Surf fishing hero- COVID19

COVID-19 Surf Fishing Info

Special Update - June 30

New Limits Set for Beaches

In accordance with Gov. Carney’s goal of limiting interactions among people in Delaware’s beach areas to reduce transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the following restrictions to be imposed starting on Friday, July 3 and lasting until further notice:

  • The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks will be limited to approximately 60% of the parking capacity. When the 60% capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks. These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by DNREC Natural Resources Police, will not be managed based on a “one-in, one-out” policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.
  • At Cape Henlopen, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.
  • At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf fishing beaches, NRP officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances if vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the Governor’s emergency order.
  • Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas of all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
  • Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.

Surf-Fishing FAQs

Click links for information

What surf-fishing restrictions does the governor’s emergency order currently include?
  1. Any vehicle on the beach for the purpose of surf fishing must have a current Delaware surf fishing permit.
  2. Groups of no more than 10 people are allowed on state park beaches. All individuals in the group must be from the same household.
  3. Vehicles on the beach for this purpose must be at least 20 feet from any other vehicle.
  4. Including those provided in the Regulations Governing State Parks, 7 Del. Admin.C. § 9201, all other rules regarding surf fishing also apply.
  5. Persons on the beach for the purpose of surf fishing must follow the social distancing requirements detailed as part of the State of Emergency.
What surf-fishing vehicle crossings are open?

Under the governor’s order, the following vehicle crossings are open during park hours:

  • Fenwick Island State Park: All crossings – South, Middle and York vehicle crossings. The Fenwick Park bathhouse parking lot and Assawoman Wildlife Area remain closed.
  • Delaware Seashore State Park: 3Rs and Faithful Steward surf-fishing vehicle crossings. Conquest and Keybox crossings remain closed.
  • Cape Henlopen State Park: Gordons Pond, Herring Point, Navy, The Point and Beach Plum Island surf fishing vehicle crossings. Cape Henlopen State Park main bathhouse lot remains closed.

Download temporary surf-fishing maps to see surf-fishing areas that are open during the current state of emergency:

Do I need to purchase a regular Delaware fishing license?

The Delaware Surf-Fishing Permit serves as a fishing license for the permit holder. Any person fishing with the permit holder must have a valid Delaware fishing license, which may be purchased online.

Are bait shops allowed to remain open?

Yes. For convenience, the Division of Parks & Recreation has three bait shop concessionaires: Lighthouse View Bait & Tackle at Cape Henlopen State Park, Old Inlet Bait & Tackle at Delaware Seashore State Park and Hook ’em & Cook ’em, Bait, Tackle and Seafood at the Indian River Marina. Call ahead to any of these bait shops for information on when they are open for business.

The Centers for Disease recommend at least six feet of distance between people of different households. Why are vehicles on the beach for surf-fishing purposes required to maintain 20 feet of distance from other vehicles?

Natural Resource Police need to be able to safely and easily check for compliance with the restrictions; groups of 10 or fewer people with vehicles widely spaced can be determined quickly and visually.

Where do I report suspected violations of the current restrictions?

Contact DNREC’s State Park Rangers via Tip411, DNREC’s smartphone app, or by calling the 24-hour DNREC Dispatch Center at (302) 739-4580. Tip411 allows the public to easily report concerns. Anyone can send anonymous reports of crimes, emergencies and other problems directly via text message by texting their report, along with the keyword STATEPARKSTIP. The app is available for free download by searching DENRP via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.

How do I know if out-of-state visitors who are surf fishing have met the 14-day quarantine rule?

The order requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days will be lifted on June 1. Surf anglers may make contact with a patrolling park ranger if concerned about a particular out-of-state vehicle. Any enforcement on the beaches will be consistent with the Governor's order.

How will these restrictions be enforced?

Division of Parks and Recreation rangers are conducting routine beach patrols to ensure the limitations included in the State of Emergency modification that allows surf fishing are strictly adhered to. Failure to comply may result in the revocation of one’s surf-fishing permit and/or fines up to $500.

Why are people allowed to surf-fish in Delaware during a stay-at-home order?

Drive-on surf-fishing is considered a recreational activity in which safe social distancing can be maintained.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control offers a few tips for enjoying the outdoors safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period:
  • Keep your social distance, even when outside. Enjoy less crowded areas. Limit your group to fewer than 10 people and keep at least 6 feet away from other visitors.
  • Avoid close-contact activities. Instead, fish, hike, paddle board, ride a bicycle or explore nature.
  • Don’t rent or share sports equipment. Use your own binoculars, bike, fishing rod, golf disc, kayak, yoga mat, etc.
  • Wipe down sports equipment before and after use. Disinfect gear with federal recommended products including diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol and EPA-registered household disinfectants.
  • Avoid playgrounds. Delaware State Parks has closed all its playgrounds, but they may still be open in other areas. Surfaces like slides and swings have a lot of touch points that could potentially spread the virus.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands. Use soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. If you’re sick or have been sick in the past two weeks, please stay home to recuperate.
Social Distancing in Delaware State Parks graphic