Opening Day of the freshwater fishing season in Rhode Island is at 6 a.m. this Saturday, April 8. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has stocked 100 waterways, many with brook, brown, tiger and rainbow trout, as well as Sebago salmon in select areas in advance of the season.
Hatchery-raised golden rainbow trout are being stocked in waterways throughout Rhode Island for Opening Day. These trout are a color variation of a rainbow trout and provide an exciting angling experience.
For licensing information and a list of waterways that are being stocked by DEM, visit their website at www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries/index.php.
A 2023 fishing license ($21 online) is required for anglers 15 years of age and older. A Trout Conservation Stamp ($5.50 online) is also required of anyone wishing to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or “fly-fishing only” area. Trout Stamps are not required for persons possessing trout taken from a lake or pond that shares a border with Rhode Island.
The minimum size for trout is eight inches (8”), and the daily creel or possession limit is five from April 8, through Nov. 30, and two from Dec. 1, 2023, through Feb. 29, 2024.
Fly tying and fishing
the cinder worm hatch
The annual Cinder Worm Fly Tying and Fly Fishing workshop being held next month still has some openings at press time. The program will be held on two weekday evenings, with classes in fly tying instruction, and one weekend evening, with a focus on fly fishing. The program is free to registrants.
The cinder worm hatch is a springtime ritual as thousands of cinder worms wiggle their way from the mud to the surface to mate. Striped bass feed on the worms. Participants get to make their own flies in class then take them out on the water to experience this great fishery.
Instructors will be available to assist novice participants on rigging and casting. Dave Pollack and Capt. Ray Stachelek have led a team of volunteer instructors to produce the workshop series for years, which is sponsored by U.S. Fish & Wildlife and DEM’s Aquatic Education Outreach program. The program is open to any adult or child over the age of 10, regardless of skill level — 40-person maximum, so register early. Instruction and guidance will be provided by some of the area’s most proficient and knowledgeable worm hatch fishers.
All fly tying materials will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their own tools and equipment, but all necessary fly tying tools and equipment will be loaned to registrants upon request. Saltwater fly fishing equipment, including rods, reel, lines and leaders, will be loaned to registrants who do not have their own gear and tackle upon request in advance.
The Fly Tying classes will be held Tuesdays, May 2 and 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, Charlestown, R.I. The Fly Fishing portion of the program will take place Saturday, May 20, from 4 p.m. until dark at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown, R.I.
For information or to register for the program, contact Marisa Podbros, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, at email@example.com or call 401-213-4400.
Where’s the bite?
Freshwater. “We have customers stocking up for opening day Saturday. The bait of choice for hatchery raised trout that have been stocked in ponds is Power Bait,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. The bait and other synthetic baits like it resemble what these fish eat in the hatchery. After a couple of weeks and the fish are acclimated, they start to eat natural baits in there new environment.”
Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “The anticipation of opening day for trout season for both Rhode Island and Connecticut customers is very high. Additional stockings have taken place in both states, as fish in the hatchery matured early this year and the fish needed to be moved. We are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but Opening Day, Saturday, April 8, we plan to open very early; give us a call.”
Vincent Castaldi of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, said, “Things have been kind of quiet. Some anglers, including myself, are catching largemouth and pickerel. Ryan Park, North Kingstown, and Lake Tiogue, Coventry have been producing some fish.”
For licenses and trout/salmon waterway stocking information in Rhode Island visit www.dem.ri.gov/fishing, and in Massachusetts www.mass.gov/service-details/trout-stocking-report .
Striped bass holdovers continue to be caught in the upper Providence River. “We have had some non-confirmed reports that school bass are in the salt ponds already,” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill.
The tautog spring season opened on April 1. Anglers fished last weekend but no reports of fish at this point. Rhode Island and Massachusetts have the same trophy fish regulations that Rhode Island had last year. Anglers are allowed just one trophy fish, 21” or larger. The minimum size is still 16” and a 10-fish-per boat limit applies for private recreational vessels. The spring season runs from April 1 to May 31 and allows for three fish/person/day; the season reopens Aug. 1 to Oct. 14 with a three fish/person/day limit and then jumps to five fish from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31. In Massachusetts anglers are allowed to take one fish in the spawning season of June and July.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.