Fly fishing is a cherished angling technique that requires finesse, skill, and an appreciation for the natural world. With its diverse aquatic ecosystems and serene landscapes, Delaware offers fly fishing enthusiasts a wealth of opportunities to test their angling prowess.
From tranquil streams to flowing rivers, the "First State" is a hidden gem for fly fishing enthusiasts. In this article, we'll explore the top 12 places to fly fish in Delaware, along with essential gear and additional facts for a successful angling adventure.
Best Fly Fishing Locations in Delaware
Delaware's picturesque landscapes and diverse aquatic ecosystems offer fly fishing enthusiasts many opportunities to connect with nature and pursue their passion. From tranquil streams to expansive bays, Delaware boasts an impressive array of fly fishing destinations catering to beginners and seasoned anglers. Here are some of the top fly fishing locations in the state:
1. Beaver Run
Nestled within the picturesque embrace of the Brandywine Valley, Beaver Run offers a tranquil sanctuary for fly fishing enthusiasts. Beaver Run originates in Milford Township, just north of the borough of Trumbauersville, at an elevation of 530 feet (160 m). Flowing eastward for approximately 0.71 miles (1.14 km), it is joined by an unnamed tributary from the left before meandering east-southeast and ultimately veering northeast.
Beaver Run distinguishes itself with its thriving brown and rainbow trout population, making it an ideal destination for anglers of all experience levels to test their skills. The stream flows through private land but is open to the public for fishing, and it is stocked with rainbow trout annually while also supporting native populations of brook trout. Access to Beaver Run is available from Route 5 near Harbeson or from Route 24 near Millsboro.
Recommended Flies for the Beaver Run, Delaware:
- Holy Grail-Tungsten - Hairs Ear - Size 14
- Zebra Midge Red - Size 20
- Flashback Pheasant Tail - Size 20
2. Bellevue State Park
Located close to Wilmington, Bellevue State Park presents many fishing opportunities waiting to be discovered. The park's ponds and streams have been thoughtfully stocked with diverse fish species, including bass, sunfish, and trout.
Bellevue State Park is an exceptional choice for introducing beginners to the art of fly fishing. It offers a wide range of amenities close to the suburbs of Wilmington, including plenty of parking and easy access to the banks of its ponds.
Anglers should also make sure to utilize the park's nature center and educational programs, which offer valuable insight into the local ecology. A 1-and-1/8-mile fitness track surrounds a catch-and-release fishing pond stocked with bass, catfish, and sunfish.
Recommended Flies for Bellevue State Park, Delaware:
3. Brandywine Creek
The Brandywine Creek is a renowned Delaware waterway that beckons to fly fishing enthusiasts with its diverse fishing conditions. Characterized by riffles, pools, and stretches of calm waters, this creek caters to a broad range of fishing habitats.
Trout and bass, along with various other species, inhabit these waters. The accessibility and optimal fishing conditions make it an excellent choice for anglers of all skill levels. The shallow rapids downstream of the North Market Street Bridge provide exceptional opportunities for fly fishing.
Each year, this section of the creek is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, including some trophy-sized ones, in preparation for the run. This location is renowned in the state for its abundance of rainbow and brown trout, which are annually stocked here.
Recommended Flies for Brandywine Creek, Delaware:
4. Christina Creek
Flowing through the urban landscapes of Newark and Wilmington, Christina Creek presents an exceptional fly fishing opportunity that beautifully combines the vibrancy of city life with the tranquility of the angling experience.
March and April offer the best chances for catching large Rainbow Trout, weighing between 5 and 15 pounds. This creek is also renowned for its abundant smallmouth bass and carp populations, providing an intriguing challenge for anglers seeking diverse fish species.
Recommended Flies for Christina Creek, Delaware:
- Elk Hair Caddis CDC- TAN - Size 16
- Zebra Midge Black - Size 16
- Barbless Flashback Hare's Ear - Size 12
5. Christina River
The Christina River, larger than its tributary Christina Creek, offers a truly unique fly fishing experience. Located in Wilmington, it flows through various city parks and open spaces, allowing anglers to access the river directly from town. The Christina River is home to many fish species. Its tidal sections particularly host a diverse range of species, including striped bass, shad, and the occasional weakfish.
Recommended Flies for the Christina River, Delaware:
- Clouser Minnow - Siz 0/1
- Slump Buster - Size 8
- Lefty’s Deceiver - Size 0/1
6. Henlopen Flats
Henlopen Flats, situated along the picturesque shores of Delaware Bay, serves as a haven for fly fishers in search of saltwater escapades. The expansive and shallow waters of the flats harbor a diverse array of species, including striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish. The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park is the ideal spot for fly fishers to try their luck.
The flats also provide a stunning visual backdrop, with its rugged shoreline and dynamic tidal currents offering an incredible angling experience. The area is particularly famous for large striped bass, which can be spotted tailing in the shallow waters during the peak hours of outgoing tides.
Recommended Flies for the Henlopen flats, Delaware:
- Slump Buster - Size 8
- Lefty’s Deceiver - Size 0/1
- Poppers Size 4-10
7. Mill Creek
Flowing through the picturesque Pike Creek Valley, Mill Creek emerges as an exquisite treasure, offering an exceptional fly fishing experience. With its abundantly stocked trout population, this creek presents a splendid opportunity for anglers to indulge in the art of trout fishing, particularly during the stocking season.
