PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8, are Free Fishing Days in Rhode Island. Rhode Islanders and visitors alike can fish in the state's freshwaters on both days for all species of freshwater fish, without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp. All creel and possession limits apply. The free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses.
"Recreational fishing is an activity and tradition that's both fun and important and connects and tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders with nature," said DEM Acting Director Terry Gray. "DEM supports freshwater fishing through our stocking program and is proud to offer Free Fishing Days as a way to say 'Thank you' to Rhode Island anglers."
Established in 1995, the program aims to encourage people to try freshwater fishing as a new outdoor experience and highlight some of the state's premier freshwater fishing areas. As part of larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and supporting a treasured tradition. Over $37 million dollars are generated annually in Rhode Island from freshwater fishing. DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife is continuing to stock additional fish in RI waterways. Visit our website for a complete list of stocked waters.
A 2022 fishing license is required for anglers 15 years of age and older. Fishing licenses can be purchased online on DEM'S new Rhode Island Outdoors (RIO) portal.
The minimum size of all trout or charr species taken from the waters of the state is eight 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 fresh waters 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 or landlocked stocked Atlantic salmon is 11 inches long. No person shall take any Atlantic salmon from the Pawcatuck River downstream of the Potter Hill Dam.
DEM would like to remind you of following changes in the Freshwater Regulations:
• The minimum size of all trout or charr species, taken from the waters of the state, shall be 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 inches total length.
The following activities are prohibited:
• The taking of any fish in the freshwaters of the state by any means other than angling, using a hook(s) and fishing line, except for carp, suckers, and fall fish, which may be taken by snares, spears, or bow and arrow.
• 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.
• The Beaver River will not be stocked with hatchery trout. It is catch and release only from the confluence of the Beaver River and the Pawcatuck River, located down stream of Shannock Hill Road, Richmond, upstream to the New London Turnpike, Richmond. It is designated as a "no kill", "catch and release" area. Fishing shall be permitted with artificial lures equipped with a single barbless hook or single barbed hook that has been crimped, and all fish shall be returned to the water immediately. The possession of any trout, salmon, or charr while fishing this section of the river shall be prima facie evidence that said trout, salmon, or charr was taken in violation of these rules and regulations.
• 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 boats, motors, boat trailers, or any other conveyance or equipment to curtail the spread of invasive aquatic plants.
• All other Freshwater Fishing Regulations apply.
The daily creel and possession limit for trout and/or salmon singly or in aggregate, is five fish from Opening Day to Dec. 1, 2022, and two fish from Dec. 1, 2022, through Feb. 28, 2023. The creel and possession limits for trout or charr 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.
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. 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.
Remember the three "Tick Free Rhode Island" keys:
• Repel ticks (use repellent with 20-30% DEET or other EPA-approved repellents on skin and permethrin on clothing/shoes).
• Check for ticks on yourself, children, and pets.
• Remove ticks properly as soon as possible.
For more detailed information and videos, visit Department of Health website and tickencounter.org
Anglers are advised to take the following safety precautions when fishing:
• 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.
For more information on DEM programs and services, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@RhodeIsland.DEM).