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Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: March 14-20

Reminder for the week: Harvest of river herring, use of nets near spillways,

retaining striped bass during spawning season unlawful in Delaware

DOVER  – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between March 14-20 made 933 contacts with anglers, boaters, hunters and the general public, including 16 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 23 complaints and issued nine citations.

This week, with an expanded Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continuing to be deployed as a deterrent, no citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.


An incident of note:

On March 16, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Gary L. Bell Jr., 32, of Bridgeville, for two counts of possession of river herring during a closed season at Craigs Mill Pond near Seaford. Bell received fines totaling $214, including court costs.


Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:


Wildlife Conservation: Failure to register antlerless deer within 24 hours (4), and operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1).


Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (2), and possession of river herring during a closed season (2).


Are you AWARE?

With spring fishing season gearing up, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police reminds recreational anglers that it is unlawful in Delaware to harvest and use river herring for bait and that they need to use an alternate type of bait. Signs giving notice of the fishery closure are posted at fishing spots known to hold river herring. Fines for illegal possession of river herring begin at $50 for a first offense, and increase to $100-$500 for a second offense. For more information, click on river herring.


Anglers are also reminded that during spawning season for striped bass in Delaware, which begins April 1 and continues through midnight on May 31, it is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C&D Canal, or the C&D Canal or its tributaries. Anglers are required to practice catch and release fishing during this season with no harvest allowed in these areas.


In addition, regulations require anglers fishing with natural bait on any striped bass spawning ground during the closed spawning season to use a non-offset circle hook. The Division of Fish & Wildlife recommends that circle hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce hook-and-release mortality for striped bass and other fish species. The circle hook’s design usually results in fish being hooked in the mouth, simplifying hook removal and reducing injury to the released fish.


Also, as fish begin entering the spillways this spring, anglers are reminded that using any type of net to catch fish in tidal water within 300 feet below a dam or spillway is illegal, with the exception of using a landing net on a fish caught with hook and line.


Most anglers are required to have a Delaware fishing license. Licenses are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, 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, click on 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.


DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish, wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at