The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced [on March 24, 2021] that Rhode Island trout stocked lakes, ponds, rivers and streams will open for fishing at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7. DEM will be filing an emergency regulation opening the freshwater trout fishing season early this year in order to eliminate the large crowds that often accompany the traditional Opening Day of trout fishing season in April. Please observe the law – fishing before the official Opening Day in any trout stocked waters is illegal and considered poaching. Have respect for your fellow anglers.
“We’re excited to welcome anglers to our state’s beautiful freshwaters this spring to experience the thrill of reeling in the first trout of the season,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Rhode Islanders continue to seek out ways to stay active outdoors while keeping their distance from others, and fishing is an ideal activity that you can safely enjoy on your own by practicing social distancing and not gathering in groups. DEM is proud to support freshwater fishing through our stocking program, and the gorgeous golden rainbow trout and Sebago salmon we’re putting in local waterways for the beginning of the fishing season will bring added excitement to anglers of all ages.”
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, fishing should be enjoyed as a solitary experience or with members of your immediate household, not as a group activity. Check Reopeningri.com and current Executive Orders for current guidance on group sizes for social gatherings. If you arrive at a favorite fishing spot and find that crowds are forming, please leave and choose a different location or return at another time or day. There are many enjoyable fishing locations statewide – try somewhere new. Please note that overnight camping is strictly prohibited at state fishing access areas.
DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is stocking over 60,000 hatchery-raised rainbow, brook, golden rainbow and brown trout in more than 100 waterways across the state. In addition, 4,000 Sebago salmon will be stocked statewide. Again this year, hatchery-raised golden rainbow trout are being stocked for Opening Day. These trout are a color variation of a rainbow trout and provide an exciting angling experience. Anglers who catch a golden trout from April 7 through April 20 will receive a free golden trout pin. Take a picture of your catch and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a complete list of stocked waters.
The following locations will not be stocked because of potential crowding issues, problems with access for stocking, or water level issues: – Children-only fishing ponds – Dundery Brook and Wigwam Pond, Little Compton – Foster Green Acres, Foster – Geneva Brook and Pond, North Providence – Memorial Park Pond, Johnston – Spring Grove Pond, Glocester – Lake Tiogue, Coventry – Wallum Lake, Burrillville.
If conditions improve these sites may be stocked later this spring. Restocking will occur, but stocking locations will not be announced in advance to minimize crowds. For the safety of DEM Fish & Wildlife staff, people should not approach staff while they are stocking fish. Visit DEM’s website for an up-to-date list of trout stocking locations.
As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, and attracting tourism. According to the American Sport Fishing Association, recreational freshwater fishing contributes more than $36 million to the state and local economy each year, based on consumer spending on trips, gear, and other related purchases.
A 2021 fishing license is required for anglers 15 years of age and older. A Trout Conservation Stamp 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. Fishing licenses can only be purchased online.
The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 7, 2021, through November 30, 2021, and two from December 1, 2021, through February 28, 2022. 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.
If you are using a boat, new regulations mandate that no vegetation can be on your boat, and other equipment in or out of a state boat ramp.
Anglers must follow these guidelines during the COVID-19 public health crisis as follows:
- Do not visit lakes, ponds or other fishing areas if you feel ill or are exhibiting symptoms of illness.
- Plan trips to new areas where the fishing pressure may be less.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet between persons.
- Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during your fishing trip. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoid surfaces that are touched
Anglers are advised to take the following safety precautions on Opening Day:
- Stand back from the shoreline and be aware of surroundings.
- If fishing from a boat, always wear a life jacket, and ensure boats are seaworthy before going out on the water.
- Don’t drink alcohol while operating a boat.
- Always stay in the boat; water temperatures are low and the risk of drowning because of cold water is high.
- If the boat capsizes, remain with the boat where you are more likely to be seen by rescuers. Swim for shore only if wearing a life jacket, if the likelihood of rescue is low, or if you are close to shore and not able to climb back into or on top of the boat.
State law requires that boaters always have personal flotation devices for each person, and that they do not drink and operate a boat. Boaters should also be sure their craft is seaworthy before going out on the state’s waterways. For more information on Rhode Island boating laws, click here.