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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


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 • [email protected]

Chief - Division of Fish and Wildlife

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, Principal Fisheries Biologist

Gabriel Betty, Fisheries Biologist

Matthew Gendron, 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

[email protected]

Division of Law Enforcement

F. Dean Hoxsie, Chief

24hr Violation Line: (401) 222-3070

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

The Ethical Angler:

  1. Keeps only the fish they need.
  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. Practices proper catch and release and does not put live fish on stringer, waiting to catch a larger fish.
  9. Supports local conservation efforts.
  10. Does not release live bait, non-native plants, fish or invertebrates, into RI waters. It’s against the law.
  11. 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.
  12. Promotes the sport of angling.
  13. Does not transport any plant, fish, amphibian, reptile or invertebrate from one water body to another.

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.

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

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).

Protect Our Native Species from Disease and Invasives


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.

Coming Soon!

RIDEM’s Aquatic Resource Education program along with Rhode Island’s USFWS National Refuge System and the Urban Wildlife Partnership have teamed up to procure a First Catch Center trailer from RBFF (Recreation Boating and Fishing Foundation). This trailer will be stocked with both freshwater and saltwater fishing gear to be used at our many partnered events throughout the state. Be on the lookout for a pop-up event near you this year!


Hypothermia is a condition in which the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This causes a dangerous reduction of the body’s core temperature. Hypothermia results from exposure to wind and wetness and can develop in temperatures as warm as 50 F (10 C).

Prevention: Pay attention to the weather forecast and dress appropriately. Layer clothing and have a wind resistant and water-resistant layer available. Bring a change of clothes especially if spending time on or near the water. Limit your exposure to the cold environment and avoid sitting on cold surfaces. Keep hydrated and eat foods high in fat and protein.

Signs and Symptoms: Early onset signs may include shivering and reddish skin. As it progresses signs and symptoms may include slurred speech or mumbling, the absence of shivering, weak pulse, clumsiness, drowsiness, confusion, loss of consciousness, and if left untreated, death.

What to do if you fall in the water: Refer to the Hypothermia Table to see the general effects cold water temperatures have on the body. If a person falls in the water, safely try to get them out of the water ASAP. If unable to SAFELY get them out, here are a few things to remember while waiting for help.

  • When a person falls into cold water, there are ways to increase the chances of survival. Don’t discard clothing; it helps trap the body’s heat, even if wet.
  • Minimize movement; thrashing around in cold water only leads to loss of energy which will further drop your core body temperature.
  • Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) which will help for two reasons: it lessens the need to move around in the water and it helps to insulate against heat loss.
  • When wearing a PFD, a person should draw their knees into a position known as HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Posture).
  • If there are several people in the water, huddling together with arms around each other’s shoulders is the best survival technique.

Treatment: Individuals who are suffering from hypothermia are more susceptible to cardiac arrest. For this reason, they should be treated gently and warmed gradually. The body, if exposed to rapid re-warming, may go into shock. Do not give alcohol as this will work to expand blood vessels and cause more rapid heat loss. Warm liquids should be given with caution for individuals who are not alert as this could cause a choking hazard.

DISCLAIMER: Always call 911 in an emergency situation.

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


Scott Evans Memorial Pond
(Biscuit City) - South Kingstown

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.

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 13, 2024 - May 6, 2024, 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 [email protected]. Remember, submissions need to be received no later than May 6th to be eligible for the pin.

WANTED: Northern Pike Catch Data

We want to improve our Northern Pike program and need your help! Over the next year, we are asking Rhode Island anglers to send in your Northern Pike photos and catch information in order to assess our stocks. If you catch a Northern Pike, please follow the QR code to complete the form. We sincerely appreciate your time and participation! Thank you! Any questions, please contact Corey Pelletier, [email protected].