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Youth Fishing & Tournament Info

38th Annual Youth Fishing Tournament

As part of its activities for National Fishing and Boating Week, June 1–9, the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold its 38th annual Youth Fishing Tournament from 10 a.m.–1 p.m., Saturday June 1, 2024. The event will take place at designated ponds statewide.

This fishing event is for youths ages 4 to 15. An adult must accompany youths under age 12 and contestants should bring their own fishing equipment. The tournament is free to the public and prizes will be awarded for each age group and largest fish caught in each species.

The tournament was established to introduce youth to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch and release approach to conservation. Registration is free and there is no entrance fee required. The tournament is held rain or shine.

In addition to the youth fishing tournament celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week, the Division has designated June 1 and 2, 2024 as free fishing days when anyone may fish in Delaware’s waters without a fishing license.

Aquatic Resources Education Center

You can learn about native Delaware sportfish and fishing opportunities in the First State by visiting Delaware’s Aquatic Resources Education Center at 2520 Lighthouse Rd., Smyrna, near the Route 9 Bayshore Byway. The center offers two stocked catch and release fishing ponds, and a unique vantage point for exploring the tidal salt marsh bordering the Delaware Bay. There is a boardwalk which provides an opportunity to look out over the tidal salt marsh, plus trails and interpretive signs with information about Aquatic Resources Education features including the popular Take a Kid Fishing! Program.

2024 Take a Kid Fishing! Program

Fishing is a great outdoor activity for the entire family. The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife offers free Take A Kid Fishing! events at the Aquatic Resources Education Center as well as other ponds throughout Delaware. Take a Kid Fishing! is geared to kids age 6 to 15 and their families. Participants learn about basic fishing skills and they have a chance to try their hand at catching a fish. Why not join us this summer for a great day at the water’s edge?


Please check for the most current and accurate information on the 2024 Take A Kid Fishing! schedule, event locations, and additional information about our programs.


Take a Kid Fishing! events are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. You can register by sending an email to mary.rivera@delaware. gov. This program is part of Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is in conjunction with the national No Child Left Inside program. Find us on Facebook at:


In 2022 the Aquatic Resources Education Center sponsored a new fly fishing class for adults and we are interested in gauging interest in future classes. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in participating in future fly fishing courses.

Delaware’s Small Pond Program

The Division has nine small ponds scattered throughout the State which offer shore angling targeted at youth. The ponds range from ½ to 8 acres and contain good populations of largemouth bass and bluegill. Catch and release is the order of the day so barbless hooks are required at most. Additional information about the pond locations and available facilities can be found at:

Largemouth Bass Tournament Permits

A Division of Fish & Wildlife Fishing Event Permit is required to hold a Largemouth Bass tournament in Delaware’s public ponds or rivers, regardless of the number of boats or anglers participating in the tournament. Applications may be submitted online at: or by calling the Division’s Enforcement Section at (302) 739-9913. Tournaments held on State Park properties must be approved by the Division of Parks and Recreation prior to submitting a permit application. Contact the appropriate park office for approval: Lums Pond (302) 368-6989, Killens Pond (302) 284-4526, and Trap Pond (302)875-5153.

The Tournament Director/Organizer must submit a Largemouth Bass Tournament Report ( within 30 days of tournament completion. Tournament anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release and to implement other measures that minimize stress to bass caught during tournaments. These conservation measures, links to the permit application and reporting form, and a newsletter for bass anglers, can be found on the Division’s Largemouth Bass Tournament page at: Contact the Fisheries Section at (302)739-9914 for additional information.