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Memorial Day Weekend Friday 6am-8pm Saturday 5am-8pm Sunday 5am-7pm Monday 6am-7pm
Indian River Inlet Tides for Today 05/25/24
4:21am L | 10:29am H | 3:54pm L | 10:56pm H

Fishing 101

Whether you are beginning angler or an experienced angler new to the area, we can help get you ready to experience the best fishing on the East coast. The How's, When's and Where's for fishing this area are described here.


A license is now required to crab, clam abd fish in saltwater in Delaware. This license can be purchased at Old Inlet. For more information please click on the following link: http://www.fw.delaware.gov/Fisheries/Pages/Fisheries.aspx

Beach Permit -A permit is required to drive a 4WD vehicle on the beach. This permit can be obtained from the Life Saving Station Museum across the street from Old Inlet.

Boat Registration - Locally, boat registrations can be purchased from McKinney Marine - Rt. 1 Rehoboth and Bob's Marine - Rt. 26 Clarksville.


Indian River Inlet: A great place to fish and the easiest to access. You do not have to go out on the jetty to catch fish in the Inlet. Fishing is good all the way back to the marinas on the North and South Side. The bottom in the inlet is rocky, especially around the bridge so be prepared to lose tackle. Don't try to fish the bottom or it will get expensive. The majority of the fishing in the inlet (from the jetties back to the Coast Guard Station) is cast and retrieve on the surface with artificial lures (bucktails and plugs). If you do not want to cast and retrieve then go back past the Coast Guard Station on the north side where the bottom is sandy and you may just find a flounder. The one exception to all of this is fishing for tautog and seabass. These species live amongst the rocks that eat fishing tackle. See the fishing tips for tautog and seabass below.

Fishing the inlet takes time to learn but it can be very rewarding. If you decide to venture out on to the jetty make sure you have the proper footwear (spiked shoes). Old Inlet Bait and Tackle (2 miles north of the inlet) carries spiked shoes. A permit is required to park in the lots at the inlet and can be obtained from the DSSP office on the North side of the inlet.

Fish you will find in the inlet: striped bass, sea trout, bluefish, seabass, tautog, flounder.

Surf: The beach is probably the easiest place to fish. There are 7 access points in the Delaware Seashore State Park. A permit is required to drive on the beach and park in these parking lots.

  1. 3 R's Road - 1 mile south of the inlet - drive on and walk-on
  2. Indian River Inlet South Parking Lot - walk on only
  3. Indian River Inlet North Parking Lot - walk on only
  4. Savage's Ditch Road - 1.5 miles north of the inlet - drive on and walk on
  5. Conquest Road - 2.5 miles north of the inlet - drive on and walk on
  6. Key Box Road - 4 miles north of the inlet - walk on only
  7. Towers Road - 5.5 miles north of the inlet - walk on only

The number one tip for fishing the beach is don't cast over the fish. Most people throw the bait out there as far as they can and completely miss the fish. Fish feed right behind the breaking waves. This is where the bait fish congregate to feed on critters stirred up by the waves. You want your bait to be where the bait is. The most common rig is a two hook rig with floats to keep the bait just off the bottom. This keep the crabs from eating it. On a calm day, with little wind, a 3 oz weight should be plenty. Pyramid sinkers or hurricane sinkers are preferable because their shape keeps them from rolling around on the bottom. An 8-10 foot rod is fine for the surf in this area because you do not need to cast very far. Surf fishing starts and March and is good into November, weather permitting.

Fish you will find on the surf: striped bass, sea trout, bluefish, kingfish, spot, croaker, blowfish, sharks, skates.

Inland Bays: Fishing the inland bays in this area really requires a boat. Flounder fishing is excellent in the Indian River and Rehoboth Bays. Drift the edges of the channels using minnows, shiners and/or squid. The area from Buoy 24 back to 19A is very productive. The slough behind the Sothshore Marina back towards Quillens Point is another good flounder drift. Occasionally, striped bass, bluefish and trout will find their way into the inland bays. Dewey Beach Surf and Sport rents small boats for fishing in the bay.

Nearshore Ocean: Nearshore wrecks and artificial reefs are good places to find tautog and seabass. Seabass can also be found on the open bottom around "B" Buoy. A good flounder drift is about a mile off the old Coast Guard Station. In the fall spot and croaker can be found using strips of squid on the open bottom.

Offshore: Offshore fishing season starts in the spring (May) with the arrival of the bluefish. Bluefish can usually be found southeast of the Delaware lightship. Troll artificial baits such as ponytails or swimming plugs. Mako sharks move in with the bluefish. Mackerel and bluefish are the best bait along with a chum slick. Tuna season starts in mid June and Marlin show up by the first week of July. The tuna season usually starts with trolling and switches to chunking in late July.

Want to charter an offshore trip? Check our Charter Service Directory.


Striped Bass: Stripers can be found in the Indian River Inlet year round. Bucktails and live eels will work anytime. In June (leading up to the full moon) poppers and plugs become more popular. Then in the heat of the summer (July and August) bounce lead heads with artificial worms on the bottom. The surf is productive in the spring. Use bloodworms.

Bluefish: Bluefish show up on the surf around Mother's day and move into the inlet shortly thereafter. On the surf use cut bait such as mullet or spot . In the inlet use bucktails. During the fall bluefish can be taken in the inlet using big plugs and poppers.

Trout: Trout arrive a week or two after the bluefish. On the surf use cut bait or peelers crabs. In the inlet use bucktails during the spring and switch to artificial baits like Mirrolures, Rat'l Traps and top water poppers with the approach of the full moon in June. During the late summer/ early fall live spot are the best bait in the inlet (boat fishing). Surfishing in the fall is good for trout as well. Use fresh spot and/or mullet.

Flounder: The regulated flounder season starts in mid May and runs into October. The inland bays are most productive early in the season and then in the late summer early/ fall fishing picks up in the nearshore flounder slough 1 mile off the old Coast Guard Station. Drift minnows, squid, or shiners on the bottom.

Tautog and Black Seabass: Tautog and seabass fishing starts in the inlet and on the wrecks/reefs around the first of April. Sand fleas and green crabs are the best bait. Tautog are the most clever bait stealer around. Fishing for them requires alot of finesse.

Kingfish, Spot, Croaker and Blowfish: Kingfish show up on the surf in May with spot, croaker and blowfish arriving in late June. Bloodworms and peelers are the best bait.

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