Ponds are alive with activity

March 10, 2011

Fishing is showing signs of life as freshwater anglers lead the way.  Last week I followed their lead and tried my luck at the Broadkill River next to the park in Milton.  Using a crappie jig with a green twister tail I managed to catch two largemouth bass and one yellow perch.  One bass was about 8 to 10 inches while the other was between 12 and 14 inches.  I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the fish.  A short stint over the weekend from the dock at Red Mill Pond failed to produce any interest in the same lure.

There have been reports and photos on showing good catches of perch, crappie and pickerel from Delaware ponds.  I hope to have my boat ready in the next week or two and plan to start fishing those areas. Saltwater fishing is still shut down and will remain so until the water warms.

Trout season
The Delaware trout season is now open at Newton Pond between Ellendale and Greenwood.  I have fished here on several opening days and it is a great place to take the family.  In addition to a long shoreline there is a fishing pier with easy access.  Parking is on a first-come basis but I have never had a problem finding space.  There is a ramp for car-top boats, canoes and kayaks.  Boats with motors are prohibited.

Anglers may keep up to six trout per day.  Catch and release is not encouraged as the fish will not survive during the summer.

Trout fishermen will need a trout stamp in addition to their general fishing license.  Trout stamps cost $4.20 for ages 16 and older with a $2.10 charge for ages 12 to 15.  The money received from the trout stamp is used to purchase trout for the 2012 stocking program.  You can purchase your stamp and license online at

Newton Pond is located east of Greenwood. From Greenwood, take Route 16 east toward Ellendale approximately 2 3/4 miles and turn right on Hunters Cove Road. Cross Owens Road and continue approximately 1.1 miles.
Look for the fishing area sign on the right. Access is down a long dirt lane on the right side. GPS address is approximately 13125 Hunters Cove Road, Greenwood, DE 19950.

Henlopen Point closed
As happens every year, the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park closed Tuesday, March 1, and will remain closed until Sept. 30.  This closure is to protect the endangered piping plover from human intrusion.  There may be more beach closings should the plovers decide to set up housekeeping in other areas.

Some fishermen and other beach goers constantly complain about the piping plover, but they are wasting their breath.  This bird is listed as an endangered species and we are lucky to have what beach we do get access to during the nesting season.  The poor folks who want to access the beach on Hatteras Island and the various businesses that these tourists support have seen their beaches closed and their profits turned to losses.  A federal judge recently upheld the beach closings, so there is little hope that anything can be done to save the business people on the island.

The National Park Service has gone so far as to kill predators such as foxes and raccoons to keep the plovers safe.  Black-backed gulls are another piping plover predator, and I wonder what the National Audubon Society and the Defenders of Wildlife would say if the park service stared shooting them.  No need to worry since the current budget crisis would prohibit the National Park Service from buying enough ammunition to kill all of those birds.

Should shooting piping plover predators become the policy in Delaware, they would have to add feral cats to the list.

This would put the cat people at odds with bird people and I would love to have the ticket concession for that fight.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at