Butterfish has a thin deep body that is grayish blue on top, paler on the sides with numerous dark spots and a silver belly.

The dark spots often fade after death.

Butterfish Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Delaware Bay, Inland Bays and Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Uncommon
General Habitat and Food Preferences A schooling fish, Butterfish are found in both offshore and shallow inshore waters. When in shallow waters, they strongly prefer sandy bottoms.

They feed on jellyfish, small fishes, squids, shrimps, and marine worms.
Did You Know? The Butterfish most likely got its name due its flesh being high in fat and oil as well as having a delicious flavor.
Common Lures and Baits When Butterfish move into shallow sheltered bays and estuaries, they are usually caught by bottom fishing with very small hooks using small pieces of bloodworm, squid, or clams.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Butterfish are caught by anglers in the range of 6 to 9 inches in length.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Butterfish are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award.
Delaware State Record Butterfish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.