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Rules and Regulations

RI Freshwater Fisheries COVID-19 Updates & Frequently Asked Questions

Rhode Island lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams are currently open to fish for trout. While freshwater fishing is open year-round for other species, trout are stocked by DEM each winter to prepare for the traditional opening day that occurs on the second Saturday in April. For the 2021 season, Opening Day of trout fishing season kicked off earlier on Wednesday, April 7 at 6AM to prevent the large crowds that often accompany the traditional opening day of trout fishing season.

This webpage will have the latest information. Please check back often using this easy to remember URL: www.dem.ri.gov/fishing.

Page content last updated 8/4/21


Freshwater Fisheries FAQs

Are there new fishing regulations in effect?

Yes. As of July 31, 2021, new statewide Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing Rules and Regulations are in effect.

Section 10-6.1-16: The Beaver River in Richmond is now designated as a no kill, "catch-and-release only" area. This includes the portion from the confluence of the Beaver River and the Pawcatuck River, located downstream of Shannock Hill Road, Richmond, upstream to New London Turnpike, Richmond. Fishing is permitted with artificial lures equipped with a single barbless hook or single barbed hook that has been crimped, and all fish caught shall be returned to the water immediately. The possession of any trout, salmon, or charr while fishing in this section of the river shall be primary evidence that said trout, salmon, or charr was taken in violation of these Rules and Regulations.

Section 10.6.1-17: The Beaver River has been removed from the trout stocking list; it will no longer be stocked with hatchery-raised trout.

The Beaver River is home to a robust population of wild brook trout. Brook trout are listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the 2015 Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan. Continuous work by DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife focuses on documenting the distribution of brook trout across Rhode Island and implementing management actions to improve populations. The Town of Richmond's recent Beaver River Watershed Assessment report identifies the Beaver River as a priority area for habitat conservation for wild brook trout, including altering trout stocking practices. These findings are consistent with analyses conducted by DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife. The aim of designating the Beaver River as catch and release-only area is to further improve the population of brook trout in the Beaver River. Furthermore, this change will provide a unique opportunity for anglers to target wild brook trout and admire them for their natural beauty.

The other major regulatory change affects children only fishing ponds. • Section 10.6.1 -9 - Children Only Ponds: In addition to the other children only ponds listed, Cass Pond in Woonsocket and Geneva Brook and Pond in North Providence have been revised to be restricted to children for only the first two days of the trout fishing season.

How is the fishing season different other years?

We believe that we can offer fishing in a safe and controlled manner to prevent the spread of COVID-19. DEM has stocked trout only in larger waterbodies and locations to allow anglers to keep distance from others.

Travelers to Rhode Island should visit RI Department of Health's website for Travel Information for Residents and Visitors. If you're not fully vaccinated, wear a mask indoors to protect yourself and your household from COVID-19. Learn more.

Q. Can I camp at fishing access sites or boat ramps?

A. No. Camping is not allowed in non-designated areas, which include fishing access sites and boat ramps.

Q: Are there fishing restrictions for when an angler can fish?

A. No. At the beginning of the 2020 fishing season DEM implemented a system that restricted the days when anglers can fish at trout-designated waters based on the first letter of their last name. This restriction has been lifted and does not apply for the 2021 season.

Q: Can out-of-state anglers fish in RI

A: Non-residents may come to Rhode Island for recreation based on the location from which they are traveling. Restrictions are in place for people traveling to Rhode Island froms locations with a high community spread rate of COVID-19. View Travel Information for RI Residents and Visitors. If you're not fully vaccinated, wear a mask indoors to protect yourself and your household from COVID-19. Learn more.

Q. Are bathroom facilities opened or port-a-johns available at fishing locations?

A. There is a limited amount of locations with portajohns. Please plan ahead: stay close to home and keep your fishing trip short.

Q. Are State Parks open for fishing?

A. Yes. RI State Parks are open. For updates and information on parks visit www.riparks.com

Q. Are you still stocking trout? 

A. Yes. DEM began stocking trout in early February and have continued to stock the trout produced at our state hatcheries. View an up-to-date list full list of trout stocking locations here. These locations may change, and do not include ponds in children-only fishing ponds as they tend to be areas that attract crowds.

