No Fluke

DEM stocks trout across the state


The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) stocked trout in ponds across Rhode Island before Columbus Day weekend.

The following waters were stocked with rainbow and brook trout: Burrillville – Round Top Ponds; Charlestown – Lower Shannock, Pawcatuck River; Coventry – Carbuncle Pond; Exeter – Breakheart Pond, Browning Mill Pond ; Glocester – Spring Grove Pond; Lincoln – Olney Pond (Lincoln Woods State Park); North Kingstown – Silver Spring Lake; Richmond – Meadowbrook Pond, Beaver River, Wyoming Pond; Scituate – Hope Mill Landing, Upper Pawtuxet River; South Kingstown – Barber Pond; Tiverton – Stafford Pond and other selected areas on the Wood and Pawcatuck Rivers.

For daily stocking updates, follow DEM’s outdoor education page on Facebook:

Long time charter captain passes

Harold H. Smith, 90, of Charlestown, passed away on Thursday, September 27. Born in Warwick, he was the son of the late Herbert Smith, Hazel Ripka and step son of the late Stanley Ripka.

Mr. Smith was a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He was the captain of the vessel Karuna in Galilee for many years. Harold was a member of RI Party Charter Boat Association for 53 years. Block Island was his second home and favorite place to be.

Dirty water not good for tautog fishing

Dirty, sandy water, kicked up by rain, enhanced runoff, wind and rough seas is not good for tautog fishing. The sand in the water irritates the gills of the tautog. So they do not expend the energy and move around much when we have turbid water conditions.

And, who can see through dirty water? I couldn’t see anything in the water last week after all the rain we had. If we can’t see through the water, you can believe the tautog have difficulty seeing too. So, even if the fish were moving around they would have difficulty seeing your bait.

Last Saturday tautog fishing was off in part due to sandy, turbid water created by extreme wet conditions.

Warming water due to climate change has impacted the fish in our area with cold water fish like winter flounder and American lobster moving out of the area and warm water fish like black sea bass and scup moving into our area in greater numbers. However, now I wonder how extreme dry and wet conditions will impact the fish too.

The swings in wet and dry conditions may be connected in part to climate change. Scientists have said the atmosphere is now carrying more moisture due in part to the air and water temperatures being warmer.

As far back as 2013 scientist have been predicting swings in wet and dry conditions. “Climate studies have projected that precipitation extremes will become more frequent and severe….The proximate cause for floods and the droughts have had to do with sharp and extended variations in the jet stream,” said Andrew Freedman in an article titled "Wild weather swings may be a sign of climate change" that appeared on April 26, 2013 in Climate Central. Freedman said, “However, the long-term increase in water vapor due to manmade global warming acts to worsen both extremes by providing more water for storms to work with, therefore dumping heavier rains, or making temperatures hotter than they otherwise would be."

The trend of weather extreme predictions continued in 2016 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on the ‘Climate Change Indicators’ section of their website, “Rising global average temperature is associated with widespread changes in weather patterns. Scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and large storms are likely to become more frequent or more intense with human-induced climate change.”

This year the damage weather extremes can do played out with forest fires on the West Coast and other parts of the country. Some scientists say moist conditions caused a heavy amount of underbrush to grow in forests and then when extreme dry conditions occurred the underbrush became great fuel for forest fires.

Another recent example is the heavy rain generated by Hurricane Florence when it hit the United States, many areas received over 20 inches of rain, and Swansboro, NC received 30.58” of rain.

I am not a scientist and do not exactly know how extreme dry and wet conditions will impact our bays, ocean and fish. I do know that when extreme heat occurs and the water warms no fish are to be found in the bay. And, last Saturday, I would say for sure that dirty water created by extreme wet conditions made the water turbid and sandy which in part created poor tautog fishing conditions.

I’d say more study is needed to determine the impact of these extreme climate change conditions will have on the fish we catch and eat.

Where’s the bite?

Tautog fishing improved this week with fish being caught in our bays and along the coastal shore. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Tautog fishing has improved with anglers catching their limit (three fish/angler/day, minimum size 16”). The fish are in shallow water 15 to 20 feet.” Lorraine Danti of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “Customers are catching tautog with a pretty good 50 percent to 50 percent keeper ratio at Common Fence Point, Portsmouth and on the Sakonnet River at Fogland Point, Tiverton.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “The tautog bite has been good at Plum Island Light and the General Rock area for customers.”

Striped bass/blue fish/false albacore. Striped bass fishing on the Cape Cod Canal has been good. Angler Ed Doherty of Mattapoisett said, “Rain bait everywhere in the Canal last week. I caught a 23 pound striper and then a 19 pounder at 7 a.m. on top with a Guppy JoBo, Sr. Mike Deryck landed a nice 28 pound fighter from the bottom and I caught a 30 pounder with a Tsunami Heavy White Swim Shad last Thursday.” Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the RI Party & Charter Boat Associations said, “The striped bass fishing at Block Island is improving with Capt. Kelly Lynn of Sea Devil II landing a 45 pound fish this weekend at the southwest ledge. That was the largest fish I heard about, the others were in the 30 inch range. We have very large bluefish there too. Tactics working include diamond jigs and trolling parachute jigs.” No major bass bite in the bay has been reported. However, the hottest action is along the southern coastal shore. Angler Gil Bell of Charlestown said, “This weekend I landed a 42”, 24 pound striped bass from the beach. It was the second long and narrow fish I caught this week. Both of them had empty stomachs.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said, “The costal shore is bearing fruit. The striped bass are close to the beaches in the wash averaging 18 to 22” with keeper sized fish mixed in. False albacore fishing was hit or miss. The False albacore bite is fair with anglers catching them from Newport to Watch Hill, Westerly.” Lorraine Danti of Lucky Bait said, “Anglers have caught false albacore as far north as Barrington Beach in the bay but they are spread out.”

Cod fishing. Capt. Rick Bellavance said, “Shark Ledge has been good for cod fishing with keepers being caught there this weekend.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Biggest cod on Saturday (at Cox Ledge) was around 15 pounds but some nice quality fish in the 8-12 pound range. Those who put the smaller hooks on were treated to plenty of monster sized scup to 3 pounds.”

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at or visit his website at

Dave Monti

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Scott Pickering

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