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Licenses & Fees

Fishing Regulations Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing

Fishing License Information

  1. A fishing license is required of any person 15 years of age or older wishing to catch or take fish in any freshwater stream or pond in the state (except as noted below).
  2. A fishing license can be obtained on-line at dem.ri.gov/huntfish, from authorized agents such as bait and tackle shops, retail department stores, as well as some city and town clerk offices.
  3. RI fishing licenses are reciprocal with Connecticut only for Beach Pond, Killingly Pond, Hazard Pond, and Peck Pond, and with
    Massachusetts only for Wallum Lake.
  4. The fishing license must be available and shown upon request.
  5. The fishing license expires on the last day of February annually.
  6. The fishing license will be revoked for violation of fishing laws.
  7. A fishing license is not required of minors younger than fifteen (15)years of age.
  8. A fishing license is not required of any blind person.
  9. A fishing license is not required of landowners or for members of their families when fishing from property on which they are domiciled.
  10. A free, special, permanent license may be obtained by any veteran of the armed forces who currently has a 100% disability rating or by any individual who is 100% permanently disabled.
  11. A free, special, permanent license may be obtained by any resident over 65 years of age.

License Type

Fee

Resident (or current member of the armed forces) $18.00
Combination (Hunting & Fishing) $33.00
Non-resident $35.00
Non-resident tourist (three (3) consecutive days) $16.00
Trout Conservation Stamp $5.50

Trout Conservation Stamp

  1. 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.
  2. A Trout Conservation Stamp can be obtained on-line at dem.ri.gov/huntfish, from authorized agents such as bait and tackle shops, retail department stores, as well as some city and town clerk offices.
  3. A Trout Conservation Stamp proof of purchase must be available and shown upon request.
  4. The Trout Conservation Stamp expires on the last day of February annually.
  5. A Trout Conservation Stamp is NOT required of the following:
  1. Minors younger than fifteen (15) years of age.
  2. Any resident or non-resident over 65 years of age.
  3. Any person with a 100% disability.
  4. Landowners or members of their families when fishing from property on which they are actually domiciled.
  5. Any person possessing trout taken from a lake or pond which shares a border with a neighboring state.
  6. Any person possessing privately-owned trout caught in privately-owned ponds.

Methods of Fishing

  1. Unless otherwise specified, only a rod and reel or other hand-held and hand-operated device shall be used to catch fish in the fresh waters of the state. At no time shall a person place, operate, or superintend more than two (2) of these devices for the purpose of catching fish, except as noted below, and no more than three (3) hooks may be attached to each device.
  2. Suckers, fallfish, and carp may be taken by snares, spears, or bow and arrow.
  3. For the purpose of fishing through the ice, up to five (5) lines with a single hook on each, personally attended, and held by any device designed for that purpose (tip-up), may be used. See Exception #3 for Beach Pond, and Exception #11 for Killingly and Hazard Pond, see General Information.
  4. Freshwater minnows may be taken for bait with minnow traps, dip nets, and seines not greater than four feet (4 ft.) deep by eight feet (8 ft.) long and having a square mesh size not larger than one-fourth inch (1/4 in.) unless otherwise licensed by the DEM. This regulation does not supercede current alewife/blueback herring regulations as detailed in the Diadromous Fisheries section found on General Information. Exception #13.

FREE Fishing Days
May 5th and 6th, 2018

Neither a Freshwater Fishing License nor a Trout
Conservation Stamp will be required by residents or non-residents on the 5th and 6th of May 2018.

 

Fishing Activities Requiring a Permit

1.16 Permits are required for organized fishing tournaments for state fishing and boating access areas and for the following private access areas: Johnson’s Pond (Flat River Reservoir) in Coventry, and Waterman Reservoir in Glocester. Permits are required for six (6) or more persons and/or three (3) or more boats. Applications for the issuance of a permit must be submitted to the Division a minimum of three (3) weeks prior to the tournament. An organization may cancel a permitted fishing activity without penalty as long as written notice of cancellation is received at least three (3) weeks prior to the event. Failure to provide timely written notice shall result in a one (1) year revocation of an organization’s eligibility to receive a permit for any organized fishing activity. Exceptions for unforeseen occurrences (e.g. weather, natural disaster) will apply at the discretion of the Division. The decision of revocation shall rest entirely with the Division. Permit applications may be obtained by contacting RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife, 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston, RI 02892, Tel. (401) 789-7481. Applicants must complete all required information. The Division reserves the right to limit the number of activities per location, per day, time period, or deny a permit for reasons of overuse or conflict with other activities.

1.16.1 The applicant must indicate on the application whether the fishing activity is a ‘closed’ or an ‘open’ activity. A closed activity is an event having a fixed or restricted number of participants. An open fishing activity is an event having an unrestricted number of participants.

1.16.1.1 If the tournament is closed, the number of boats, vehicles, and participants must be entered on the application. The permit must be retained on site by the sponsor along with the list of participants and boat registration numbers.

1.16.1.2 If the tournament is open, the names of all participants and registration numbers of each boat on the day of the tournament must be made available to RIDEM Division of Law Enforcement. An estimated count of all participants, vehicles and boats shall be forwarded to the Division at least five (5) days prior to the start of the tournament.

1.16.1.3 Regardless if a fishing tournament is ‘closed’ or open’, the organization must provide a report to the Division within five (5) days of the termination of the tournament which includes: the number of hours fished, the number of boats, numbers of participants, and, as applicable, the total number of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass caught as well as the total weight of all largemouth bass and all smallmouth bass processed at weigh-in. This report may be sent as a letter to RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife or by completing the Bass tournament Count Form. Failure to complete and submit the required information within five (5) days shall render the organization ineligible to conduct further organized fishing events for one year from the said event. Such revocation shall include any events for which a permit was previously issued.

1.16.2 Applicants requesting a permit for a municipal or private ramp shall be responsible to obtain additional permits for these areas, if necessary.

1.16.3 These regulations shall not be interpreted as superseding any special boat ramp or state management area regulations.

1.16.4 Permits along with lists of participants and boat registrations, shall be available during the tournament for law enforcement purposes and must be clearly displayed in the windshield of the contact’s vehicle.