Trout anglers encouraged to check requirements before fishing
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife today announced that its spring 2013 downstate trout season will begin Saturday, March 2 with the opening of two downstate ponds stocked with rainbow trout. On that date, Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond outside of Greenwood in Sussex County will open for trout fishing beginning at 7 a.m.
“As in past years, we expect to stock these ponds in the two weeks before opening day, and we plan to do a second stocking later in the month,” said Fisheries Administrator John Clark. “Again this year, as an added attraction for trout anglers, we will include some trophy-sized trout.”
Trout anglers planning to ply the waters of Tidbury and Newton ponds will want to note regulation requirements and recent clarifications:
- For Tidbury and Newton ponds, a trout stamp is now required from the first Saturday in March through April 1, unless otherwise exempted by law.
- Following the season opener, 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 all fishing for 14 days prior to the season opening, with this restriction now in effect.
“These rules serve several purposes,” said Stewart Michels, Fisheries biologist and program manager. “Closing these ponds to all fishing for two weeks before the season provides a better opportunity to complete our stocking and eliminate incidental hooking mortality prior to the season opener. In addition, the closure gives stocked trout time to adjust to their new waters and spread out. The pre-season closure also addresses complaints about harvest prior to the opener and improves fair access to the fishery.”
Each pond will initially be stocked with about 300 pounds of rainbow trout, average size 11 to 13 inches. Some “trophy-sized” rainbows – weighing 2 pounds or more and measuring well over 14 inches – also will be included. Plans call for stocking to be repeated Thursday, March 14, with the same amount of fish in each pond.
Newton Pond, a restored borrow pit, will be stocked for its fifth year. The 10-acre site was renovated using Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds and features a boat ramp for car top boats and canoes with no gasoline motors allowed, plus a fishing pier and plenty of shoreline access to allow anglers to spread out. Clark stressed “car-top boats only,” since the ramp at Newton Pond was not designed or constructed for heavy vehicles with boat trailers, and vehicular traffic is blocked from using the ramp. Boat anglers should exercise courtesy and caution while operating near non-boaters.
“With the exception of the two-week closure preceding trout season, Newton Pond is open for catch-and-release fishing for bass and bluegill. Beginning March 2, the trout in both ponds will be fair game, and we encourage fishermen to keep these trout up to the limit of six,” Clark continued, noting that trout are a cold water species and can only survive while water temperatures in the ponds remain cool.
Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Parks and Recreation, and anglers are asked to be respectful of the vegetation and fences erected to protect landscaped areas. Newton Pond is owned and managed as a state wildlife area by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Upstate, trout season will open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 6 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 be stocked with thousands of rainbow and brown trout. All of the streams will receive a heavy stocking just prior to the season opener on the first Saturday in April. Trout stocking will continue on a regular weekly basis through Thursday, May 2. For more information about trout stocking, click Trout Stocking Schedule.
For most anglers wishing to try their luck at trout fishing, a Delaware fishing license is required. A resident annual fishing license, which covers fresh and tidal waters as well as crabbing and clamming, costs $8.50 for ages 16 through 64. Persons under 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 non-resident anglers age 16 and older, a Delaware fishing license costs $20.
Both resident and non-resident anglers age 16 and older are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) 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 www.delaware-fin.com or call 800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free F.I.N. number.
In addition to Delaware’s normal fishing license requirements, most trout anglers also must purchase a Delaware Trout Stamp. For residents age 16 through 64, a trout stamp costs $4.20. For residents age 12 through 15, a youth 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 non-residents, a trout stamp is required for all anglers age 12 and older and costs $6.20.
All proceeds from the purchase of Delaware Trout Stamps are used to help purchase next year’s fish. The popular fishery also is supported by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.
Since the price of trout is not expected to decrease in the immediate future, the Fisheries Section is hoping plenty of anglers will come out this season to help support the program, Clark added.
To purchase a fishing license or stamps online, visit www.fw.delaware.gov/fisheries. Complete Delaware fishing information is available in the new 2013 Delaware Fishing Guide, available on the Fisheries website above or in printed form at license agents throughout the state.
Logo courtesy Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control