Climate impacts changing the way we fish


“I’ve been catching striped bass to 36 inches from my kayak in South County, Rhode Island ponds since December. The fish were covered in lice so they just came in from the ocean. It would lead you to believe that the water temperature was plenty warm for them to stay rather than migrate south. And, the bait was here for them to eat. They have been hammering silversides, peanut bunker and some larger Atlantic menhaden too,” said Todd Corayer a kayak light tackle/fly fishing expert and noted FishWrap writer and blog publisher.

“We do not have enough research on some stocks like false albacore and bonito. They are important to recreational fishing but they are not commercially harvested and have taken a back seat to species that are commercially harvest,” said Willi Goldsmith, Executive Director, of the American Saltwater Guides Association.

Both Corayer and Goldsmith were panelists last week at the 2022 Braid Symposium which was held virtually by the RI Sea Grant Program at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. They were joined by Greg Vespe, Executive Director of the RI Saltwater Anglers Associaton; Mike Wade, owner of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly; Abbie Schuster, a charter captain and owner of Kismet Outfitters, Martha’s Vineyard; and Joe Mariani, Regional Vice President of Safe Harbor Marinas. Jon Hare, Director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Pam Rubinoff, Coastal Management and Climate Extension Specialist from the Coastal Resources Center and RI Sea Grant program rounded out the panels.

The consensus of panelists was that climate change is impacting recreational fishing and boating in a number of ways and anglers and boaters are adapting new strategies and tactics to adapt. Fish here or here in greater abundance include black sea bass, sea robins and scup. Exotica warm water fish and pelagic fish are here in greater abundance too. These species would include mahi mahi, bluefin tuna, Wahoo and cobia are all being targeted and caught in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Input on climate impacts will be included in a report and a video that will highlight some of the key learnings of the Series.

The second session of the virtual 2022 Baird Symposium series will be held Wednesday, April 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. This webinar, “Climate Change Opportunities for Anglers and Boaters,” will engage northeast recreational anglers and boaters and climate experts in discussions about how climate change is affecting these traditional uses.

Strategies and actions that individuals, governments, and industry are taking to respond to these changes will also be discussed as well as some of the tactics that anglers are using to catch new or newly abundant species.

Event participants include University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography, Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Ørsted, American Saltwater Guides Association, Ocean Conservancy, Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, and Safe Harbor Marinas.

To register for the April 13 event visit Effects of Climate Change on Recreational Fishing and Boating - Session II Tickets, Wed, Apr 13, 2022 at 6:30 PM | Eventbrite.

Recreational fishing  regulations kick in for 2022


Rhode Island

Tautog. Last week Terrance Gray, Director of the RI Department of Environmental Management, approved the tautog regulation of five fish/angler/day, minimum size 16 inches, with only one of the five fish to be 21 inches or larger.

The aim of the regulation change is to protect larger female fish with great spawning potential. Greg Vespe of Tiverton, Executive Director of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA), said, “This is a great win for RISAA’s effort to ease off on killing so many large breeders. The number of fish in the fall will remain at five fish, rather than the RISAA preferred, four fish/angler as Director Gray said the State of RI would be out of compliance with Massachusetts as a Region if it opted for this reduction.”

RI DEM indicated that the State of Massachusetts has agreed to joint meetings to address RI’s desire to be proactive with tautog stock protections. “It is great to have our efforts pay off and have a bit more protection for our favorite crab munchers,” said Vespe.

Black sea bass, scup and summer flounder. The RI Marine Fisheries council is scheduled to review recreational fishing regulations for black sea bass, scup and summer flounder at their Monday, April 4, 6 p.m. meeting at Corless Auditorium, URI Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI.

Anglers are urged to attend as important black sea bass and summer flounder regulation recommendations will be decided by the Council. Black sea bass options include an earlier start to the season with the trade-off of a smaller bag limit and shorter fall/winter season, something Bay and shore anglers have been advocating for years.  This comes with an increase from a 15 to a 16 inch minimum size to help make required harvest reductions.

Commercial striped bass regulations will also be discussed at the meeting. Visit Marine Fisheries Public Meetings- Rhode Island -Department of Environmental Management for meeting details, click on the calendar meeting date of April 4 for information and agenda.


Black sea bass, summer flounder, scup. The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission reviewed potential recreational fishing limits for black sea bass, summer flounder, and scup for 2022. It was determined that DMF would move forward with the following anticipated limits:  black sea bass, May 21 – Sept. 4, 4 fish/angler/day, 16-inch minimum size; summer flounder, May 21 – Sept. 29, 5 fish/angler/day, 16.5-inch minimum size; scup private vessels and shore, Jan. 1- Dec. 31, 30 fish (150 fish/vessel maximum), 10-inch minimum size; scup for-hire vessels, Jan. 1 – April 30 and July 1- Dec. 31, 30 fish/angler/day, 10-inch minimum size, and from May 1 –June 30, 50 fish/angler/day, 10-inch minimum.

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater opening day of trout season is Saturday, April 9. Rhode Island is ready with trout stocked in over 85 waterways. For regulations, license informaiton and stocked ponds visit “My favorite spinner bait worked this week for largemouth bass and pickerel. I have been just switching out hook size depending on the species I was targeting.” said John Migliori of Aquidneck Island.”

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit


No Fluke, fishing


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