Wet start and wild end to Opening Day
Opening day of the Rhode Island trout and freshwater season had a wet start and a wild end last Saturday, April 13. At 6:08 a.m. only a few anglers braved the pounding rain and wind at Rhode Island waterways to fish. However, those that did were rewarded with some of the 75,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout that had been stocked by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). In the afternoon and on Sunday the weather cleared providing a perfect ending to opening weekend.
Henry Deandrade, who fished opening day at Only Pond, Lincoln with his uncle and older brother Jaymin, said, “The fishing is great. We caught ten fish so far, I caught the biggest and my brother Jaymin caught a golden trout.”
Hatchery-raised golden rainbow trout were stocked at 16 of Rhode Island’s most popular fishing locations for Opening Day. A list of waterways that have been stocked by DEM is available on their website at www.dem.ri.gov. Anglers who catch a golden trout from Opening Day through April 29 can receive a free golden trout pin. Take a picture of your catch and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Botelhs of East Providence (Henry and Jaymin’s uncle) said, “We caught all our fish using PowerBait because the fish coming out of the hatchery are used to eating artificial food.” Once hatchery-raised fish acclimate to the natural surroundings (in a week or so) they are likely to enjoy eating natural baits like meal worms or lures that look like natural baits.
So if you plan to fish for trout this week I would suggest taking artificial baits (like PowerBait) as well as natural baits and natural looking lures. Try both and switch to the rig and bait arrangement that seems to be working best.
Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, said, “With the rain at 4:30 a.m. Saturday we had just one customer, however, Friday we were very busy and did not stop selling licenses.” Brenda Ferreira of East Providence was of the few customers at Lucky Bail at 7 a.m. Saturday buying a license. Ferreira said, “I’m here with my son Dan Decrescenzo and we plan to fish Willet Avenue Pond as soon as the weather clears. Fishing together is a tradition we have had for years.”
At Willet Avenue Pond brothers Nick and Ted Crevier of Riverside had landed two and three trout respectively in two hours. I met Matthew Terry of Richmond, his wife Linda and daughter Olivia at Frenchtown Pond in East Greenwich at about 10 a.m. in a constant rain. Linda said, “We just got here. We fish together as a family all the time and thought we would come out and try our luck on opening day.”
Charter Boat annual meeting
Members of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association (RIPCBA) gathered Sunday at Spain Restaurant, Narragansett for their Annual Banquet. About one hundred captains and guests celebrated last year’s catch. Capt. Rich Bellavance, president, said “We are thankful for a safe year of fishing last year and look forward to a good and safe year of fishing in 2019.”
Captains and guests donated food and cash raised at the annual banquet to the Johnny Cake Food Pantry in South County as they have done for the past several years.
New Association promotes business through conservation
The American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) officially launched this month with a mission to promote sustainable business through marine conservation.
Capt. John McMurray, president of the Association, said, “We represents fishing guides and charter captains, small business owners and like-minded anglers to protect marine resources. Our board of directors is comprised of highly respected small business owners and guides from Maine to North Carolina. In Rhode Island Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown, is our board chairmen and charter Capt. Dave Monti, fishing writer and fisheries advocate, is a board member and chairs our audit committee.”
The ASGA strives to provide a stronger voice and sound representation to the recreational fishing community, and intends to work with lawmakers and various fisheries management bodies by advocating for conservation through science-based management. It will focus on the positive economic impacts that accrue from management that promotes abundant fish populations and the economic harm that will inevitably result from policies that promote excessive harvest.
The organization has identified striped bass, bluefish, menhaden and the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act as initial management issues that it will focus its efforts on in the near-term. Visit www.saltwaterguidesassociation.org for information and as a resource on marine and fisheries management issues.
Where’s the bite
Freshwater. Trout fishing at Massachusetts and Rhode Island ponds that have been stocked has been outstanding and is expected to continue to be good this coming week. Only Pond, Lincoln; Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside; Silver Spring, North Kingstown; and Frenchtown Pond, East Greenwich were all yielding large brown, brook and rainbow trout this week. The largemouth bass bite was good too with anglers using shiners as the bait of choice. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Customers are catching trout with artificial baits (like PowerBait) as the food of choice.”
Saltwater fishing. Anglers continue to fish for small holdover striped bass in rivers and are now starting to target tautog. No reports of keeper tautog being taken in large numbers.
Dave Monti 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, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Follow Capt. Dave on twitter @CaptDaveMonti. He’ll be tweeting about ‘Where’s the bite’, fishing regulations, national fishing policy, and issues that impact the fish. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.