The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced new freshwater fishing regulations that took effect August 2. The changes include minimum sizes for trout and salmon, clarification on how fish can be taken and designation of fishing areas for children 14 years of age and younger.
New minimum sizes for trout and salmon. The minimum size of all wild and stocked trout or char species, is 8 inches, measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. The minimum size for domestic or land-locked stocked, Atlantic salmon is 11 inches total length.
How fish can be caught. The following activities are prohibited in accordance with RI General Laws 20-11-3: the taking of any fish in the freshwaters of the state by any means other than angling, utilizing a hook(s) and fishing line, except for carp, suckers, and fall fish, which may be taken by snares, spears, or bow and arrow; and the taking of any fish in the freshwaters of the state by net, seine, trawl, or similar device except for a dip net, for the landing of a fish caught by hook and line, and the taking of baitfish. Cast nets and gills nets shall be prohibited.
Fishing areas for children. The following waters shall be restricted to fishing by children 14 years of age and younger, annually, from the second Saturday in April: Frosty Hollow Pond, Exeter; Lapham Pond, Burrillville; Scott Evens Memorial Pond (Biscuit City), South Kingstown; Seidel’s Pond, Cranston; Silvy’s Pond, Cumberland. Lloyd Kenney Pond in Hopkinton is restricted to children from the second Saturday in April through Memorial Day only. Cass Pond, Woonsocket; Slater Park Pond, Pawtucket; and Pondarosa Park Pond, Little Compton are restricted to children only for the first two days of Opening Day of Trout season.
A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout or salmon. The daily creel and possession limit for trout and/or salmon singly or in aggregate, is five fish from Opening Day through November 30, 2020, and two fish from December 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021. The creel and possession limits for trout or charr taken in the Wood River between Route 165 and Barberville Dam at Arcadia Road shall be limited to two fish from the second Saturday in May through the last day of February, annually.
For updates on fishing information, follow DEM’s outdoor education page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rioutdooreducation, or call 401-789-0281.
Where’s the bite?
Tautog season opened August 1 with a three fish/person/day limit, minimum size is 16 inches with a maximum of 10 fish/vessel/day except licensed party and charter boats. “This is the first year we brought in green crabs in August. We ususally wait until September but the bite has been outstanding. Some customers caught their limit this weekend,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Bait & Tackle, Providence. “Ted Zach of Aquidneck Island Rod Builders caught a 24”-inch tautog Sunday.” said Lorraine Dante of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.
Striped bass fishing at Block Island, off Newport and along the southern coastal shore is very good. ‘It’s hard to find a fish that fits the slot when fishing the Southwest Ledge at Block Island. Customers are fishing with eels and landing 30, 40, and 50 pound fish. I think many of these fish are normally caught in the mid-Atlantic, New Jersey and New York areas. They passed right by due to few COVID 19 anglers.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle. Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters said, ‘We have a lot of striped bass mixed in with the schools of chub and frigate maceral. The smaller striped bass are being taken on top water with some larger striped bass below them. Shore anglers ususally have one shot to cast to them was they move quickly.” East End Eddie Doherty of Mattapoisett said, “Fishing for striped bass on the Cape Cod Canal continues to be good. I caught an 18 pound striper just over the slot limit (28” to less than 35”) casting a white Hurley Canal Killer at the edge of the school.”
Bluefish. We have a three fish/person/day bluefish limit in place. Anglers are reminded that this three fish limit applies to skipjacks which have historically been harvested by anglers in quantity. Lorraine Dante of Lucky Bait said, “We have schools of bluefish in the Bay.” Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Bait & Tackle said, “Customers are bringing in mackerel and bluefish that are bitten in half. So you know that can only mean one thing… sharks… we have a lot of sharks close to shore now.” Angler Joe Klinger of South Kingstown caught a five foot thresher shark when fishing for fluke at Austin’s Hollow, Jamestown last week.
Summer flounder (fluke), scup and balck seabass. The black sea bass bite continues to be good in deeper water where there is structure and water movement, not so good in the Bay where the water is not as deep and a lot warmer. The fluke bite is spotty, a lot of shorts continue to be caught, keepers being caught are in deeper, cooler water. The bite both off Newport and at Block Island is not great yet anglers are finding keepers. Tom Giddings of The Tackle Box, Warwick said, “We weighed in an 11.5 pound, 32-inch fluke caught south of the Jamestown Bridge and customers are catching keeper fish off Warwick Neck drifting to Rocky Point.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “The scup bite is good from Colt State Park and south.”
Cod, mahi and offshore black sea bass. Offshore fishing for cod, black sea bass and mahi has been very good. Keeper cod are being caught at Cox Ledge, Shark Ledge and the East Grounds. Angler Paul Boutiette fished Shark’s Ledge (three to four miles southeast of the Block Island Wind Farm) with success this weekend. Boutiette said, “It was non-stop action for three hours with 22 keepers to 27 inches.” Henault at Ocean State said, “Customer Dr. Mike Wilk caught cod, black sea bass and mahi at the East Fishing grounds. They baited with clam on the lower hook for cod and Berkeley Gulp on the upper hook for balck sea bass. They also hooked up with mahi at the East Fishing Grounds.”
Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass continues to be good. Dave Henault of Ocean State said, “Customers have been catching good sized largemouth at Stump Pond, Coventry; Only Pond, Lincoln Woods; and the Turner Reservoir, East Providence.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “Largemouth bass fishing has been very good. Customers are fishing more this year due to COVID 19 and we have many new customers too. Everyone has been great. Thankful to have them.”
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com.