So you want to go fishing in the Ocean State? Here’s how to start.


As the summer weather takes over, it’s important to know that fishing in Rhode Island is not quite as easy as casting off into any nearby body of water. It is important to research different bodies of water, what kinds of fish live in those waters, and what kind of gear you may need to catch those fish.

There are so many reasons that people are drawn to fishing as a recreational activity. Captain Dave Monti, owner of No Fluke Charter Fishing & Tours and fishing journalist, says “the biggest reason we fish is to enjoy the time with family and friends and the solace we get from bonding with nature.”

“Fishing is an opportunity to get out and enjoy nature and the real world,” says Captain Richard Hittinger, 1st Vice President of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association. “It is healthy, outdoors, and active, and can be social when kidding around with your fishing friends.”


In Rhode Island, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) requires every person over the age of 15 who plans to fish to acquire a fishing license annually and have it readily available to present to an Environmental Police agent while fishing.

The most direct way to acquire a fishing license, for fresh or saltwater, is online from the Rhode Island Outdoors (RIO) website. On the website, you can select the license type that applies to your identity and goals, whether that be as a RI resident who only fishes in freshwater or as an out-of-state visitor who only plans to fish in the bay for a couple of days. Through the online system, a RI resident can purchase an annual saltwater license for $7 or an annual freshwater license for $21. However, for RI residents over the age of 65, there is no fee for a license.

If you would rather purchase a fishing license in person, walk-in service is available at DEM’s Office of Boat Registration and Licensing at their Foundry Offices in Providence. Additionally, licenses can be purchased from authorized vendors and retail stores across the state. The official list is publicly available on the DEM website.

Kyle Gioreath, a Providence resident who grew up in Warwick, purchases his fishing license every year from a local Walmart. Most Walmart locations across the state are authorized vendors, and licenses can be purchased at the Sporting Licenses Desk.

Others may prefer to buy their fishing licenses from other vendors, such as local tackle and bait shops. Ed Gervais, a Warwick resident who often fishes at Gorton Pond, says that he buys his license from a nearby bait shop every year.

Thomas Giddings, owner of Tackle Box in Warwick, has sold almost 200 licenses in the past month from his shop. He wants the process of purchasing a license to be easy, both for visitors and residents, because we live in the beautiful Ocean State where recreational fishing should be accessible. While younger people may find the online process easier from their own computers, the older generations like the personal connections from coming into the shop, he said.

Giddings reminds anglers that “if you’re fishing in trout designated waters, you need a trout stamp” in addition to a freshwater license, which costs an additional $6. If the body of water you’re fishing on could have trout in it, you need the stamp. “It doesn’t matter if you’re targeting that fish or not,” he said.

Where to Fish

Now that you have your license, where should you go? Captain Dave Monti recommends you “talk to other anglers, friends, or bait and tackle shop owners about good places to fish, what you can expect to catch, what gear, tackle and bait you need.”

If you are looking to do some saltwater fishing, there are several public access points to Narragansett Bay with boat ramps. If you are looking for a spot to launch your boat from, in Warwick, there are public ramps at Goddard Memorial State Park and in Oakland Beach. If you are looking for saltwater fishing from land, Rocky Point State Park has a beautiful fishing pier, built in 2020.

Some Rhode Islanders claim the Rocky Point fishing pier as their go-to spot for saltwater fishing. Fishing buddies Nick Iasimone and Frank Gentilella remarked that scup have just come in for the season, and have been a popular catch at the fishing pier. Iasimone also commented on the importance of having your fishing license with you at all times when fishing. During the time he’s spent fishing this season so far, DEM has come down to check three or four times, he said.

If you are looking for freshwater fishing spots, Gorton Pond off of Post Road in Warwick has a pier (not quite as large as the one at Rocky Point) and a small beach for swimming access as well. In Cranston, the John L. Curran Upper Reservoir has an access point off of Seven Mile Road. Giddings, at the Tackle Box, recommends Spectacle “Spec” Pond as another fishing hotspot in Cranston.

In Johnston, Pocasset Pond in the middle of Johnston Memorial Park, where you can take part in various other recreational activities, and Simmons Upper Reservoir are great freshwater fishing spots.

What’s Biting?

At this point you might be wondering, if I go to these fishing spots, what can I expect to catch?

For saltwater fish in Narragansett Bay, you might expect to reel in a scup, bluefish, or maybe even a fluke, also known as summer flounder. In RI’s freshwater lakes and ponds, the most common fish to catch is trout or a bass.

Before you start to reel in your first fish of the season, be sure to check DEM’s website for an up to date list of minimum sizes and possession limits by species.

Happy fishing!

Editor’s Note: Greta Shuster is a Beacon Media editorial intern this summer.

fish, fishing


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  • Chaos23

    The regultions state: A Trout Conservation Stamp is required of any person wishing to keep or possess a trout, salmon, or charr caught in Rhode Island waters or to fish in a “catch & release” or in a “fly fishing only” area.

    Mr. Giddings might want to doublecheck his information. If you aren't keeping trout and are not in a designated "Catch and release" or "fly fishing only" area a trout stamp is not required.

    5 days ago Report this