Fishing Overview: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

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Delaware River
Delaware River (NPS)

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Fly-fishing Travel Tips

  • The wild and scenic stretch of the Delaware River flows within the bounds of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and avails a natural experience for anglers who vie for trout, walleye, and bass.
  • Numerous liveries operate along the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. They offer canoe, kayak, and raft rentals as well as shuttles. Consider a guided fishing trip in a drift boat.
  • Go for both warm and cold water species of fish including smallmouth bass, walleye, and panfish. The famed shad run of spring begins in May. Brook and brown trout are found in most tributaries.
  • Combine fly-fishing with floating down the scenic river. Take multi-day trips—with 40 miles of river within the Delaware Gap National Recreation Area, you can easily paddle and fish on Class I and II rapids. Extend your trip to explore over 150 miles of the Delaware River and have a fly-fishing extravaganza.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has a wide variety of aquatic habitats, and is home to both warm-water and cold-water fish. The small lakes and ponds provide great fishing for bass, pickerel, catfish, and panfish. Brook and brown trout (rainbows in Van Campen's Brook) are found in most streams, and an excellent brown drake hatch makes for prime seasonal fly-fishing. The Delaware River offers opportunities to catch American shad, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and panfish.

Many small lakes and ponds provide excellent fishing for panfish, bass, and pickerel. Rainbow, brook, or brown trout are found in most streams. The river has American shad, smallmouth bass, walleye, eel, catfish, and muskellunge. A valid license is required from the state in which you are fishing. A license from either Pennsylvania or New Jersey is valid on the river within the park.

Fishing at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area will continue to be managed as a cooperative endeavor with the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Efforts will be directed toward maintaining populations for recreation, education, scientific study, and overall ecological value.

Fishing Regulations

Waters: All waters within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area are open to sportfishing unless otherwise posted.

Licenses: The appropriate state license is required and regulations are enforced. Licensing requirements: Pennsylvania—16 and older; New Jersey—14 and older. A reciprocal agreement between the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania allows the holder of either state license to fish in the Delaware River or from the banks of the river. This agreement does not apply to the tributaries leading to the river.

Areas Closed to Fishing:

  • George W. Childs Recreation Site: footbridges and observation platforms.
  • Dingmans Falls: from the top of the falls to the east end of the parking lot from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
  • Silver Thread Falls: pool at base.
  • Hidden Lake: during special regulations and water drawdown.
  • From a vessel (boat) on Hidden Lake.

Stocked Waters: Hidden Lake, Bushkill Creek, Lower Blue Mt. Lake, Dingmans Creek, and Flatbrook.

Fishing Seasons

In Pennsylvania: Refer to the pamphlet issued with fishing license purchased from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, 717-657-4518.

In New Jersey: Refer to the "New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest," available at sporting goods stores or from the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife 609-292-2965.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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