PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, are Free Fishing Days in Rhode Island. Rhode Islanders and visitors alike can fish in the state’s freshwaters on both days for all species of freshwater fish, without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp. The free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses.
Beginning on Monday, April 29, DEM will begin a supplemental spring trout stocking; brook, brown, and rainbow trout will be stocked in 46 locations across the state, and Sebago salmon and tiger trout will be stocked in select locations statewide.
“Freshwater fishing is an important part of our culture and economy in Rhode Island, and we’re proud to support it through our stocking program so that anglers can have fun catching the beautiful hatchery-raised trout and salmon we’ve stocked in fishing areas across the state for this free event,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “After a fabulous Opening Day, we are pleased to continue to offer anglers special fishing experiences in Rhode Island this spring. We encourage people of all ages to visit a favorite fishing spot on free fishing weekend and make some new memories!”
New this year and for the first time, DEM is stocking Sebago salmon, a landlocked variety of Atlantic salmon averaging two- to two-and-a-half-pounds for Free Fishing Weekend. There is a two-fish limit for salmon which must be part of the overall five-fish limit for trout and salmon. Sebago salmon are being stocked in the following six ponds:
• Watchaug Pond, Charlestown • Carbuncle Pond, Coventry • Olney Pond, Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln • Meadowbrook Pond, Richmond • Barber Pond, South Kingstown • Stafford Pond, Tiverton
Also, tiger trout, a hybrid of brook and brown trout and first introduced last spring, are being stocked in the following three ponds for this special fishing weekend:
• Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster • Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown • Melville Pond, Portsmouth
A special weekly brown trout float stocking – where trout are stocked at various locations along the river – is being conducted by volunteers on the Wood River from the Rt. 165 Check Station fishing access to the Barberville Dam, Arcadia Road, for four weeks beginning on April 25. Anglers will need to hike to areas between these locations to enjoy fishing for these beautiful browns.
Daily stocking location updates will be available to the public each afternoon, beginning on April 29. Please call Fish & Wildlife Headquarters at 401-789-0281 or check out our Facebook or DEM website for updates. Take a picture of your catch and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to us @RhodeIslandDEM.
The free fishing program was established in 1995 to encourage Rhode Islanders to experience freshwater fishing as a new outdoor experience and highlight some of the state’s premier freshwater fishing areas. 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. Freshwater fishing generates over $37 million a year in Rhode Island.
Freshwater fishing regulations on size and creel/possession limits apply on May 4 and May 5. The daily creel and possession limit for trout and/or salmon is five, of which only two can be salmon, from April 13, 2019, through November 30, 2019; and two trout and/or salmon, of which two can be salmon, from December 1, 2019, to February 29, 2020. The creel /possession limit for trout taken in the Wood River between Rt. 165 and Barberville Dam at Arcadia Road is two from Saturday, May 11, 2019 through February 29, 2020. The daily creel limit for landlocked Atlantic salmon is two fish per day, statewide, until February 29, 2020; this limit must be part of the overall five-fish limit for trout and salmon.
Information about stocked freshwaters, size and creel limits for all freshwater fish species is available in the 2019 Freshwater Fishing Abstract, or by calling DEM’s Great Swamp Field Office at 789-0281, or the Aquatic Resource Education office 539-0037.
To prevent the spread of invasive organisms such as Didymo and other harmful aquatic “hitch hikers,” Rhode Island strictly prohibits the use of external felt soled or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing water in any freshwaters in the state. This includes any waters shared with adjacent states in which Rhode Island fishing regulations apply.