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Regulations by Location
Related page: Saltwater Angler Registry Program
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 3 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)
Jan. 1 through April 16 and June 12 through Dec. 31 12 inches 5 (combined species)
April 17 through June 11 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

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 until midnight, March 14 and May 1 until midnight, 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*** (Tidal) From the Pennsylvania state line upstream to Calhoun Street Bridge:
– Jan. 1 through March 31 and
– June 1 through Dec. 31
28 to less than 35 inches 1
(Tidal) From the Pennsylvania state line upstream to Calhoun Street Bridge:
– April 1 through May 31
21 to less than 24 inches 2
(Non-Tidal) From Calhoun Street Bridge upstream:
– Open year-round
28 to less than 35 inches 1
Circle Hooks RequiredATTENTION: Non-offset (in-line) circle hooks are required when fishing with bait for any species of fish in the tidal Delaware Estuary, including tributaries from the mouths of the tributaries upstream to the limit of tidal influence. The definition of a non-offset (in-line) circle hook is a non-offset hook where the point is pointed perpendicularly back towards the shank. The term “non-offset” means the point and the barb are in the same plane as the shank. For more information consult:
Baitfish / Fishbait**** (see Bait page for definitions) Open year-round No minimum 50 (combined species)
River Herring***** CLOSED YEAR-ROUND
Hickory Shad, Sturgeon and other threatened and endangered species 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.
*** See fish consumption advisories for Delaware River estuary Striped Bass over 28 inches.
****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 Susquehanna River and tributaries, Lehigh River and tributaries, Schuylkill River and tributaries, West Branch Delaware River, Delaware River, Delaware estuary, and Delaware River tributaries upstream to the limit of the tidal influence.
(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
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.

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