RI Free Fishing Weekend May 4 & 5! - The Fisherman

RI Free Fishing Weekend May 4 & 5!

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces it will hold its annual Free Fishing Weekend Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5. DEM invites Rhode Islanders and visitors alike to fish in the state’s freshwaters on both days for all species of freshwater fish without a fishing license, which costs $21 for residents and $38 for non-residents, or a trout conservation stamp, which costs $5.50. Visit the DEM website for a complete list of stocked waters. The Division of Fish and Wildlife will continue to provide daily stocking information through the second and third stocking rounds this spring. Please note that Rhode Island’s Free Fishing Weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses.

All freshwater fishing regulations on size/creel (possession) limits apply on May 4 and May 5. The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 13 through Nov. 30 and two from Dec. 1, through Feb. 28, 2025. The creel/possession limit for trout taken in the Wood River between Route 165 and Barberville Dam at Arcadia Road is two fish from the second Saturday in May through the last day of February 2025. The minimum size of all trout or charr species taken from the waters of the state is 8 inches, measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. The creel and possession limit for domestic or landlocked Atlantic salmon in the freshwaters of the state is two fish per day and shall be included in the daily limit for trout, salmon, or charr. The minimum size for domestic salmon is 11 inches. No person shall take Atlantic salmon from the Pawcatuck River downstream of the Potter Hill dam.  The taking of any fish in the freshwaters of the state by net, seine, trawl, cast net or gill net, or similar device — except for a dip net for the landing of a fish caught by hook and line — and the taking of baitfish are prohibited. For more regulation information, please refer to the 2023-24 Freshwater Fishing Abstract and the DEM website. Information about stocked freshwaters and size and creel limits for all freshwater fish species can be found there as well.

Anglers who catch a golden rainbow trout through May 6 will be eligible to receive a golden trout pin. Simply take a picture and email it to [email protected] for verification. Submissions must be received no later than Monday, May 6, 2024, to be eligible. One pin per person limit. The DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Freshwater and Diadromous Fisheries team has stocked the following freshwaters with golden rainbow trout:

Barber Pond, South Kingstown

Carbuncle Pond, Coventry

Carolina Trout Pond, Richmond

Eight Rod Farm Pond, Tiverton

Meadow Brook Pond, Richmond

Melville Ponds, Portsmouth

Olney Pond, Lincoln Wood State Park, Lincoln

Peck Pond, Burrillville

Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster

Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown

Simmons Mill Pond, Little Compton

Tucker Pond, South Kingstown

Watchaug Pond, Charlestown

Willett Pond, East Providence

The use of external felt soled or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing water in any freshwaters in Rhode Island is strictly prohibited. This includes any waters shared with adjacent states in which Rhode Island fishing regulations apply. It is prohibited to enter or exit a state boat ramp with any vegetation attached to any type of boat, motor, boat trailer, or any other conveyance or equipment to curtail the spread of invasive aquatic plants.

DEM also reminds anglers that wearing a life jacket while paddling in Rhode Island will no longer be optional; it will be required, according to new boating safety regulations the agency announced on March 23. The new personal flotation device (PFD) regulation states that all operators and passengers of canoes, kayaks, sailboards, kiteboards, paddleboards, and any other paddle craft must always wear a United States Coast Guard (USCG)-approved PFD while underway regardless of age.

For more information or to purchase a fishing or hunting license, visit DEM’s online licensing portal at Rhode Island Outdoors (RIO).