Anglers have waited with bated breath for this announcement: Surf-fishing permits for 2022 will be on sale starting Feb. 1.
After nationwide supply chain disruptions pushed back the sale dates, which are normally around the winter holidays, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced updated dates on Thursday.
Sales for surf-fishing permits will begin at 10 a.m. on Feb. 1, and annual passes for the Delaware State Parks will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Feb. 15.
The annual passes allow visitors to access the parks for the entire fee season from March 1 to Nov. 30, and surf-fishing permits allow people to drive onto designated sections of Delaware State Parks beaches for fishing.
An annual pass costs $35 for a Delaware registered vehicle and $70 for an out-of-state vehicle. A Delawarean can get an annual surf-fishing permit for $90, and an out-of-state angler can get it for $180.
First-time permit holders must also obtain a surf-fishing plate on which they will affix their surf-fishing permit decal. Beyond drive-on beach access, the decal grants entrance into the other state parks without paying the daily entrance fee.
Here's how to buy surf-fishing permits and annual passes this year.
Knowing that last year marked record demand for surf-fishing permits, and recognizing the current COVID-19 surge, DNREC said the quickest and safest way to purchase permits and passes is online.
People can set an alarm for 10 a.m. and go onto www.destateparks.com to order a permit on Feb. 1 or annual pass on Feb. 15.
At state parks
Permits and passes will also be on sale at offices within Delaware State Parks.
Those who choose to purchase annual passes or surf fishing permits at a park office should expect long wait times and must wear a mask inside the building, DNREC said.
Park office locations are listed at www.destateparks.com/FindPark.
Permits and passes are not available at DNREC’s Dover office.
How many are available?
Surf fishing permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and are capped at 17,000 annually.
The reason for the cap is to "manage a limited resource, protect against overcrowding of parks beaches and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors to Delaware’s award-winning state parks system," according to the DNREC news release.
In 2021, Delaware residents accounted for 77% of surf fishing permits and 23% were held by residents of other states.
Off-Peak surf-fishing permits
Piloted in 2021, the off-peak surf-fishing permits will return for 2022. There is no cap for the off-peak surf fishing permits.
These permits may be used seven days a week during the offseason, which runs from Feb. 1 to May 29 and again from Sept. 6 through Dec. 31.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, off-peak permits may only be used Mondays through Fridays, excluding Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. The off-peak permit also allows entry into all Delaware State Parks without paying the daily entrance fee.
The off-peak permit fee for Delaware residents is $70, while the fee for out-of-state residents is $140. Delaware residents age 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $60.
For annual passes, Delaware residents 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $18. A $65 lifetime pass is available for Delawareans 65 and older.
Reduced rates are also offered to Delawareans who receive public assistance, or who are active duty military or veterans. Active duty military personnel with an out-of-state license plate can purchase an annual pass at the in-state rate.
Delaware firefighters and emergency medical technicians can obtain an annual pass or surf-fishing permit for free. Those who qualify must visit a park office and bring with them an application form from the president of their fire company or the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association.
For more, visit destateparks.com/Know/PassesTagsFees.
Emily Lytle covers Sussex County from the inland towns to the beaches. Got a story she should tell? Contact her at email@example.com or 302-332-0370. Follow her on Twitter at @emily3lytle.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Surf-fishing permits go on sale Feb. 1, annual passes Feb. 15. What to know