Freshwater fishing season kicks off April 8

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold its state-wide free fishing weekend from Saturday, May 6, to Sunday, May 7.
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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is stocking 80,000 trout into Rhode Island ponds and streams in preparation for the freshwater fishing season, which opens April 8.

St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth will not be stocked this year.

However, trout will be released into more than 100 waterways throughout the state, including: 

Melville Pond in Portsmouth 

Visit www.dem.ri.gov for a complete list of stocked waters. 

Opening day

Opening day of the season is celebrated annually by more than 40,000 anglers across the state. 

“Opening Day is a time-honored tradition in Rhode Island that is passed down through generations,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “It is such a joy to visit local ponds and see the many boats and people with their children and grandchildren. Little is more thrilling than reeling in your first trout of the season. What a wonderful feeling! I am proud of the work our team continues to do to support this treasured tradition through our fish hatcheries and stocking program. I hope everyone comes out to join us for Opening Day.”

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 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16+) in Rhode Island. And recreational fishing contributes more than $130 million to the economy each year.

Young anglers 

Several ponds will be open to young anglers only on the first weekend of the freshwater fishing season.

On Saturday, April 8, a children’s fishing derby will be held at Pondarosa Park Pond in Little Compton. And on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and April 9, fishing in Cass Pond in Woonsocket, Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket, and Ponderosa Park Pond in Little Compton will be reserved for children 14 years and under.

For more information on ponds reserved for children-only fishing year round, visit http://1.usa.gov/226SiBg.

Precautions

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.

For more information on Rhode Island boating laws, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/law/boating-safety-topics.php.

Fishing licenses

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 8, 2017 through November 30, 2017, and two from December 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018.

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.

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