DEM stocks local waters for trout fishing season

TThe Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will stock some 80,000 brook, brown, and rainbow trout into Rhode Island ponds and streams in preparation for the freshwater fishing season.
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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will stock some 80,000 brook, brown, and rainbow trout into Rhode Island ponds and streams in preparation for the freshwater fishing season.

Opening day of the season, set for April 14, is celebrated annually by more than 40,000 anglers across the state. New this year, hatchery-raised tiger trout are being stocked at four of Rhode Island’s most popular fishing locations.

These beautiful and aggressive tiger trout are a hybrid of a brown and brook trout and provide an exciting angling experience.

“I hope anglers of all ages will reconnect with the outdoors and head out to a favorite fishing spot on Opening Day to experience the thrill of reeling in the first trout of the season,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “After the long and cold winter we’ve had, nothing could be more fun than joining the generations of Rhode Islanders who get out at the crack of dawn on Opening Day in search of the beautiful brook, brown, and rainbow trout raised in DEM’s hatcheries.

“And this year, the gorgeous and feisty tiger trout we’re stocking in local ponds will bring added excitement to this time-honored Rhode Island tradition.”

DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is stocking hatchery-raised trout with an average weight of one to one and a half pounds in more than 100 waterways across the state.

Popular locations include Olney Pond, Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln; Meadowbrook Pond, Richmond; Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown; Stafford Pond, Tiverton; Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster; and Round Top Ponds, Burrillville.

For the first time, hatchery-raised tiger trout are being stocked in the following ponds: Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown; upper Melville Pond, Portsmouth; Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster; and Barber Pond, South Kingstown.

St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth will not be stocked this year due to the Newport Water Department’s planned dam repairs.

Watchaug Pond in Charlestown will not be stocked because of a boat ramp reconstruction project at the pond. Lake Tiogue in Coventry will not be stocked for Opening Day due to low water issues. It will be stocked as soon as conditions improve. 

Cass Pond in Woonsocket, Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket, and Ponderosa Park Pond in Little Compton will be open to young anglers only on the first weekend of the freshwater fishing season. On Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15, a children’s fishing derby will be held at Pondarosa Park Pond in Little Compton.

Several other ponds are restricted year-round to children 14 years of age and younger, including: Frosty Hollow Pond, Exeter; Geneva Brook and Pond, North Providence; Lloyd Kenney Pond, Hopkinton (Opening Day through Memorial Day only); Lapham Pond, Burrillville; Seidel’s Pond, Cranston; and Silvey’s Pond, Cumberland. 

As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, and attracting tourism.

According to the American Sport Fishing Association, recreational freshwater fishing contributes more than $36 million to the state and local economy each year, based on consumer spending on trips, gear, and other related purchases.

A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or ‘fly-fishing only’ area.

The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 14, 2018, through November 30, 2018, and two from December 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019.

The use of external felt soled or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing water in any freshwaters in Rhode Island is strictly prohibited. This includes any waters shared with adjacent states in which Rhode Island fishing regulations apply. For more information or to purchase a license, visit www.dem.ri.gov.

License fees are $18 for Rhode Island residents and current members of the Armed Forces, $33 for a combination hunting and fishing license, $35 for non-residents, and $16 for a tourist three-consecutive-day license.

Licenses are free for anglers over 65 (trout stamp not required) – as well as for those with a 100-percent disability.

Anglers are advised to take the following safety precautions on Opening Day:

• Stand back from the shoreline and be aware of surroundings.
• If fishing from a boat, always wear a life jacket, and ensure boats are seaworthy before going out on the water.
• Avoid drinking alcohol while operating a boat.
• Remain in the boat at all times; water temperatures are low and risk of drowning due to the effects of cold water is high.
• If the boat capsizes, remain with the boat where you are more likely to be seen by rescuers; swim for shore only if wearing a life jacket, if the likelihood of rescue is low, or if you are close to shore and not able to climb back into or on top of the boat.

State law requires that boaters always have personal flotation devices for each person, and that they do not drink and operate a boat. Boaters should also be sure their craft is seaworthy before going out on the state’s waterways.

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