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Rhode Island

Freshwater Fishing

Freshwater Fishing

Division of Fish & Wildlife

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Governor Daniel McKee

RI Department of Environmental Management

Acting Director

Terrence Gray

Deputy Director for Natural Resources

Jason McNamee

RI Division of Fish and Wildlife

Great Swamp Headquarters

277 Great Neck Road

West Kingston, RI 02892

401-789-0281 • dem.dfw@dem.ri.gov

Chief

Phillip A. Edwards

Freshwater and Diadromous
Fisheries Section

Christine A. Dudley, Deputy Chief of
Freshwater and Diadromous Fisheries

Alan D. Libby, Supervising Fisheries Biologist

Patrick McGee, Principal Fisheries Biologist

Corey Pelletier, Senior Fisheries Biologist

Gabriel Betty, Fisheries Biologist

Kenneth C. Fernstrom, Senior Fisheries
Biologist - Hatcheries Manager

Veronica J. Masson, Federal Aid Coordinator

Aquatic Resource Education

Kimberly M. Sullivan,
Principal Fisheries Biologist

Aquatic Resource Education Coordinator

RI DFW Education Office

1B Camp E-Hun-Tee

Exeter, RI 02822

(401) 539-0019

kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov

Division of Law Enforcement

F. Dean Hoxsie, Chief

24hr Violation Line: (401) 222-3070

The Ethical Angler:

  1. Keeps only the fish he needs.
  2. Does not pollute; properly disposes of trash or packs it back.
  3. Hones angling and boating skills.
  4. Observes angling and boating safety regulations.
  5. Respects other anglers’ rights.
  6. Respects property owners’ rights.
  7. Passes on knowledge and angling skills to friends and family.
  8. Supports local conservation efforts.
  9. Does not release live bait, non-native plants, fish or invertebrates, into RI waters. It’s against the law.
  10. Does not leave offal from cleaning fish at fishing sites, on land or in the water; instead, packs it back or buries it out of sight.
  11. Promotes the sport of angling.
  12. Does not transport any plant, fish, amphibian, reptile or invertebrate from one water body to another.

Our Mission

Our mission is to ensure that the Freshwater and Wildlife resources of the State of Rhode Island will be conserved and managed for equitable and sustainable use.

This guide contains a partial compilation of state laws and regulations pertaining to freshwater fishing and other related information. For more detailed information, refer to Title 20 of the
General Laws of the State of Rhode Island or visit www.dem.ri.gov

Natural Shorelines are Good for Fishing

By keeping shorelines natural, you can help protect water quality and improve fish habitat. A shoreline without trees and shrubs can get washed away, making the water muddy and unsuitable for fish. If you live near a lake or a river, plant a buffer strip along the water’s edge using trees, shrubs, wildflowers or other native plants. Trees and other vegetation filter pollution and provide shade, shelter, habitat, and food critical for bass, trout, and other fish to thrive and reproduce. Keep your favorite fishing spots well vegetated! For more tips and information, visit http://water.epa.gov/type/lakes/index.cfm

Anglers: You Can Help Us Combat Turtle Poaching!

Your passion for the outdoors brings you to some of the most important places for our native wildlife. You are advocates for the conservation of wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend. The native turtle species of the Northeast are facing a new threat — poaching. Removing even individual turtles can have permanent consequences for populations already under tremendous pressure. It is against Rhode Island law to possess or remove from the wild, any native amphibian or reptile. Here’s how you can help:

What to look for:

  • Individuals with bags poking around in fields, wetlands, or along streams, or flipping over logs and rocks.
  • Unmarked traps set in wetlands. A trap set for research purposes will be clearly labeled.
  • Cars parked near forested areas with collection equipment — like nets, containers, and pillowcases — visible inside.
  • Unattended backpacks or bags left in the woods, along a trail, or near roads.

    What to do if you see something suspicious:

  • Maintain a safe distance and protect yourself.
  • Note your exact location, and call the 24-hr RIDEM Law Enforcement hotline (401-222-3070) when it’s safe to do so.
  • If you are safe, try to take photographs that can corroborate your report. For example, the license plate of a car, or the serial number on a turtle trap.

    What not to do:

  • Do not confront suspicious persons, or try to stop a crime yourself. Leave that to law-enforcement professionals.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has an anonymous tip line — 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477).

