Northern Puffer

Northern Puffers have a yellow, brown or olive body covered in small prickles with a yellow or white belly.

They have dark, vertical, splotchy bars (stripes) on the sides and small, black spots on the back, sides and cheeks with a tiny, beak-like mouth.

Like most puffers, the Northern Puffer "puffs up" into a ball in self-defense.

Northern Puffer Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay, and Inland Bays
Abundance in Delaware Waters Uncommon
General Habitat and Food Preferences The Northern Puffer can be found in bays, estuaries, and protected coastal waters.

They feed on shellfish, and occasionally on small fishes.
Did You Know? The Northern Puffer has a beak-like mouth. It can extract the meaty part of shellfish from their shells and even sometimes break the shells to obtain a meal.

Most puffers are toxic, containing a very potent and potentially deadly neurotoxin that is concentrated in the liver, skin and gonads.

To err on the side of caution, extreme care must be taken when cleaning all puffers. Any fillets that could have been contaminated should be immediately discarded.
Common Lures and Baits Northern Puffers are usually caught accidentally by anglers fishing for other species.

They can be caught with pieces of squid, clams, bloodworms, or pieces of peeler crab on bottom rigs.
Typical Sizes Caught Northern Puffers are caught by anglers in the range of 8 to 10 inches in length.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Northern Puffers are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award.
Delaware State Record Northern Puffers are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.