Q. What areas are NOT being stocked?

DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is only stocking trout in larger waterbodies and locations that allow anglers to maintain distance from others. Smaller waterbodies, including children-only fishing ponds, are not being stocked.

Q. Can I keep the trout that I catch? 

A. Yes, as long as you are following all other regulations for the place you are fishing (the daily limit and any size limit). View updated regulations here.

Q. Has [insert waterbody] been stocked with trout yet this year?

A. Restocking will occur. For the safety of Fish and Wildlife staff, people should not approach staff while they are stocking fish.  Check the Division's Facebook feed on this page or visit RIfishwildlife on Facebook for stocking updates. You can also view the interactive map of trout stocked locations for the 2021 season.

Q. Can I fish in a lake/pond that crosses state lines?

A. That depends.  There are several boundary waters, waters that cross state lines that have Rhode Island fishing regulations.

Connecticut Border:

  • Beach Pond is subject to Rhode Island trout regulations.
  • Peck Pond (Keach Pond) is a trout-stocked pond located in a State Park. RI regulations apply.
  • Hazard Pond and Killingly Pond are open to fishing as there is no closed season. They are non-trout waters.
 

Massachusetts Border:

  • Wallum Lake is subject to Rhode Island Regulations. Massaschusetts does not have a closed season.
 
Q. Is the boat ramp at Olney Pond available? Is there access to launch a kayak or canoe at Lincoln Wood's Olney Pond?

As of May 27, 2021, the new boat ramp area at Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods State Park is open and available to use. A second phase of the contstruction project is planned for late this summer and should take a week to complete. The project will be completed shortly after.

Q. Where can I get a copy of the 2021 Fishing Guide?

A. The 2021 Fishing Guide is available online at http://www.eregulations.com/rhodeisland/fishing/.

Q. Where can I get my fishing license and trout/salmon stamp? 

A. We encourage you to get your fishing license online 24/7 through our online licensing system: https://www.ri.gov/DEM/huntfish.

Q. Can I fish at RI State beaches or parks? 

A. All existing saltwater fishing regulations are in effect. All RI state parks and all saltwater beaches are open. Find more information at www.riparks.com. Please consult with the 2021 Fishing Guide or our webpage for the current Marine Fishing Regulations.

Q. At what age does an angler need a fishing license?

A. Recreational Freshwater Fishing Licenses are required of anglers fifteen (15) years of age and older. Recreational Saltwater Fishing Licenses are required of anglers sixteen (16) years of age and older.

Q. How much does a freshwater fishing license cost?

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.

Q. When does the freshwater fishing license expire?

A. Freshwater fishing licenses expire at midnight on the last day of February annually.

Q. What are the dates of the FREE FISHING DAYS?

A. On the first full weekend of May each year, neither a Rhode Island resident nor a resident of any other state is required to possess a freshwater fishing license or a trout conservation stamp. Given the serious nature of COVID-19, DEM will continue to provide any needed updates regarding changes to this guidance.

Q. Do I need a trout stamp?

A. A trout conservation stamp ($5.50) is required of any person wishing to keep or possess a trout, salmon, or charr caught in Rhode Island waters or by any person fishing in a "catch-and-release" or "fly-fishing ONLY" area.

Q. Who DOES NOT need a trout stamp?

A. Minors under 15 years of age; RI residents over 65 years of age; persons with a 100% disability; landowner and members of their family when fishing from property on which they are actually domiciled; persons possessing trout taken from a lake or pond which shares a border with a neighboring state; persons possessing privately-owned trout caught in privately-owned ponds.

Q. Can I use corn for bait in any trout waters?

A. NO.

Q. Can I chum in trout waters?

A. NO.

Q. Where can I find bait and tackle?

A. Many bait and tackle shops, as well as big-box stores that carry bait and tackle, remain open for online sales, curbside pickup, or limited indoor sales. Please call ahead for more information.

Q. What else is DEM doing in response to COVID-19?

A. Please see here for more information on DEM’s COVID-19 response at www.dem.ri.gov/covid19.