Trout fishing in New Castle County

May 1, 2021

On Tuesday, I drove up to New Castle County to take advantage of the stocked streams that I help fund with the purchase of my trout stamp. This year, because of COVID-19, the usual opening day was held early and restocking dates were unannounced. I realized before I left that it was very late in the season and that most of the stocked trout were probably gone, but Tuesday was such a beautiful day and I hadn’t been up there for several years, so I decided to make the trip.

My first stop was Captain Bones in Odessa, where Patty Folly fixed me up with a supply of worms, snelled hooks and a Rooster Tail spinner. I have known Patty, and knew her late husband Danny, for many years, so it is always good to visit and catch up with her.

When I arrived at Wilson Run in Brandywine Creek State Park, there was only one other angler there. I parked my truck next to his, grabbed my tackle and walked down the hill to Wilson Run. I think I forgot about the hills at Brandywine Creek State Park. At my advanced years, it was quite an adventure going down with bramble bushes grabbing at my feet.

Once at the Stone Bridge, where I have enjoyed many opening days with my two sons, I didn’t see a single fish. The footbridge, a little downstream, was where the other angler was setting up shop. He had three lines in the water from the bridge but said so far, he hadn’t had a bite.

I kept going downstream until I came to a deep hole below a set of rapids where I decided to try my luck. I tossed my worm-baited hook into the current so it floated into the deep hole and was taken immediately. My excitement was short-lived, as the fish turned out to be a sunfish. Two more casts produced two mill roach. Not exactly the trout I was hoping for.

I continued downstream with pretty much the same results until I decided I’d had as much fun as I could take. At this point, I came out of the woods and saw my truck about a half-mile away, uphill. I will not bore you with sorry details of my long climb back up, but I will say my days of fishing Wilson Run are over.

Once I recovered and had some refreshment, I headed to Beaver Run, the scene of my childhood fishing adventures. It is now part of Delaware’s National Park System. 

The very narrow road is lined with a steel guardrail or very large rocks, leaving two parking spots, and both of them were filled. I could have parked down by Brandywine Creek and walked about a mile back, but I was about walked out for the day.

And so ended a very disappointing fishing trip.

Fishing report

The big news on the fishing front comes from Amanda at Lewes Harbour Marina, where C.J. Rickards weighed in an 11.32-pound bluefish. He caught the big blue on a surface plug at an undisclosed location. I also had a report from Jim Hutchinson, editor of the New Jersey-Delaware Bay edition of The Fisherman magazine, of another big bluefish caught in South Jersey. With the abundance of menhaden in our waters, could we see a run of big blues this spring? We can only hope.

Old Inlet Bait and Tackle said shad fishing has been good at Indian River Inlet, with shad darts and small spoons doing most of the damage. I have had good results using a 2- to 3-ounce Stingsilver with a shad dart tied about 8 to 10 inches behind. The Stingsilver helps get the dart down in the strong current of the inlet.

Old Inlet also said a few big rockfish have been caught in the surf on cut bunker. I also had a report from Brandy Timmons that she, her daughter Brooke and boyfriend Shawn Smith caught hickory shad in the surf over the weekend. I am going to guess that if you were to catch hickory shad out of the inlet or surf and then use them for bait, they might produce a big rockfish. I am also going to guess that working big swimming plugs at the inlet or along the beach at night could be very rewarding.

Tog fishing remains good when boats can fish the Outer Wall or ocean structure. Reef Site 11 produced good results last weekend for a private boat.

Flounder remain a no-show for most anglers. One or two here and there, with most folks going without. This current warm spell should improve the water temperature and put the flatfish in a feeding mood.


  • 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 several publications and 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

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