Downstate trout season modified due to pandemic

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GREENWOOD — Delaware’s 2021 Downstate pond trout season will open early to minimize opening-day crowds and accommodate responsible outdoor recreation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Only Newton Pond near Greenwood will be stocked with trout, where the trout-fishing season will open several days earlier than previously scheduled, provided ice conditions do not prevent stocking or fishing.

Trout fishing will be allowed for only youth anglers under age 16 Sunday, followed by the opening of the regular trout season for all anglers Monday, with fishing allowed both days from 7 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules. Adults accompanying youth anglers Sunday are not allowed to fish that day.

Newton Pond will be closed to all fishing Tuesday through Saturday to accommodate trout stocking, to eliminate incidental hooking of trout and to allow stocked trout time to adjust to their new waters.

The pond will be stocked with more than 400 pounds of 12- to 13-inch rainbow trout before opening day, with additional stockings scheduled for the weeks of March 8 and 15. Trophy-sized trout weighing 2 or more pounds will also be stocked as an added attraction for trout anglers.

Those planning to fish Newton Pond should note that a Delaware fishing license is required for most, while a Delaware trout stamp is required through April 1 for most. Trout fishing lasts from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour before sunset aside from the youth-only and opening days. The daily possession limit is six trout.

Anglers are encouraged to practice social distancing, which is currently 6 feet from other individuals, approximately the length of some fishing rods.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s plans are subject to change based on health and safety considerations, and any further restrictions or changes to the season will be announced.

Proceeds from Delaware trout stamps are used to help purchase next year’s trout for stocking. This popular fishery is also supported by federal Sport Fish Restoration Program funds administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that are generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

Delaware fishing licenses and trout stamps are sold online and by license agents statewide. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife licensing office at 739-9918.

Information on fishing in Delaware is available in the Delaware Fishing Guide or by calling the Fisheries Section at 739-9914.