Skip to main content
Rhode Island
Freshwater Fishing

Freshwater Fishing

Welcome to 2024-25 Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing

2024 Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing Regulations Cover

On behalf of Governor Dan McKee, I am excited to welcome you to the 2024-25 Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide, a resource for Rhode Islanders and visitors who enjoy our great lakes, rivers, and streams. It offers current freshwater fishing and recreational boating regulations and highlights the research and survey initiatives, fishing access improvements, and fishing opportunities provided by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists, development, and hatchery staff to support freshwater recreational opportunities in the Ocean State.

Fishing is a popular outdoor activity for Rhode Islanders and tourists alike. The Ocean State is known for its excellent and varied angling and boating opportunities. In the pursuit of largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, northern pike (our largest freshwater game fish), or a variety of warm-water species and pan fish such as black crappie, yellow perch, sunfish, and pickerel, freshwater fishing in Rhode Island is a year-round activity. The excitement of fishing for trout on Opening Day and throughout the year, including fall trout fishing and winter ice fishing, ensures a terrific family activity for people of all ages.

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 our hatcheries’ efforts to produce and distribute high quality fish across the state including the recently caught state record rainbow trout; how DEM is working with partners to tackle the problem of freshwater invasive plants and what you can do to help stop them from spreading to favorite fishing spot, and so much more!

DEM’s hatchery program stocks over 100 fishing areas with brook, rainbow, golden rainbow, and brown trout several times a year to accommodate the growing demand by resident and non-resident anglers. Lucky anglers may even catch a Sebago salmon during one of our special fish-stocking programs. Throughout the year, our dedicated hatchery staff are busy with initiatives to provide varied and plentiful fishing opportunities for recreational anglers. For those who would like to try the sport, we encourage you to participate during Free Fishing Weekend on May 4-5, when you can fish without the purchase of a freshwater fishing license or trout stamp. New or experienced anglers also may participate in one of our adult or children’s Aquatic Resource Education (ARE) programs to hone their fishing skills or learn new ones like spin-casting or fly-fishing with our friendly and experienced instructors.

Recreational fishing is important to Rhode Island’s economy, contributing more than $130 million annually. There are an estimated 175,000 recreational anglers aged 16+ in Rhode Island, according to the USFWS National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. We appreciate Rhode Island’s anglers and boaters, and this publication is made possible with your support and belongs to you. Recreational freshwater fishing and boating programs are funded by the USFWS Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act (Wallop-Breaux Amendment) through contributions from anglers and boaters on the sales of equipment, motorboat fuels, license sales, and Trout Stamps. Serving as DEM’s Director, I sincerely thank all anglers and boaters who have contributed to this valuable conservation program.

We hope this guide enhances your fishing and boating experiences and that you feel encouraged to get out there to one of Rhode Island’s picturesque fishing areas and drop a line. The tranquility and connection to nature that one feels when fishing and boating can’t really be measured. Whether you have been fishing all your life, are getting back into the sport, or trying it for the first time, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Remember: whether you reel in a state record fish or get skunked, time spent outdoors is always better than being stuck inside. Start your outdoor adventures today and have fun!

Terrence Gray, PE, Director