Fluorescent Orange Requirement

PER REGULATION: All users, including anglers, of State Management Areas are required to wear 200 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange, worn above the waist and visible in all directions from the second Saturday in September to the last day of February and the third Saturday in April to the last day of May annually, and during established mourning dove season and wild turkey season. 500 square inches is required by all users of management areas and undeveloped state parks during all portions of shotgun deer seasons. Fluorescent camouflage does not meet these requirements. The hunter orange must be worn above the waist and be visible in all directions. Examples are a hat that covers 200 square inches or a combination of a hat and vest covering 500 square inches.

Rhode Island Environmental Police

The mission of the Environmental Police is to protect our natural resources and ensure compliance with all environmental conservation laws through law enforcement and education.

The history of the Environmental Police dates back to 1842 when the first game wardens were appointed to the Commission of Shellfisheries.

Today, Rhode Island’s Environmental Police Officers are sworn law enforcement officers who are responsible for patrolling and enforcing all laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the state’s fish, wildlife, boating safety and marine resources as well as all criminal and motor vehicle laws within the state parks and management areas. Officers patrol over 60,000 acres of state land, 92 salt and freshwater boat launching and fishing areas, 300 miles of rivers and streams, and 417 miles of coastline. They are also cross-deputized with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. During their patrols, they educate the public on the protection of our natural resources and provide safety for the public while enjoying Rhode Island’s outdoors.

To report emergencies or violations,
call (401) 222-3070, 24hr line.

Protect Our Native Species from Disease and Invasives

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO TAKE FISH OF ANY SPECIES FROM ANY BODY OF WATER AND STOCK IT IN RHODE ISLAND WATERS!

By taking fish from either in-state or out-of-state water bodies and placing it in another body of water in RI, you risk introducing disease and parasites to native fish. You also risk introducing invasive species to that waterway. Invasive species overtake the native species and significantly alter stream ecology. For more information or for stocking permits, please call (401) 789-0281.

Tips for Releasing Live Fish

If fish are to be taken as part of the daily creel limit, they should be killed immediately and kept cool until they can be prepared for the table. If an angler wishes to release a live fish, either because it is undersized or because they are practicing catch and release fishing, the following procedures are recommended:

  1. Land the fish as quickly as possible to minimize stress to the fish. Playing a fish to the point of exhaustion will lessen its chance for survival.
  2. Wet your hands before handling the fish; dry hands will remove the fish’s protective slime layer and leave the fish open to bacterial and fungal infections.
  3. Handle the fish carefully. Do not use excessive force when grasping the fish. Do not put fingers into the gill cavities or eye sockets. A wet glove can be a useful aid in grasping the fish because it reduces the amount of pressure needed to hold the fish securely.
  4. Gently remove the hook to minimize damage. A pair of long-nose pliers will make the job easier.
  5. If you are intentionally practicing catch and release fishing, use artificial lures with single, barbless hooks, or circle hooks to minimize damage to the fish.
  6. Do not attempt to remove a hook that is deeply embedded in the gullet. Instead, cut the line off as close to the hook as possible and release. The fish will have a better chance of survival if the hook is left in place; the hook will eventually disintegrate.
  7. Return the fish to the water as quickly as possible. Lower it back into the water in an upright position and move it back and forth in the water to force water across its gills. Once the fish revives, allow it to swim away.

Go for the Gold
and Get a Golden Pin!

Are you up for the challenge?

The golden rainbow trout will be stocked on opening day this year and will be stocked in ponds across Rhode Island! And, like last year, our golden trout pin contest will be limited to the first three weeks after opening day!

From April 9, 2022-May 8, 2022, if you catch a golden rainbow trout, you will be eligible to receive the coveted golden trout pin. Simply take a picture and send it to dem.fishri@dem.ri.gov. Remember, submissions need to be received no later than May 9th to be eligible for the pin.

Wheelchair Accessible Fishing Areas in Rhode Island

Carbuncle Pond - Coventry

Gorton Pond - Warwick

Hope Valley Grange Fishing Dock - Hope Valley

Lower Shannock Brook - Richmond

Silver Spring Lake - North Kingstown

Upper Melville Pond
(Thurston Gray Pond)
- Portsmouth

Upper Roaring Brook - Exeter

Westerly Boat Ramp - Westerly

Olney Pond - Lincoln

CHILDREN ONLY:

Scott Evans Memorial Pond
(Biscuit City) - South Kingstown