No Fluke


'Inland Fishes of RI'; Fish & Wildlife hatcheries in trouble

If you want to know all about inland fish species and their habitats then the new RI Department of Environmental Management guide "Inland Fishes of Rhode Island" is for you. At $26.75 it makes the perfect gift for anglers and nature enthusiasts.

The book, written by biologist Alan D. Libby and illustrated by Robert Jon Golder, is the first of its kind for local freshwater fish species. At 287 pages, it contains descriptions and illustrations of each species of fish found in Rhode Island’s fresh waters, information collected during surveys conducted by DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife from 1993 to 2012. Detailed characteristics used to identify each species are presented, as well as habitat descriptions, life history information, and distribution maps. Scientific illustrations of each fish in color and black and white aid with identification.

"Inland Fishes of Rhode Island" will be of interest to saltwater anglers too, as 30 of the 72 fish species in the book spend a portion of their lives in both fresh and saltwater.

The most diversity was found in the Pawcatuck River, which boasted 67 species, followed by the Blackstone River basin, which had 31 species. The Pawcatuck River’s greater diversity is the result of it having fewer dams to obstruct the movement of fish in and out of the river.

"Inland Fishes of Rhode Island" may be purchased in person at the DEM Office of Boat Registration and Licensing in Providence by cash, check or credit card (credit card requires an extra fee) and at the Division of Fish and Wildlife Field Headquarters in West Kingston, by check or money order only. The book may also be purchased through the mail using the order form located at

US Fish & Wildlife hatcheries in trouble

In a report issued earlier this month, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service warned that “Closures (of national fish hatcheries) may be necessary in FY 2015 given fiscal uncertainly and growing operations costs.” Dan Ashe, service director, said the National Fish Hatchery System: Strategic Hatchery and Workforce Planning Report, “sounds the alarm on a hatchery system unable to meet its mission responsibilities in the current budget climate.” However, the Fish & Wildlife Service is taking measures to ensure hatcheries remain open for the balance of FY 2014.

The Workforce Planning Report outlines the current programs and problems associated with sustaining operation of the National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS) in its current configuration, and suggests possible changes to how the system could be managed under several different scenarios. The Service will use the analysis to engage stakeholders in a discussion of the future of the NFHS.

Visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife website at for additional information. .

Where’s the bite

Cod and black sea bass. Roger Simpson of the Frances Fleet said, “Wednesday found the sea bass to be aggressive with a full boat limit of the black beauties up to 4 pounds, and a few anglers throwing back 20 to 30 keepers apiece after limiting out. Plenty of scup as well…Some nice size green cod to nearly 20 lbs as well with two anglers sharing hi hook honors of 4 nice cod apiece.”

Simpson, commenting on the cod bite said, “We strongly recommend that anglers swing for the sky whenever they suspect something is up. There are some nice cod starting to show up but the fish just all too often do not bite (aggressively)… if you are waiting for that big bite from a big cod you may be waiting for a very long time, almost all of the big cod in the 25 to just over 40 lb range I have caught over the years I have felt either a soft slow pull, no bite per se, or the feeling as though my sinker rolled off a rock.”

Tautog fishing continues to be strong with fish being caught in deeper water. Bruce Fournier fished with his brother and nephew off Newport on Saturday, reporting that “(We) did very well… including a couple of 8.5 pound fish. All fish were in 80-90 feet of water on green crabs.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle in East Providence said, “The short to keeper ratio is getting better but the fishing has been on and off.  One customer fished the Beavertail area and caught five keepers, the next day he went back and caught all shorts.  The same thing is happening in Narragansett Bay at Conimicut Light, the Wharf Tavern and the bridges in Barrington.”

Striped bass.  Anglers continue to catch striped bass along the coastal shore and in winter holdover spots. Tommy Pelto of Tiverton said, “There's still some consistent striper action along the south shore. Birds were working and fish were breaking this morning (Saturday).” Dave Pickering, noted local angler and author/lecturer, said anglers are turning their attention to “Places like the CT rivers, the backwater ponds of the south shore in RI and rivers of upper Narragansett Bay. These are the places that will produce all winter long if you want to continue catching stripers. The lures and plugs to use for winter holdovers are not complicated… For the most part, this is a jigging game on light tackle.  Work the bottom slowly because that's where the fish are holding.”

Freshwater. Dave Pickering said, “Today (Wednesday), I went out with little expectations of catching anything on this cold day…Well, it turned out to be a decent outing as I landed three commons (carp), all around 10 pounds. I got them all on Pecaviva sweet corn fished ahead of a method ball. All of the fish also came in the early afternoon sun when things had warmed up a bit.” Visit Dave’s blog at .

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years.  He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at or visit his website at

Dave Monti


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.