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DEM Announces Free Freshwater Fishing Days May 4 & May 5

Freshwater Fishing Licenses Not Needed to Fish in RI Freshwaters during this Special Weekend; Anglers Can Catch a Golden Rainbow Trout and Win a Prize

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 are free fishing days in Rhode Island. During those two days, all Rhode Islanders and visitors can fish in freshwaters without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp. The free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses.

For the fourth year, DEM fish hatcheries are offering anglers the chance to catch a coveted golden rainbow trout. On Saturday, May 4, a fishing tournament sponsored by DEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carolina Trout Pond in Richmond. DEM's hatchery staff will stock the Rhode Island hatchery-raised golden rainbow trout at the pond for the event. There will also be loaner fishing rods, bait, and gifts for children available courtesy of DEM's Aquatic Resource Education program. DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife staff will be on hand to assist families during the fishing event.

"Free fishing days offer local residents and visitors a special incentive to get outdoors and try something new," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "I hope folks will take advantage of this opportunity to visit Rhode Island's ponds and lakes next weekend and catch a beautiful golden rainbow trout or the brook, brown and rainbow trout raised in DEM's hatcheries."

Lucky anglers who catch a golden trout during the free fishing weekend and throughout the season will be given a free golden trout pin. Take a picture of your catch and send it to Kimberly Sullivan of DEM's Aquatic Resource Education program at

The free fishing program was established in Rhode Island about 20 years ago as an opportunity to encourage people to experience freshwater fishing as a new outdoor experience and highlight some of Rhode Island's premier freshwater fishing areas. Fishing provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to engage in outdoor recreation and also contributes to the economic health of the state. Residents and tourists spend over $153 million annually in Rhode Island on trip and equipment-related expenditures for fishing, according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service's National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (2006).

All the usual freshwater fishing regulations on size and limits apply during the two free fishing days. Information about stocked freshwaters, size and creel limits can be found in the Freshwater Fishing Abstract, or by calling DEM's Great Swamp Field Office at 789-0281, or the Aquatic Resource Education office 539-0037. The abstract and regulations can also be found on DEM's website,, by clicking on "Fish and Wildlife" under "Offices and Divisions," and then choosing "Freshwater Fisheries."

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 04-29-2013

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