The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) began stocking ponds across Rhode Island with several thousand brook and rainbow trout for the winter trout fishing season. Fishing is a popular winter activity for people of all ages in Rhode Island.
To protect public health during the Covid-19 public health emergency and particularly during Rhode Island’s Pause, which lasts through Sunday, December 13, fishing should be enjoyed as a solitary experience, with just the members of your immediate household, and not as a group activity. Anglers must wear a face covering, follow social distancing practices, maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, and only fish with people who you live with. If you arrive at a favorite fishing spot and find that crowds are forming or the parking lot is full, please leave and choose a different location or return at another time or day. More information about COVID-19 and Rhode Island’s response can be found here.
The hatchery-raised trout will be stocked in the following waterways beginning on Friday, December 11:
- Barber Pond, South Kingstown (Cyanobacteria advisory lifted)
- Carbuncle Pond, Coventry
- Carolina Trout Pond, Richmond
- Meadowbrook Pond, Richmond
- Onley Pond, Lincoln (Lincoln Woods State Park)
- Round Top Ponds, Burrillville
- Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown
- Simmons Mill Pond, Little Compton
- Watchaug Pond, Charlestown
- Willett Pond, East Providence
- Wyoming Pond, Richmond & Hopkinton
A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout or salmon in Rhode Island. The daily creel and possession limit for trout and/or salmon singly or in aggregate, is two fish from December 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021. The creel and possession limits for trout or char taken in the Wood River between Route 165 and Barberville Dam at Arcadia Road shall be limited to two fish from the second Saturday in May through the last day of February, annually. Anglers are reminded to obey all fishing and boating regulations. Catch and release is required for wild brook trout under eight inches in length.
DEM advises anglers to check with individual communities about safe ice conditions on local ponds before ice fishing; DEM does not monitor ice conditions in local communities. Ice must have a uniform thickness of at least six inches before it is considered safe by DEM. It generally takes at least five to seven consecutive days of temperatures in the low 20s and is determined by a number of factors such as the size and depth of a pond, presence of springs or currents, and local temperature fluctuations. For ice conditions at Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods State Park, call DEM’s 24-hour ice safety hotline at 667-6222. View DEM’s ice safety guide online at www.riparks.com/IceSafe for safety tips, information on ice strength, and guidance on what to do if a person were to fall through the ice. The first safety tip: never assume the ice is safe. Among the others: never fish or skate alone or on an untested lake or pond; never use the ice for a shortcut; and never go out onto the ice after an animal or a toy.
Anglers are reminded to protect themselves from hypothermia. When outdoors, especially in low temperatures, dress in layers and wear a warm hat and gloves. Hypothermia is caused by exposure to cold weather, wind, rain, or submersion in cold water. It can set in when the body core temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit and is marked by shivering, dizziness, trouble speaking, lack of coordination, confusion, faster heartbeat, and shallow breathing. It is important to look for these symptoms in children and the elderly who may not be focused on this hazard. If hypothermia is suspected, call for help immediately. Move the victim to a warm environment, remove wet clothing, and cover them with warm layers of clothing or blankets.
DEM reminds anglers of the following changes in the Freshwater Fishing Regulations that took effect on August 2, 2020.
- The minimum size of all trout or charr species, taken from the waters of the state, shall be (8) eight inches, measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. This regulation applies to both wild and stocked trout.
- The minimum size for domestic or land-locked stocked, Atlantic salmon shall be (11) eleven inches total length.
- The following activities are prohibited: In accordance with RI General Laws 20-11-3, the taking of any fish in the freshwaters of the state by any means other than angling, utilizing a hook(s) and fishing line, except for carp, suckers, and fall fish, which may be taken by snares, spears, or bow and arrow. And, the taking of any fish in the freshwaters of the state by net, seine, trawl, or similar device; except for a dip net, for the landing of a fish caught by hook and line, and the taking of baitfish. Cast nets and gills nets shall be prohibited.
All other freshwater fishing regulations apply.
License fees are $18 for Rhode Island residents and current members of the Armed Forces, $33 for a combination hunting and fishing license, $35 for non-residents, and $16 for a tourist three-consecutive-day license. Licenses are free for anglers over 65 (trout stamp not required) – as well as for those with a 100-percent disability.
In order to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive organisms such as Didymo algae and other harmful aquatic “hitch hikers,” Rhode Island strictly prohibits the use of external felt soled or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing water in any freshwaters in the state. This includes any waters shared with adjacent states in which Rhode Island fishing regulations apply. Regulations mandate anglers to remove all vegetation clinging to all types of boats, motors, and gear before leaving and or entering freshwaters to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants to other areas.
For a list of designated trout waters and information of interest to anglers visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter @RhodeIslandDEM or Facebook for timely updates.
For daily updates on stocking locations, follow DEM’s outdoor education page on Facebook, or call 401-789-0281.