Annual fall trout stocking a no “fanfare” event this year
The Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Fisheries Section kept this year’s annual fall stocking of trout in White Clay Creek under wraps until after it happened, a decision the agency said was designed to provide for a “mellower sporting season.” The stocking – a DNREC ritual since 2007 – was announced October 12 and captured on video at Trout Stocking on YouTube.
DNREC said fisheries staff and volunteers stocked about 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout ranging in size from 11-15 inches long, with the majority 12-13-inch fish, throughout White Clay Creek at all normal stocking locations from near the border with Pennsylvania downstream to Newark. Also included this year were a few brown, brook, tiger and golden rainbow trout. Float boxes were used to carry about 1,250 fish averaging about one pound each from the truck to access points along White Clay Creek, which offers the most public access of any Delaware trout stream.
“The fish looked great! Most were between 12 and 14 inches, and they were all healthy, just a premium stocking of fish,” said Fisheries scientist Mark Zimmerman, who heads up the trout stocking efforts.
Regarding the stealth stocking, Fisheries Administrator John Clark said “we try to avoid the crowds and hype that often overshadow the spring opener on the first Saturday in April.” Clark noted that the stocking schedule is included in the 2016 Delaware Fishing Guide but the exact date of the fall delivery is not publicized in advance. “We think anglers appreciate this approach, especially when they go to one of their favorite locations, find fish swimming around and have the stream mostly to themselves.”
“It’s a beautiful time of year to enjoy some peace and quiet and catch some nice fish,” Clark said. “And, since rainbow trout are a cold water species, fish stocked in the fall should provide action throughout the winter.”
The daily possession limit is six trout per person. Fishing in or within 50 feet of the designated fly-fishing-only section, the daily possession limit is four trout.
Delaware’s trout stocking is conducted under the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Trout anglers support the program directly through the purchase of the required trout stamp along with the regular resident or non-resident fishing license. All proceeds from the purchase of Delaware Trout Stamps go directly towards the purchase of trout from hatcheries.
A Delaware fishing license is required for most anglers wishing to try their luck at trout fishing. A resident annual Delaware recreational 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 or trout stamps, although exempt persons may do so if they so choose to help support fisheries management and trout stocking efforts. For non-resident anglers age 16 and older, a Delaware annual fishing license costs $20 and a seven-day license costs $12.50.
Both resident and non-resident anglers age 16 and older also are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (FIN) 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 FIN number.
In addition to Delaware’s normal fishing license requirements, most trout anglers must purchase a Delaware Trout Stamp, with the exception of anglers younger than age 12 and resident anglers age 65 and over. Non-exempt anglers must possess a trout stamp to fish in designated trout streams to include White Clay Creek from Oct. 3 through Nov. 30. 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. For non-residents, a trout stamp is required for all anglers age 12 and older and costs $6.20.
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. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.
For more information on fishing in Delaware, please see the 2016 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.