The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reached the limit of 17,000 Delaware standard surf fishing permits issued for 2022;.
The permits were sold out in hours, according to media reports.
While no more standard surf fishing permits that allow fishing anytime will be sold until the 2023 season, the popular off-peak permits introduced by DNREC last year are still available and allow fishing all days except summer weekends and holidays.
In 2019, the Delaware Parks and Recreation Advisory Council established a 17,000 cap on standard surf fishing permit sales. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation implemented a first-come, first-served cap on the number of permits issued as the most equitable way to serve all beach users, and to manage a limited resource, while also protecting against overcrowding of park beaches, a release stated.
Off-peak surf fishing permits are still available. There is no cap on the number of off-peak surf fishing permits, which were piloted in 2021, to be issued.
Off-peak surf fishing permits may be used seven days a week during the off-season, which runs from Feb. 1 to May 29 and again from Sept. 6 through Dec. 31. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, off-peak permits may only be used Mondays through Fridays; Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day are excluded. The off-peak permit also allows entry into all Delaware State Parks without paying the daily entrance fee.
The off-peak permit fee for Delaware residents is $70, while the fee for out-of-state residents is $140. Delaware residents age 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $60.
The rush to get surf fishing permits accelerated during Covid-19 pandemic and produced some headaches on the enforcement side with some permit holders hitting the beach to party rather than fish.
To purchase an off-peak surf fishing permit, go to www.destateparks.com or visit any park office within Delaware State Parks. Off-peak surf fishing permits also serve as a Delaware State Parks annual pass that provides access to all 17 state parks. Park user fees, including surf fishing permit fees, provide 65% of the Division of Parks and Recreation’s funding, and are used to operate and maintain the parks.
For surf fishing rules, regulations and other important information, go to www.destateparks.com/adventures/fishing.