John Migliori with a 12” golden trout he caught at Melville Pond, Portsmouth. Take a picture with your golden trout and send it to Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a golden trout pin.
Free Fishing Weekend for freshwater anglers
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold Free Fishing Weekend Saturday, May 6th and Sunday, May 7th. As part of the event, the public is invited to fish without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp in the state's freshwaters.
Six local ponds will be stocked with over 6,000 rainbow trout and 4,000 golden trout for the event. Stocked waters include: Peck Pond, Burrillville; Browning Mill Pond, Exeter; Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown; Upper Melville Pond, Portsmouth; Meadowbrook Pond, Richmond; and Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster.
The free fishing program was established in Rhode Island in 1995 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. Anglers who catch a golden trout on free fishing weekend and throughout the season will receive a free golden trout pin. Take a picture of your catch and send it to Jessica Pena at Jessica.email@example.com .
Free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing. Freshwater fishing regulations on size and limits apply on May 6th and May 7th. For more information or to purchase a license, visit www.dem.ri.gov.
DEM workshop for fishermen nets some good ideas
It was about half way thought the commercial fishing workshop Tuesday night at the URI Bay Campus when fisherman John Walker recommended a change in license use regulations that made a lot of sense to most fishermen and Department of Environmental Management (DEM) staff persons in the room.
The issue was allowing two licensed fishermen fishing on the same vessel to each take their allowable catch limit (this is done now with select species). Walker said, “When you think about the amount of fuel, the added carbon pollution and cost we incur each time we fish it makes a lot of sense to allow two licenses to work one boat… it cuts expenses in half and is a lot safer.”
Fisherman Greg Duckworth said, “This recommendation makes a lot of sense to me, whatever we have to do to make it work should be explored.” DEM is taking the suggestion under advisement and will explore if and how such a change could be implemented.
Another proposed regulation discussed at the meeting was a regulation similar to one that exists now for lobster pots. The regulation would prevent all pots such as eel and crab pots from being raised an hour after sunset and more than an hour before sunrise. The aim of the proposal would be to prevent poaching, however, fishermen felt the regulation would be restrictive as some fishermen now raise their pots early morning to sell crabs, or set them a dusk, etc.
Workshops such as the one held Tuesday night are designed to seek fishermen input on regulations. Regulations and proposals discussed will be explored further and presented at a public hearing in June.
Al Gag tackle demonstration at Ocean State
Ocean State Tackle, Providence will have Al Gag of Al Gag’s Fishing Lures at their store for a demonstration on Sunday, May 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Meet the inventor of the Whip-It Eel and the Whip-It Fish and learn how to fish the lures. For information contact Dave Henault at 401. 749.3474.
8th Annual Customer Appreciation Day
Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, RI will be celebrating their 8th Annual Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday, May 13th. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “We plan on having a number of reps on hand from a variety of manufacturers (Penn, Calcutta and a host of others). And, we will be having our traditional pig roast for customers.”
Two quahog transplants… May 10th and May 11th
Two quahog transplants will take place this month. This is the program that uses local quahogers to dig quahogs out of restricted areas and move them to clean waters. On Wednesday, May 10th a transplant will take place at Greenwich Cove and Thursday, May 11th a transplant will take place at Bristol Harbor, starting at the Independence Park boat ramp. Licensed commercial shellfishermen will be paid $7/50 pound bag and those assisting with dumping $10/50 pound bad. Both transplants will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon.
Shellfishermen should report to the on-site DEM enforcement patrol boat by 8:00 a.m. on the day of the transplant. The shellfish transplant program is a cooperative effort between DEM, the Narragansett Bay Commission, the shellfish industry, and the RI Department of Health. 2017 transplant funding is provided by the Narragansett Bay Commission.
Where’s the Bite
Freshwater fishing continues to be very strong with anglers catching large and smallmouth bass. The trout bite is expected to improve this weekend with DEM stocking ponds with trout and golden trout for Free Fishing weekend. See above article for ponds to be stocked or visit www.dem.ri.gov . Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “Trout fishing in DEM stocked ponds is still great and customers are catching bass and pike in Chapman Pond (Westerly).” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Ronnie Lippe caught a 26 pound carp in East Providence using pop-up baits.”
Tautog fishing has improved this week in the Bay with anglers catching keepers with shorts mixed in; however, fishing along the southern coastal shore was not good. “Tautog fishing is good in RI but anglers have been keeping their fishing success to themselves as is the case in the spring time, but we know they are catching keepers somewhere." said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “Spring fishing locations in water 15 to 25 feet has just not been good in South County.” I fished with two anglers Saturday in the Newport and Jamestown area and had a very slow pick with two keepers and three shorts. “Capt. Billy Silvia caught his commercial limit of tautog at Ohio Ledge this week.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “We received reports of keeper tautog being caught off Newport, and all along Water Street but there are a lot of shorts mixed in.” Joe Palmer of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle said, “No major reports of blackfish being caught yet.”
Striped bass fishing in Southern, RI is exploding. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor said, “Bass fishing is phenomenal. A customer caught a 31” fish off the West Wall (Harbor of Refuge) this weekend with school bass being caught in mass at the Wall and on Matunuck and Charlestown beaches. The ponds in Charlestown, Ninigret and Narrow River are all hot too.” Anglers have caught as many as twenty school bass on an outing in Greenwich Cove (spreading to Apponaug Cove in Warwick too). “School bass with keeper bass mixed in are being caught everywhere including the Warren River, Kicketmuit River and all the way up to Pawtucket.” said Many Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle. “We have a lot of school bass in the 14" to 15” range being caught but no reports of keepers really arriving yet.” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters.
“Squid fishing is hit or miss with anglers catching as much as ½ bucket (a five gallon pail) fishing in the Newport and Jamestown.” said Manny Macedo. “The squid are in and out depending on the day in Rhode Island with large numbers being taken in Hyannis, MA.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State.