Welcome to 2022-23 Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing
On behalf of Governor Dan McKee, I am excited to introduce the 10th 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. Fishing is an important part of Rhode Island’s social and cultural fabric and an important driver for our economy. Recreational fishing contributes more than $130 million to the economy each year. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16+) in Rhode Island. 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 the new Rhode Island Outdoors (RIO) licensing system; read a tribute to the life of our dear friend, Steve Medeiros, Founder and Executive Director of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA); dive deep into the winter flounder management and monitoring program; hear an update about the artificial reef at Sabin Point Park off the East Providence coast; discover new opportunities for public fisheries input in the Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC) aquaculture permitting process, and much more!
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, DEM’s Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) 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 for scup. And we continue to engage in outreach and education programs, such as this guide.
New this year, DEM has launched a website that’s your single, one-stop shop for fishing, hunting, and boating licenses and permits. From woods to water, Rhode Island Outdoors — RIO — makes license renewals speedier and eliminates the hassles of duplicate accounts. I love the outdoors, and I hike Rhode Island’s management areas whenever I get the chance. Like you, I don’t want to be tied up on the computer when I can be outside instead. The less time you spend purchasing and updating your licenses means more time outside in the woods and on the water. Start your outdoors adventures today by visiting www.dem.ri.gov/huntfish!
I am also excited to announce that DEM has teamed up with RISAA and Harbor Lights Software to create a FREE volunteer recreational catch reporting application, AnglerCatch, available for download now. Funded by the National Fish and WildlifeFoundation, this mobile app allows anglers to report their fishing data to provide fisheries managers a better understanding of recreational fishing in Rhode Island. The app also offers weather and tide information, photo storage, and regulatory resources. Download AnglerCatch today in the Apple App Store and Android Play Store!
Since 2016, DEM has worked closely with RISAA to improve boating and fishing access throughout the Ocean State, ensuring anglers can easily reach their favorite spots on the water or along the shore. These close partnerships notably include the development of special shore fishing sites, the ‘Vamos a Pescar’ program, and the popular Youth Fishing Camp at Rocky Point State Park which introduces recreational fishing to young Rhode Islanders. Although we’ve had to take a pause from the camp the past two years due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, I am happy to say that RISAA is bringing the camp back in 2022! 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.
I hope this guide enhances your recreational fishing experiences. Be safe, respect the great outdoors and each other, and enjoy the excitement of fishing in beautiful Rhode Island!
Terry Gray, PE, Acting Director