Drive-on class at surf-fishing beach

‘Student drivers’ in four-wheel-drive vehicles follow the state park ranger on the entrance to the beach at Conquest Road in Delaware Seashore State Park. A surf-fishing permit, capped at 17,000 each year, is also required to drive on to the state parks surf-fishing beaches. As of June 3, 15,500 permits have been issued for 2020.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control announced on Wednesday, June 3, that it had issued 15,500 of this year’s 17,000 available surf-fishing permits. In 2019, the Delaware’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Council established a 17,000 cap on annual surf-fishing permit sales as the most equitable way to serve all beach users, manage a limited resource and protect against overcrowding of parks beaches.

Starting Thursday, June 4, the Division of Parks & Recreation will reduce the number of locations where surf-fishing permits may be purchased; online sales will be unavailable. The following locations will issue surf-fishing permits until the 17,000 cap is reached:

• Bellevue State Park: 800 Carr Road, Wilmington;

• Cape Henlopen State Park: 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes;

• Killens Pond State Park: 5025 Killens Pond Road, Felton; and

• Indian River Life-Saving Station: 25039 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach.

Surf-fishing permit transfers and replacements are also available at these sites. As a courtesy prior to reaching the 15,500 mark this year, the division issued an e-newsletter and contacted those who purchased surf-fishing permits in 2018 and 2019.

Surf-fishing drive-on

Surf-fishing permits are capped at 17,000 each year, and Fish & Wildlife officials announced on June 3 that they have reached 15,500 permits sold for 2020.

Novice surf anglers are being encouraged to view the Surf Fishing at Delaware State Parks informational video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYZbkvrESK8) that explains surf-fishing rules and regulations in Delaware, what equipment is needed, how to drive on the beach and what to do if a vehicle gets stuck in the sand.

There are no current restrictions for non-vehicle, walk-on fishing for those with a valid Division of Fish & Wildlife fishing license (https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/licenses/). Walk-on surf anglers should only use pedestrian foot-traffic access points to access surf-fishing beaches and should use caution near drive-on access points.

Surf-fishing permits also serve as a Delaware State Parks Annual Pass that provides access to all 17 state parks. Park user fees, including surf-fishing permit fees, provide 65 percent of the Division of Parks & Recreation’s funding, and are used to operate and maintain the parks.

To learn more about fishing in Delaware State Parks, visit destateparks.com/Adventures/Fishing.