Fishing in Delaware's state waters requires a valid DE fishing license. To get a fishing license in Delaware, you must submit an application with the Division of Fish and Wildlife's. The state offers permits for both saltwater and freshwater fishing accessible in two general types: recreational fishing licenses and commercial fishing licenses. Additionally, anglers who wish to improve their fishing knowledge and education can join one or more of the educational programs presented by the division. Learn more about license types, fishing education opportunities and fishing organizations in DE by reading the sections below:
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Both resident and non-resident anglers planning fishing trips in Delaware must procure a fishing license from the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Fishing permits in Delaware vary based on factors such as the applicant’s residency status, age, fishing purpose and longevity of the licenses. Whether fishing in freshwater or saltwater, anglers will need to apply for one of two general categories of DE licenses to fish:
Any interested anglers fishing for sport in Delaware are required to obtain the appropriate fishing license. Groups of individuals that are exempt from DE fishing license requirements include residents and nonresidents younger than 16 years of age and residents older than 64 years of age. The following sport fishing licenses are available through the Division of Fish and Wildlife:
Note: In addition to the recreational fishing license, sport fishermen and women are also required to register with the division by obtaining a Delaware-issued Fisherman Information Network number, available online or by calling 1-800-432-9228.
Interested applicants can buy a Delaware fishing license online by using the division's automatic licensing system. When getting fishing licenses in this manner, you are required to:
Anglers that prefer buying a DE permit to fish in person can do so at any authorized agent or at the DFW offices.
Certain Delaware licenses to fish can only be purchased with the following mail-in applications:
To get a Delaware commercial fishing license, you must apply with the Office of Commercial Licensing of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Aside from buying a commercial fishing permit, commercial applicants are also required to have the appropriate fishing equipment permit. After reviewing the applicable laws, rules and regulations, interested applicants can acquire one of the following DE commercial fishing licenses:
Note: Commercial fishing permit holders are required to submit monthly reports of their catch to the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Delaware anglers interested in improving their knowledge and education about the sport can participate in various state-sponsored fishing education programs. Before or after obtaining their fishing license, both youth and adult fishermen can take advantage of the following courses offered by the Division of Fish and Wildlife:
The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program is primarily aimed at women. However, avid anglers of any gender older than 18 years of age can participate in the BOW hands-on workshops. The program features many fishing and fishing related courses including:
Take A Kid Fishing is a family-centered educational program for the youth. Sponsored by the Aquatic Resources Education Center, the program's events are designed for children 6 to 15 years of age and take place at state ponds. Potential participants receive the following:
For a more complete fishing experience, Delaware anglers can join various fishing clubs and organizations across the state. With a central focus on bringing anglers from any skill set together and helping to conserve local wildlife, the following organizations are open to members of all ages:
The Delaware River Fishermen's Association's is open to both novice and professional anglers who have a wide array of interests. With a main emphasis on organizing group fishing tournaments, the association also invests in solving environmental problems and addressing governmental regulations that affect fish habitats in the state.
The Delaware Mobile Surf-Fishermen is a family oriented fishing club founded by like-minded individuals with a deep interest in surf fishing. Both youth and adult anglers interested in preserving the state's beaches, waters and marine fisheries can join the DMS and enjoy the club's privileges: