How to Get a Delaware Fishing License: Step-by-Step Breakdown

Last Updated on May 26, 2023

Delaware offers various waters for fishing carp, white perch, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, striped bass, bluegill, flounder, and many more.

Delaware’s fishing regulations are what help to not only conserve and improve fish populations, but help every angler have the opportunity to catch some fish.

It is our job to follow Delaware’s laws regarding fishing, and it starts with obtaining a fishing license.

Whether you want a general fishing license as a resident or a Delaware non-resident fishing license, there are some essentials you should know before getting your license.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Delaware

The state of Delaware requires both residents and non-residents over age 16 to obtain a license for all fishing, clamming, or crabbing in tidal and non-tidal waters. 

Before fishing in the waters of Delaware, you must have a Delaware issued Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number annually issued to you.

There is not a fee to have a FIN number. Your FIN number is automatically issued to you when you buy your fishing license in the state of Delaware.

Delaware residents that are over page 65 do not need a fishing permit, but they do need to provide proof of residency.

Senior citizens (over age 65) also do not need to have a fishing permit to fish on their own land if it is over 20 acres or if they fish in fee based areas.

Those fishing in some of the many Delaware state parks, such as Lums, Killens, Cape Henlopen, and Alapocas Run state parks, must have their fishing licenses valid and up-to-date year-round unless they have exemptions. 

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Delaware?

delaware fishing river

In Delaware, children that are younger than 16 years of age are not required to have a fishing license, but they must still follow all fishing regulations and limits.

Anyone over the age of 16 must have a fishing license in Delaware, whether you are fishing for saltwater or freshwater fish. 


As a resident of Delaware, you are eligible to obtain a fishing license. A resident of Delaware is someone who has resided in the state for more than 183 days of the year between December 31st and January 1st.

To prove your Delaware residency, you must provide a valid state ID or driver’s license.


Those who are not Delaware residents can fish in Delaware, but they must have a non-resident fishing license. These licenses are applicable to anyone visiting the state that would like to fish from other areas.

While the non-resident licenses do cost more than the resident licenses, they must still be obtained to fish as a non-resident of Delaware.

How to Buy a Delaware Fishing License 

There are a few ways to purchase your Delaware fishing license.


The most simple way to get your license is to purchase a Delaware fishing license online. Delaware’s digital DNREC ePermitting system allows you to buy recreational fishing licenses, permits, passes, and stamps online. 

To get your Delaware fishing license online, you must sign in using an existing account or you can create a new account.

You will need to fill out a form, including information regarding your name, date of birth, email, and residency. Once completed, you can pay online and simply print out your fishing license at home.

Authorized Licensing Agent

You can purchase your fishing license in Delaware from an authorized licensing agent. Some of the agents sell only fishing licenses, while others sell hunting licenses. 

The licensing agents can be found at businesses such as Al’s Sporting Goods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabelas, Wal-Mart, Captain Bones, and Master Baiters in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

Your license would be printed out in person by the licensing agent.

Licensing Desk

Another way to purchase your fishing license in person is by visiting a licensing desk inside DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building. It will be printed out there for your convenience. 

How much is a fishing license in Delaware

Fishing License TypeResident FeeNon-Resident Fee
General Fishing License$8.50$20.00
7 Day Tourist License$12.50$12.50
Group Delaware Boat Fishing License (20 feet or less)$40.00$40.00
Group Delaware Boat Fishing License (20 feet or more)$50.00$50.00
Fishing Guide License$100.00$300.00
Charter Boat Fishing License$150.00$300.00
Head Boat Fishing License$300.00$600.00
Trout Stamp Ages 12-15$2.10$6.20
Trout Stamp Ages 16-64$4.20$6.20

Both residents and non-residents of Delaware do not need a fishing license if their vehicle has a valid Delaware for surf fishing vehicle permit when that vehicle is on a Delaware state park beach.

Others who do not own the vehicle must have a license.

In addition, there is not a specific Delaware saltwater fishing license, A fishing license applies to all types of fish in the state, crabs, and clams. 

However, anglers wishing to fish for trout must have a Delaware trout stamp with their fishing license.

Residents and non-residents wishing to obtain a boat fishing license, whether for sportfish tournaments or bass fishing, should know that the fee covers everyone in the boat. It is not a fee per person.

If bass fishing, knowing the temperature of the water can help you steer your boat in the right direction to catch plenty of bass.

Who Can Get a Free Fishing License in Delaware?

In Delaware, certain individuals may be eligible for a free fishing license. These include:

  • Resident veterans with a service-connected disability of 60% or more: Delaware residents who are veterans with a service-connected disability of 60% or more may qualify for a free fishing license.
  • Non-resident military personnel: Active duty military personnel stationed in Delaware may fish without a license in Delaware’s tidal waters, provided they have a valid military ID.
  • Delaware residents aged 65 or older: Delaware residents aged 65 or older may obtain a free fishing license.
  • Residents who are legally blind: Delaware residents who are legally blind may obtain a free fishing license.
  • Delaware residents with intellectual disabilities: Delaware residents with intellectual disabilities may obtain a free fishing license.
  • Delaware residents with a one-day fishing license who later purchase an annual license: Delaware residents who purchase a one-day fishing license and later decide to purchase an annual license may receive a credit for the cost of the one-day license.

It is important to note that individuals who qualify for a free fishing license must still comply with all fishing regulations and may need to obtain additional permits for certain types of fishing.

What Do I Do If I Lose My Delaware Fishing License?

If you lose your fishing license in Delaware, there are four important steps you’ll want to take right away:

  1. Report the loss: You should report the loss of your fishing license to the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife by calling (302) 739-9918 or emailing [email protected]. This will help prevent someone else from using your lost license.
  1. Obtain a replacement license: You can obtain a replacement license online through the Delaware Recreational Licensing System, by calling the Division of Fish and Wildlife at (302) 739-9918, or by visiting a licensing agent.
  1. Pay the replacement fee: There is a fee for obtaining a replacement fishing license, which varies depending on the type of license you had. You can find current fee information on the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website.
  1. Carry your replacement license with you: Once you receive your replacement license, be sure to carry it with you whenever you go fishing.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a fishing license cost in Delaware?

The cost of a fishing license fee can vary in Delaware depending on the type of license you want to obtain. A general fishing license for a resident is $8.50 and $20.00 for non-residents.

Can you fish in Delaware without a license?

No, all anglers over age 16 must have a fishing license to fish, crab, or clam in Delaware with a FIN number.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know all there is to know regarding a Delaware fishing license, you can get your license and fish according to Delaware’s state laws.

As anglers, it is our job to help fund the organizations that help to maintain the Delaware waters and keep them beautiful. 

Getting your fishing license in Delaware helps to fund the fish and wildlife department through the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

If you want to find some of the best bass fishing in Delaware, feel free to check out our interactive bass fishing map!