Upstate trout season opens March 28-29

March 20, 2021

This year has been difficult for downstate trout fishermen. The only water stocked with trout was Newton Pond, and that is not the easiest place to fish. Tidbury Pond in Dover was not stocked because of fears that fishermen would gather too close together, and that would violate the current COVID-19 mandates. In addition, opening day was moved from the first Saturday in March to the last Monday of February, preceded by a youth day when only those age 16 and younger could fish.

The same plan will be followed for opening trout fishing in New Castle County. Youth day will be Sunday, March 28, followed by opening day Monday, March 29.  All of the usual trout streams: White Clay Creek, Red Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek will be stocked with thousands of rainbow and brown trout, including some trophy-sized fish. Stocking will continue on a weekly basis at White Clay Creek and periodically at the other trout streams. All of the trout waters will be closed to fishing March 14-27.

Fishing on youth day and opening day will begin at 7 a.m. and stop a half-hour after sunset. After that, fishing in the trout streams may begin a half-hour before sunrise and continue until a half-hour after sunset.

There is a special fly-fishing-only section in White Clay Creek that runs from 25 yards above Thompson’s Bridge at Chambers Rock Road to the Pennsylvania line. The bag limit here is four trout per person, while it is six trout in all other trout waters.

Unless exempt, anglers will need a general fishing license and a trout stamp to fish in any of the trout streams. All trout stamp funds go to finance the trout program.

I realize it is a long way from the Cape Region to northern New Castle County, but if you can make the trip and you enjoy fishing for trout or just fishing in a quiet setting on a warm spring day, the trip will be worthwhile.

I grew up fishing Beaver Run and I took both my boys on opening day to Wilson Run, so I really enjoy going back to those locations. I will leave my house at o’dark-thirty and try to be at Wilson Run sometime around daybreak. There is plenty of parking at Brandywine Springs State Park and my surf-fishing permit gets me in for free.

I will have a supply of worms and small yellow twister tails that the trout seem to love. As a general rule, you can see the fish by the bridge, and with any luck, I can catch one or two right away. Then I will move downstream, fishing as I go, with the twister tails on a crappie jig or shad dart. Sooner or later, I will switch to a live worm on a small hook and just wait for a fish to find it.

After lunch I will head over to Beaver Run just for old times’ sake. I caught my first trout there in the early 1950s on a Daredevil spoon that I tossed to the base of the old dam. This was before Delaware began a stocking program, so I figured that fish came from Pennsylvania.

After fishing a few spots and a short nap, I will head for home. Try to get ahead of the traffic.

I don’t fish White Clay Creek, even though that body of water sees the most trout. It is a shorter drive, but parking can be a problem and it just doesn’t hold the same memories as Wilson and Beaver runs. At this stage of my life, memories are more important than fish.

Fishing report

Still nothing to report from the open ocean or bay, as the water temperature remains in the low 40s. On top of that, the wind continues to blow at a steady 15 to to 20 knots when it’s not blowing a gale.

White perch action has improved in the tidal creeks and rivers. The Nanticoke River out of Sharptown saw excellent action over last weekend, with bloodworms and grass shrimp the best baits. Millington, Md., saw the first good run of yellow perch.

I stopped by the Broadkill River on Friday and watched several anglers fishing from the town park in Milton. They were using bait and lures, and while I was there on high tide, I never saw anyone catch a fish. I did see a lot of activity on the surface of the water that could have been herring. These fish are protected and you may not posses them, but the fact that they are moving up the river is a sure sign that spring is on the way.


  • 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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