Currently, the striped bass regulations from last year are still in effect, meaning Rhode Island and Massachusetts anglers can retain one fish between 28” and 35” until the new emergency regulations are enacted. At that time, anglers will only be able to keep one fish between 28” and less than 31”. Marine Fisheries in both states hope to enact the emergency rule change by the end of May.
The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) clarified new striped bass regulations with a helpful Frequently Asked Questions section on their website at Striped Bass Emergency Action Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | Mass.gov.
On May 2, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Striped Bass Management Board (Board) voted to take emergency action to implement a 31” maximum size limit for all recreational fisheries, to be implemented as soon as possible and no later than July 2.
The Board also voted to initiate an Addendum to examine additional measures for 2024 if needed to meet the 2029 deadline to rebuild striped bass. This Addendum will be a fully public process and will consider changes to both the recreational and commercial regulations.
Hearing on proposed freshwater fishing, hunting and trapping regulations
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced last week that they will hold a public hearing on proposed regulations relating to the next two (2023 to 2025) freshwater fishing, hunting and trapping seasons.
The hearing is Wednesday, May 17, at 6 p.m. at the Cranston Central Library, James Giles Community Room, 140 Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston.
For copies of draft regulations and/or to submit written comments, email Ashley Schipritt at email@example.com by close of business (4 p.m.) on Wednesday, May 24.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass and blue fish: Fish are being caught throughout the water column, with top water and swimming lures working, as well as trolling low in the water column with tube and worm. “Huge bluefish in the 10- to 15-pound range were caught off the Charlestown Breachway. Now they have moved to the West Wall in South Kingstown,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, Narragansett.
John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “Customers are catching keeper stripers in the Providence River and Bay, but they are not big fish. Three customers caught six striped bass, one keeper, and multiple six to eight pound bluefish at the old American Tourister location on the Warren River. We had a customer catch a 30-pound fish off Barrington Beach, with Rumstick Point shore producing for anglers, too.”
Cape Cod Canal fishing expert and author East End Eddie Doherty said, “Surfcasters have found success on various sections of the Canal on different days with the breaking tides kicking off a great fishing last weekend. The herring run still has some herring swimming into the Big Ditch, sounding a dinner bell for hungry linesiders. Jim Kelly from Centerville landed a 45-inch bass that fell for a 3.5-ounce Striper Gear Rocket. I caught nine fish, including a 39-inch, 18-pounder on the Cape side.”
Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “Big bluefish the size of my arm are being caught all over the East and West Passages of the Bay, with slot size striped bass being caught using top water lures, SP Minnows and big spoons.”
“Striped bass fishing picked up about mid-week, with plenty of bluefish mixed in, some of these fish being Gators. Bass are still coming, going, and feeding heavy when the bait is present,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown.
“Tautog fishing remains strong even in the upper Bay, with nice keepers being taken at Rocky Point, Warwick,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.
“Tautog fishing remains good, even in the upper Bay. We had two nice keepers caught at Sabin Point, Riverside, thanks to those reef balls placed there a couple of years ago,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle.
Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, said, “Tautog fishing is good, but anglers are working for them. We had one customer pick off a 10.5-pound fish off a wreck using lock spot on his electric motor.”
Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle said, “Tautog fishing is producing good catches coming from rocky areas 20- to 30-feet of water and shallower. Most females are filled with eggs. It is not a regulation, but is a great practice to release large egg carrying females this time of year.”
Squid and summer flounder
Squid fishing is picking up, but anglers are having to put the time in. Some days it is hot and other days it is not. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, said, “Squid fishing is good for customers off the South County beaches and in Newport.”
“Squid fishing has just kicked into gear but isn’t red hot just yet. Expecting it to really shape up for next week,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle. Summer flounder generally follow the squid, and we have reports that some summer flounder are being caught at Block Island and in the Bay.
“Largemouth bass bite continues to be good at Turner Reservoir in Rumford, Lincoln Woods, Waterman Lake, Greenville and Spectacle Pond, Cranston, with a strong pike bite at Waterman Lake and in the Blackstone River at the Central Falls/Lincoln line,” said Henault of Ocean State.
Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “A tournament at Warden’s Pond in South Kingstown produced a lot of nice largemouth bass this weekend. In Warwick Gorton Pond and Sand Pond continue to produce for anglers using jigs.”
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.