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Delaware Fishing Licenses

Delaware fishing licenses are required for residents interested in taking from the waters in and around the state. To get a DE license to fish, you must complete the fishing license application process. Visitors must also get a fishing license before or during their trip to The First State. Delaware fishing licenses are required for both tidal and freshwater fishing and are obtained through the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and its Division of Fish and Wildlife. Locally, fishing licenses can be purchased from license agents throughout the state, either through the main DNREC office in Dover or online through the state department’s website portal. The various types of fishing credentials available to the fishermen of Delaware are available at different price points. Those who plan to take up fishing as a recreational activity must obtain a specific type of license that allows them to fish in both tidal and fresh waters throughout Delaware. Others who fish for profit, i.e. use the catch for commercial purposes, must obtain another type of license which allows them to fish as businesses. In any case, obtaining the appropriate fishing license is mandatory for you to fish freely throughout the state of Delaware and avoid the fines and penalties associated with fishing without proper licensure. For more information on how to get a fishing license in Delaware, click this link. Depending on the primary purpose of the fishing, there are two main types of fishing licenses in Delaware:

  • General recreational fishing licenses
  • Commercial fishing licenses


Delaware New Fishing Licenses

Getting a Delaware fishing license is a requirement if you plan to fish in state waters. This type of fishing license is also called a general license and is the permission you must obtain to fish in fresh or tidal waters if you are not planning to make profit from your catch. Note that the fees to buy a recreational license to fish may differ depending on whether you are a resident or a nonresident. Also, fees are subject to change without notice. To get a fishing license in Delaware, you must be between 16 and 64 years of age.

If you would like to obtain a permit to fish in Delaware, you can:

  • Buy a fishing license online.
  • Buy a fishing license in person, from authorized license agents.

If you decide on getting fishing licenses online, visit the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. Through its Automated Licensing System, you can buy a DE fishing license using Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit cards. To proceed with the purchase, click the “Hunting/Fishing Permits” link, which will redirect you to the Hunting and Fishing Licenses shopping cart. Then select the type of license you need and see how much you need to pay.

If your preferred method of buying a fishing permit is to go in person, you can find authorized license agents at a number of locations, including sporting goods stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, etc. You can find a convenient list of all license agents and their contact information on the official DNREC website, under the Division of Fish and Wildlife page in the Fisheries section.

Delaware Commercial Fishing Licenses

Getting a Delaware commercial fishing license is necessary for residents and visitors who catch fish to sell or barter. Since fishing for profit is a type of business, the law requires that applicants obtain a special license for this purpose. This permit to fish must be on your person at all times when you are angling for commercial purposes. In the event that you are caught fishing without the necessary credentials, you will be penalized by the state of Delaware. Said penalty often comes in the form of significant fines.

If you are a commercial fisherman and need to buy commercial fishing licenses in Delaware, your first point of contact is Vicki Rhodes. You can reach her at 302-739-9916, or you can send an email to: If you need more information about commercial fishing in Delaware, visit the DNREC website (the Division of Fish and Wildlife), where you can find the commercial fishing regulations, laws and any changes that may have occurred regarding the quotas and size limits on a seasonal level.

Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

Oftentimes you can buy a fishing license through your state’s fishing department website. You will most likely need to create an account on the webpage and have a printer nearby to finalize your transaction. Make sure to also have a valid credit card on hand, as no other form of payment is accepted by state departments online. Take note that, as proof of your residency, you may be required to enter your driver’s license number.
In a general sense, a good number of states offer the following types of fishing licenses: a regular fishing license and a commercial fishing license. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to get a saltwater license to fish, if you are by coastal waters. In addition to these permits, you may be required to buy a fishing stamp, depending on the specific type of fish species you intend to catch.
A regular fishing permit is often valid for the period of a full year. However, you may also have the option to obtain a license to fish that is good for 24 hours or 72 hours, for example. In some instances, a weekly fishing license or a lifetime license may also be available. Lifetime licenses to fish are the most suitable option for those anglers who intend to fish for the duration of their lives. Keep in mind that if you would like to continue fishing after the expiration date of your current licensure, you will be required to get a new permit to fish.
The fees related to a state fishing license may vary, depending on a few factors. But senior residents and military veterans can usually get a fishing license that is free of charge, as long as they can present official documentation that supports their residency or military service. Resident licenses to fish are often more affordable than nonresident licenses. The most costly licenses are for those who would like to get lifetime credentials.
In the event that you have lost your fishing license or it was stolen, the most common way to obtain a duplicate is through your state’s fishing department. You may be required to make an in-person visit to a nearby office or to contact a licensed agent directly. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to order a fishing permit replacement online. But, to be sure, it is important that you double check with your state department first, as you may also need to bring in certain documentation, such as your driver’s license or ID card.
This site is privately owned and is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, nor operated by a government agency.