delaware trout stamps are used to help purchase next year’s fish for stocking. The popular fishery also is supported by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.
Delaware fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and by license agents statewide.
For information, call 739-9918.