Youth fishing (copy) (copy)

Young anglers were able to participate in a special youth fishing day for those younger than 16 on Feb. 28, and pond fishing opened to the general public March 1. But upstate ponds are temporarily closed for fishing while trout stocking takes place ahead of an early season opening on March 28 for youth and March 29 for all anglers. Social distancing is required.

Delaware’s 2021 upstate stream trout season will open early to minimize opening-day crowds and accommodate responsible outdoor recreation during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) period, officials announced this week.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control encourages anglers to practice social distancing while fishing, which is currently 6 feet from other individuals, approximately the length of some fishing rods. Plans are subject to change based on health and safety considerations, and any further restrictions or changes to the season will be announced.

Trout fishing will be allowed for only youth anglers younger than 16 on Sunday, March 28, followed by the opening of the regular trout season for all anglers on Monday, March 29, with fishing allowed both days from 7 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset unless otherwise restricted by area rules. Adults accompanying youth anglers on March 28 are not allowed to fish that day.

White Clay Creek, Red Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek will be stocked prior to the season with thousands of rainbow and brown trout, including some trophy-sized fish. Trout stocking is planned to continue weekly at White Clay Creek and periodically at the other streams during April.

To improve trout fishing when the season opens, stocked trout streams are closed to all fishing through Saturday, March 27, to accommodate trout stocking, eliminate incidental hooking of trout and allow stocked trout time to adjust to their new waters.

Trout anglers planning to fish the upstate trout streams should note the following rules and regulations:

• A Delaware fishing license is required, unless an angler is exempt.

• A Delaware trout stamp is required until June 30, unless an angler is exempt.

• Following the 7 a.m. start on the special youth-only day and on opening day, trout fishing at these streams is open a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset unless otherwise restricted by area rules.

• The daily possession limit is six trout, except inside or within 50 feet of the designated fly-fishing-only section of White Clay Creek, where the daily possession limit is four trout.

Proceeds from the purchase of Delaware trout stamps are used to help purchase trout for stocking next year. The fishery is also supported by federal Sport Fish Restoration funds administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that are generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

Delaware fishing licenses and trout stamps are sold online at de.gov/fishinglicense and by license agents statewide, listed online at de.gov/LicenseAgents. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife licensing office at (302) 739-9918. Additional trout fishing information is available at de.gov/trout. Information on fishing in Delaware is available in the Delaware Fishing Guide or by calling the Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at (302) 739-9914.