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Fishing License Exemptions and Exceptions

Fishing Regulations Icon Delaware Fishing

Exempt anglers are required to get a FIN number (Fishing License Information), unless otherwise noted below.

The following are exemptions or exceptions to the license provisions:

  • Surf Fishing Permit – Residents and non-residents are exempt from fishing license requirements if they are the operator of a vehicle with a valid Delaware surf fishing vehicle permit when that vehicle is located on a designated Delaware State Park beach. Other occupants of that vehicle are required to have a fishing license if they are fishing.
  • Seniors – Residents of the State of Delaware age 65 years and older are exempt from fishing license requirements, but must have proof of age and residency.
  • Children – Children under the age of 16 are exempt from the license and FIN requirement.
  • Other Exemptions – Anyone qualifying for the following exemptions should contact the Division at (302) 739-9918.
    • Any resident who owns or lives on a farm in this state containing 20 or more acres and the members of his or her immediate family who reside on the farm may fish on that farm without a license.
    • A member of the armed forces who is a patient in a military hospital and submits a written statement signed by the patient’s commanding officer certifying the nature of the disability and place of station.
    • Persons who are patients in any Veterans Administration facility in this State, or in any public hospital or sanitarium for the treatment of tuberculosis, or a patient in a rehabilitation hospital under the State Department of Health, provided such person carries identification which verifies his or her status as such a patient, shall not be required to purchase a fishing license. Forms shall be supplied to such persons when they apply for their licenses to be used for the identification purposes.
    • Residents living in this State for at least 1 year immediately prior to the date of application for a license who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States and certified by the Veterans Administration as having at least a 60% service-connected disability.
    • Any Delaware resident that is a patient in a rehabilitation hospital under the Department of Health and Social Services. Any Delaware resident who is legally blind.
    • Any person who fishes in a fee-fishing facility, registered as such with the Department of Agriculture.
    • Any resident who has served honorably for 90 or more consecutive days on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, including service as a member of the Delaware National Guard, in military actions in Southwest Asia associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom may, for the first 12 months following the date the resident was honorably discharged or removed from active status, be issued a license to fish in this State without charge.
    • Any member of the US armed forces, including any reserve component, serving on full time active duty in Delaware while not deployed or on temporary duty, and any member of Delaware’s National Guard, shall be eligible for a resident fishing license. Qualifying persons should contact the Division at (302) 739-9918.

Duplicate Licenses

Duplicate licenses may be printed two times free of charge by visiting www.fw.delaware.gov. Select Licenses, Permits and Registrations and the Lost Your Recreational License? For more information contact the Recreational Licensing Office at (302) 739-9918.

Fishing License Dollars

Where do your Fishing License Dollars go?

Your license and trout stamp purchases allow the Division to secure additional federal Sport Fish Restoration funds used for fisheries research, maintenance and construction of fishing areas, and aquatic education. Please note that anglers exempted from purchasing a fishing license may voluntarily purchase a license and/or trout stamp to support these activities. The Division is grateful to anglers that contribute to our mission in this way. For more information, please visit us at www.fw.delaware.gov/fisheries.