On Wednesday afternoon, with temperatures frozen in the teens, two men shrugged off the cold to dig clams at the mill gut at Colt State Park.
While the two diggers said they preferred to dig and not talk to the press, a small sign nearby appeared to speak volumes. It read: “Taking of shellfish prohibited” and carried a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management sign.
According to DEM environmental scientist John Speaker, however, the sign does not belong to DEM.
“It’s not ours,” said Mr. Speaker. “Our signs are red and white.
“Occasionally we close it due to rainfall and sometimes they close it in the summer due to over-fishing.”
Later on that day, a Warren fisherman drove up and inspected the prospect of fishing the mill gut. By then the tide was higher.
“The tide’s not good right now,” he said. “The mill gut isn’t always a good option for fishing, but it is usually open despite the sign. You have to call DEM, they’ll tell you if it’s open.”