Its close proximity to urban areas makes Mill Creek a convenient haven for those seeking a quick escape into nature. Located just 3.1 miles from Pike Creek in Delaware's New Castle County, this stream teems with a diverse range of fish, including largemouth bass, bream/bluegill, and smallmouth bass.
Recommended Flies for Mill Creek, Delaware:
8. Persimmon Run Creek
Nestled discreetly as a small tributary of the Brandywine Creek, Persimmon Run Creek offers an exclusive and secluded fly fishing experience. Spanning 1.69 miles, this tributary joins the West Branch Christina River in New Castle County, Delaware. Originating from the Big Elk Creek divide in Cecil County, Maryland, Persimmon Run flows southeast before curving northeast into New Castle.
This hidden treasure is renowned for its thriving population of wild brook trout, adding an element of exhilaration to the angling adventure. The creek's narrow confines and the expansive vegetation allow for precise casting and delicate presentations—a challenge that avid fly fishing enthusiasts truly appreciate.
Recommended Flies for Persimmon Run Creek, Delaware:
9. Pike Creek
Meandering gracefully through New Castle County, Pike Creek reveals its versatility through its diverse fishing environments. From gentle, slow-moving sections to lively riffles and inviting pools, the creek hosts an array of fish species, including bass, sunfish, and catfish. Pike Creek's accessibility and the ever-changing fishing conditions it provides make it a versatile destination that caters to the preferences of a wide spectrum of fly fishers.
Recommended Flies for Pike Creek, Delaware:
10. Red Clay Creek
Red Clay Creek, distinguished as a designated Wild Trout Stream, emerges as a must-visit sanctuary for ardent fly fishers. The creek's limestone-infused waters sustain a self-sustaining population of brown and rainbow trout. This natural abundance is further enhanced by a plentiful aquatic insect population, resulting in an ecosystem that fosters robust fish populations. The appeal of Red Clay Creek lies in its refreshing waters and flourishing insect life.
Recommended Flies for Red Clay Creek, Delaware:
11. White Clay Creek
Flowing through both Delaware and Pennsylvania, White Clay Creek is a testament to the harmonious convergence of diverse ecosystems. The creek's reputation for an array of aquatic insect life presents a culinary delight for the resident trout. The mixture of stocked and wild trout populations is set against the backdrop of the creek's scenic allure, creating an environment where a well-placed fly can lead to a rewarding angling experience.
Recommended Flies for White Clay Creek, Delaware:
12. Wilsons Run
Wilson Run is a beautiful tributary that spans 2.26 miles in length. It is located in New Castle County, Delaware, and flows into Brandywine Creek. Nestled within the embrace of White Clay Creek State Park, Wilsons Run unveils itself as a modest yet promising fly fishing destination.
This creek is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, presenting fly fishers with an opportunity to engage with these elusive species. Brown trout can usually be found in the deeper pools and runs throughout Wilson Run, where they can feed on insects and other aquatic life.
Recommended Flies for Wilsons Run, Delaware:
What Gear Do I Need to Fly Fish in Delaware?
As with any form of fishing, fly fishers in Delaware will need the right gear to ensure a successful angling experience. A lightweight rod and reel designed for trout or panfish is ideal. Fly line and tippet should also be selected based on the species being targeted. Here are a few specifics that every angler needs when fly fishing in Delaware:
- Fly Rod and Reel: A versatile 4 to 6-weight fly rod and matching reel are suitable for most Delaware fly fishing locations
- Fly Line: A weight-forward floating fly line is the standard choice for most freshwater fly fishing situations.
- Leaders and Tippets: Pack a selection of leaders and tippets of varying strengths to match the fish species you're targeting.
- Flies: Choose a variety of fly patterns that mimic local insect life and fish preferences. Include dry flies, nymphs, and streamers in different sizes and colors.
- Waders/Wading Boots: Depending on the season, waders and wading boots will keep you dry and comfortable while fishing in the water.
- Fishing License: Ensure you have a valid Delaware fishing license from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control before casting your line.
Additional Facts about Fly Fishing in Delaware
What Delawarean Island Has the Best Fly Fishing?
Delaware offers several islands that provide excellent fly fishing opportunities. One notable location is Pea Patch Island. Situated in the Delaware River, this island is home to Fort Delaware State Park and offers angling access from its shores. It's a unique fly fishing destination, blending historical attractions with the chance to catch various fish species.
Is There Good Fly Fishing in Delaware?
Absolutely, Delaware offers a wealth of excellent fly fishing opportunities. From freshwater creeks and streams to tidal rivers and bays, the state's diverse aquatic ecosystems cater to a wide range of angling preferences. Whether you're a novice or an experienced angler, you'll find suitable waters to explore and fish to target.
Where Is the Best Bonefishing in Delaware?
While bonefishing is more commonly associated with tropical saltwater destinations, Delaware does not have bonefish populations. Bonefish are typically found in warm, tropical waters, and Delaware's cooler climate and temperate waters are not conducive to sustaining bonefish populations. Anglers visiting Delaware can focus on the diverse range of freshwater and saltwater species that thrive in the state's unique angling environments.