Recreation Saltwater Fishing License

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing

What Rhode Island Anglers Need to Know

In order to fish recreationally in Rhode Island marine waters, and in offshore federal waters, anglers and spearfishers must have a RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License, OR a Federal Registration, OR a license from a reciprocal state.


The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is a comprehensive new nationwide data collection and reporting system being implemented by NOAA Fisheries. All RI license information, as well as that collected by NMFS and other states, will be incorporated into a national registry of recreational anglers, enabling the new MRIP program to readily survey current fishermen and more accurately assess recreational catch and effort data. That information will lead to improved state-based assessments and more fair, accurate, and effective management programs for Rhode Island’s marine recreational fisheries.

Reciprocal States

Rhode Island residents may use their RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License to fish in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Saltwater Recreational Fishing License holders from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine need not obtain a RI Saltwater Recreational Fishing License if they posses a valid license from on of the states listed above.

Please refer to pages 22 and 25 for information on lobster, shellfish, and other recreational licenses.

Recreational Saltwater Fishing License

License Type


RI residents (annually)


Non-residents (annually)


7-Day license


Aquatic Resource Education Program (ARE)

The ARE program is an outreach and education program dedicated to teaching Rhode Islanders of all ages about the immense marine and freshwater resources that we have in our state. Federally funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Services’s Sportfish Restoration fund and the Wallop-Breaux Act, this program provides a variety of educational opportunities including basic courses in saltwater recreational fishing, fly fishing and fly tying, family programs such as the Family Fishing Day on Prudence Island, as well as more advanced fishing opportunities such as the Fly Fishing Express. Additionally, the program educates school groups using traveling tide-pools, marine ecology field trips, and by training teachers state-wide in a variety of curricula including Project WILD/WILD Aquatic, Growing Up WILD, Project WET and WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands. The ARE program also facilitates aquaculture programs using anadromous fish in the popular Salmon in the Classroom and providing hatchery tours of our State hatcheries. Other programs include a fishing rod loan program, come clam with me shellfish digging instructional program, and the First Fish Award. Educational materials such as the Common Saltwater Fish of Rhode Island poster, fishing pamphlets, and coloring books are provided to the public free of charge. All ARE programs are equipped for people with special needs. For more information, contact the ARE Program, RIDEM-Fish & Wildlife, Education Office (401) 539-0037 or kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov. Check us out on Facebook under RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Outdoor Education page!

First Fish Award Program

First Fish Awards are available for children catching their first fish. To receive an award, an angler must have caught a qualifying fish by rod and reel, tie-up or hand-line by legal means in Rhode Island. First Fish Awards can be processed with information on the child’s catch without official weigh-in station verification. If keeping a fish, legal sizes must be adhered to. Applications can be downloaded using this link: http://www.dem.ri.gov/topics/fwtopics.htm. First Fish Awards are sent as soon as possible. Please send completed applications to:

ARE Program

RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife

1B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place

Exeter, RI 02882

For more information about the First Fish Award program, please contact Kimberly Sullivan at:

kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov or (401) 539-0037

  • Available online at: www.saltwater.ri.gov
  • Also available from certain bait & tackle shops. A list of vendors can be found on the recreational license webpage.
  • Applies in all RI waters, all offshore federal waters, and in all neighboring state waters for finfish and squid.
  • Free for RI residents over 65 and for active military stationed in RI.
  • No license needed for children under 16, nor for anglers on party & charter boats. See website for additional exemptions.