Fly fishing

What to be thankful for in Delaware

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many things we need to be thankful for. Whatever your personal situation, you can be grateful that you live in the greatest nation this planet has ever known. We always elect our government with one person, one voice, and we always have the freedom to reach the highest level possible using our abilities.

As outdoor enthusiasts, we can pretty much access the woods, fields and waters of the First State as hunters or fishermen, or just hikers who enjoy viewing the wonders of nature. As much as we all love to take on our government, it is this same government that we have to thank for all this open space. For the most part, it is maintained by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Woods and fields are often maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture.

While Delaware is a small state and we can find hunting or fishing activities within minutes of our home, other states may not always be. I have a good friend, Ken Moran, who was the Outdoors Writer for the New York Post. He lived in an apartment in Manhattan and had to travel a long enough distance to reach the Catskills and hunt turkeys.

As he was leaving his apartment early one morning, dressed in full camouflage and carrying his bow, his doorman suffered a heart attack. Ken said he felt perfectly safe walking the dark streets at 2 a.m. to get to his car.

Some of our open spaces have become a joke. Beaches accessible by car on summer weekends are, to say the least, a bit overcrowded. I’m happy to say that I live here and don’t drive on the beach in the summer. I’m saving this for spring and fall. In fact this year the surf fishing has been so bad that I have only been to the beach once. Unfortunately, when the big red drum was around, I was lying with two knees closed.

As for hunting, there are several hectares of public land. Some state parks, including Cape Henlopen, also allow hunting.

I agree that hunting on rented land with a group of friends is far superior to hunting on public land where you don’t know anyone, but even that is still better than not hunting at all. People who can take the time to figure out the lay of the land, explore the area really well, and build or transport a good blind always have a chance to pick up a deer.

Waterfowl hunters can participate in the lottery held on public lands at various sites across the state. Yes, you have to get up really early and you might not get a blind, but at least you have a chance.

There are many ponds for freshwater fishermen to choose from. All of these are maintained by Fish and Wildlife. There are bass, pike, pumpkinseed, crappie, and catfish in most ponds, although some ponds are better for some fish than others.

In March, Fish and Wildlife supplies two ponds with trout, one in Sussex County and one in Kent, and the attendance rate at these events is very good. Many adults with children come to fish and take advantage of the generally freezing opening day.

In April, it’s New Castle County’s turn. Several streams are stocked with trout, and restocking takes place throughout the month. The opening day here is a sight to see. Motorcycle jackets alongside company executives dressed in Orvis. Small children are delighted to catch their first fish. The old people are so excited to see the kids catching these fish.

There is a section reserved for fly fishing on White Clay Creek. Opening day is the only busy day. These guys and girls release more than they keep.

Delaware residents can do all of this for a very small amount of money. A general fishing license costs $ 8.50. If you want to fish for trout you will need a trout pad which will cost $ 4.20. So, for a total of $ 12.70, you can fish all of Delaware’s public waters as well as crab and clam where permitted. It’s cheaper than a dozen bloodworms!

If you are over 56, you are exempt from fishing license requirements, but you must still have a Fisheries Information Network number. The FIN number is free and can be obtained online from the DNREC.

I always buy my fishing license and my trout stamp. I know where the money is going and I’m happy to do my part.

A hunting license is a little more expensive; it will cost you $ 39.50. A duck stamp is $ 15.

We who fish and hunt in Delaware and the United States of America have much to be thankful for.