spacer
Fishing & boating montage
spacer
County Guide - click for index
spacer
Regional Reports - click for index
spacer
Biologist Reports/Fisheries Management - click for index
 
PA Summary Book text graphic
Regulations by Location
DELAWARE RIVER AND ESTUARY
Related page: Saltwater Angler Registry Program
spacer
The following seasons, sizes and creel limits apply to the Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and Delaware River tributaries, from the mouths of the tributaries upstream to the limit of the tidal influence and the Lehigh River from its mouth upstream to the first dam in Easton, Pennsylvania. The Delaware River estuary waters are listed below. Delaware River Blue Crab regulations are also listed on this page, below.
Species Seasons Minimum Size Daily Limit
Trout April 18 at 8 a.m. through Oct. 15 North of I-84:
14 inches
1 (combined species)
South of I-84:
No minimum
5 (combined species)
West Branch Delaware River*
12 inches
2 (combined species)
Bass
Largemouth
Smallmouth
Jan. 1 through April 17 and June 13 through Dec. 31 12 inches 5 (combined species)
April 18 through June 12 NO HARVEST - catch and immediate release only
Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge (Hybrids) Open year-round 40 inches 1
Northern Pike Open year-round 24 inches 2
Pickerel Open year-round 12 inches 5
Walleye

The portion of the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania - open year-round

The portion of the Delaware River between New York and Pennsylvania - Jan. 1 through March 14 and May 3 through Dec. 31

18 inches 3
American Shad** Open year-round No minimum 3
American Eel Open year-round 9 inches 25
Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass*** From the Pennsylvania state line upstream to Calhoun Street Bridge:
– Jan. 1 through March 31 and
– June 1 through Dec. 31
28 inches 2
From the Pennsylvania state line upstream to Calhoun Street Bridge:
– April 1 through May 31
20 to 26 inches 2
From Calhoun Street Bridge upstream:
– Open year-round
28 inches 2
Baitfish / Fishbait**** Open year-round No minimum 3
River Herring***** CLOSED YEAR-ROUND
Hickory Shad, Sturgeon and other threatened and endangered species (see Endangered & Threatened page for species listing) CLOSED YEAR-ROUND
Mussels / Clams CLOSED YEAR-ROUND
Other Species Inland seasons, size and creel limits apply except for waters under special regulations.
* A special no-kill season with the use of artificial lures only has been established on the West Branch of the Delaware River.
** American Shad is catch and release in the Schuylkill River from I-95 upstream including all tributaries and three (3) American Shad in all other Delaware River tributaries, including those above tide.
*** Separate fish consumption advisories for Delaware River estuary striped bass 20”–26” and over 28”.
****For all crayfish species, the head must be immediately removed behind the eyes upon capture unless used as bait in the water from which taken.
***** River Herring (Alewife and Blueback Herring) has a closed year-round season with zero daily limit applied to the Lehigh River and tributaries, the Schuylkill River and tributaries, the West Branch Delaware River, the Delaware River, the Delaware estuary, and the Delaware River tributaries upstream to the limit of the tidal influence.
spacer
DELAWARE RIVER ESTUARY
(including tributaries to limits of tidal influence)
The Delaware River estuary consists of the water areas listed below to their upper tidal limits.
Water Area Upper Tidal Limit
Chester Creek Kerlin Street (Chester city)
Crum Creek U.S. Route 13 (Eddystone)
Darby Creek Pine Street (Darby borough)
Delaware River From the PA state line upstream to the U.S. Route 1 bridge
Frankford Creek U.S. Route 13 (Frankford Avenue)
Marcus Hook Creek U.S. Route 13 (Marcus Hook borough)
Neshaminy Creek Hulmeville Falls
Pennypack Creek U.S. Route 13 (Frankford Avenue)
Poquessing Creek State Road
Ridley Creek MacDade Boulevard (Chester city)
Schuylkill River Fairmount Dam
DELAWARE RIVER BLUE CRABS
Harvesting blue crabs from the Delaware River and its estuary waters is permitted pursuant to the regulations below.
Seasons Minimum Size Daily Limit
Open year-round

4 inches* (hard shell)
3.5 inches* (soft shell)

One (1) bushel
(combined - hard shell and soft shell)
* measured point to point

FEMALE BLUE CRABS bearing eggs or from which the egg pouch or bunion has been removed may not be possessed.

CRAB POTS are limited to no more than two pots per person when taking crabs. In addition, two handlines may be used.

UNATTENDED CRAB POTS must be labeled with the name and address of the owner or user.

DISTURBING UNATTENDED CRAB POTS is unlawful, except by the owner, user or members of the immediate family, and officers or representatives of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

HORSESHOE CRABS are unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or purchase any horseshoe crabs. It is unlawful to import into or transport in this Commonwealth horseshoe crabs for the purpose of sale.

spacer
Summary Book Index
spacer
Bottom navigation bar
Copyright Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
click for Commonwealth of PA website click for list of PA state agencies click for PA online services Get your fishing license Register/title a boat Web Policies Site Map Contact Us PFBC Home Page