Welcome Letter

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing

On behalf of Governor Raimondo, I am pleased to introduce the eighth annual Rhode Island Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide. The Ocean State offers some of the best saltwater recreational fishing anywhere. Whether you fish the waters of Narragansett Bay or the coastal waters stretching from the south shore out to Block Island and beyond, anglers in Rhode Island have many fantastic opportunities to enjoy the diversity and abundance of our local catch.

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. 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. People love to fish in the Ocean State!

This guide is written for both novice and seasoned anglers. I hope you will find it filled with useful information on our efforts to provide superior recreational fishing opportunities in Rhode Island as well as with helpful guidance on fishing regulations. In these pages, you will learn about new habitat restoration initiatives including the construction of an artificial reef at Sabin Point, a research project looking at stomach contents of commonly-caught recreational finfish, stock status and upcoming changes in recreational/commercial regulations for the striped bass fishery, updated recreational fishing data collection through the NOAA Marine Recreational Information Program, and much more. And many local businesses that provide fishing-related services and supplies are also featured.

This is your publication, funded by contributions from saltwater anglers, including the federal Sportfish Restoration Program and the Rhode Island Recreational Saltwater License Program. Thanks to your support, our Marine Fisheries Division carries out a range of programs and activities supporting the interests of recreational fishermen. We monitor and conserve our local fish stocks. We work closely with recreational fishing organizations on initiatives like our special shore program or scup and summer flounder. And we continue to engage in outreach and education programs, such as this guide.

Getting people to and on the water is a core part of our mission at DEM. And we invest heavily in improving boating and fishing access to ensure anglers can easily reach their favorite spots on the water and along the shore. We’re excited to report that two major construction projects are being completed this year. At the Quonochontaug Breachway in Charlestown, the 1970s-era boat ramp is being replaced with a new, single-lane courtesy ramp featuring an improved design with universal access. The reconstructed boat ramp is reoriented in a north-south direction so boaters can safely launch without having to fight the strong currents in the breachway channel. This popular boat launch is widely used and provides boaters with access to Quonnie Pond and Block Island Sound. And in the West Bay, a new timber fishing pier has been built at Rocky Point State Park. The 280-foot-long T-shaped pier features a shade structure, benches, solar lighting, and varied railing heights that allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy access to Narragansett Bay.

DEM works in close partnership with the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) to promote recreational fishing and introduce the sport to young Rhode Islanders through a popular fishing camp at Rocky Point State Park. The RISAA Foundation sponsored the first camp in 2016, teaching 50 children how to safely fish from boat and shore, some for the first time. Now in its fifth year, the camp takes place this summer from June 23-25. Little is more thrilling than casting a line and reeling in that first fish – especially on beautiful Narragansett Bay. Kudos to RISAA for bringing this camp to Rocky Point and inspiring both a love of fishing and for this park in our children! It is through efforts like this that we forge the next generation of environmental stewards.

Beyond the fun it brings, saltwater fishing is a great way to enjoy fresh, delicious seafood. From bluefish to scup to our beloved summer flounder, Rhode Island is well known for the wealth of seafood harvested year-round from our waters. But ultimately, whether you fish for fun or food, the common denominator is that you are part of a time-honored tradition made possible by Rhode Island’s amazing marine life. And we are committed to expanding this special opportunity to explore the briny wonders of our state and to providing a sustainable future for our precious marine resources.

I hope this guide enhances your recreational fishing experiences. Be safe, respect the great outdoors and each other, and enjoy the magic of fishing in beautiful Rhode Island. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Janet Coit