PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — This Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, are Free Fishing Days in Rhode Island. Rhode Islanders and visitors alike can fish in the state’s freshwaters on both days for all species of freshwater fish, without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp.
The free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses.
“We hope families will take time to venture outdoors and head out to a favorite fishing spot during free fishing weekend to experience the excitement of reeling in a trout,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “We’re proud to support freshwater fishing through our stocking program so that anglers can experience our beautiful freshwaters and have fun catching beautiful hatchery-raised trout. You might even catch one of the gorgeous golden trout stocked especially for this free event!”
DEM is stocking over 6,000 rainbow trout for this special fishing weekend. For the ninth year, DEM is offering anglers the chance to catch a golden rainbow trout on free fishing days; more than 4,800 golden rainbow trout are being stocked in the following six ponds:
• Peck Pond, Burrillville
• Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown
• Upper Melville Pond, Portsmouth
• Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster
• Barber Pond, South Kingstown
• Olney Pond, Lincoln Wood State Park, Lincoln
Lucky anglers who catch a golden trout during Free Fishing Weekend and throughout the season will receive a free golden trout pin. Take a picture of your catch and send it to Jessica Pena at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The free fishing program was established in 1995 to encourage Rhode Islanders to experience freshwater fishing as a new outdoor experience and highlight some of the state’s premier freshwater fishing areas. As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and supporting a treasured tradition for Rhode Island families. Freshwater fishing generates over $37 million a year in Rhode Island.
Freshwater fishing regulations on size and creel/possession limits apply on May 5 and May 6. The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 14, 2018, through November 30, 2018; and two from December 1, 2018, to February 28, 2019. The creel /possession limit for trout taken in the Wood River between RT. 165 and Barberville Dam at Arcadia Road is two fish from the second Saturday in May (May 12, 2018) through the last day of February (February 28, 2019).
Information about stocked freshwaters and size and creel limits for all freshwater fish species is available in the 2018 Freshwater Fishing Abstract, or by calling DEM’s Great Swamp Field Office at 789-0281, or the Aquatic Resource Education office 539-0037.
In order to prevent the spread of invasive organisms such as Didymo and other harmful aquatic “hitch hikers,” Rhode Island strictly prohibits the use of external felt soled or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing water in any freshwaters in the state. This includes any waters shared with adjacent states in which Rhode Island fishing regulations apply.
Did You Know that the biggest rainbow trout ever recorded in RI is an 11-pounder taken on the Pawcatuck River in 1991? The angler is DEM’s own Marty Wencek, Supervising Environmental Scientist, Freshwater Wetlands, Office of Water Resources.
If you believe you’ve caught a new Rhode Island State Record, bring it to an official weigh-in station to be weighed and measured using a digital scale. State record catches are determined annually once all data are received for that year.
Any new record catches are updated each Spring according to the catch records of the previous year.