With freshwater fishing season opening this Saturday, April 14, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reminds anglers that even on a warm day water temperatures can hover in the low to mid fifties. According to a U.S. Coast Guard report, a boating accident is five times more likely to be fatal if the water is colder than 60 degrees. So be careful on small vessels on opening day and always wear a life jacket.
DEM has stocked approximately 80,000 hatchery-raised brook, brown, and rainbow trout with an average weight of one and a half pounds in more than 100 ponds and streams for opening day. A complete list of stocked ponds can be found on DEM's website, www.
Freshwater fishing licenses
State Department of Environmental Management (DEM) regulations state that "A fishing license is required of any person 15 years of age or older wishing to catch or take fish in any freshwater stream or pond in the State." Exceptions include blind persons, landowners and their family members fishing from their property. Residents over 65 years of age can obtain a special permanent license for free. This year resident licenses are $18 and non-resident licenses are $35. A non-resident three day license is $16.
If you are interested in fishing for trout you will need a trout conservation stamp as well. Cost of a trout conservation stamp is $5.50.
Freshwater fishing licenses and trout stamps can be purchased from city and town clerk offices, authorized agents such as bait and tackle shops and other retail stores that sell tackle. For a list of license vendors visit the DEM web site at www.dem.ri.gov.
West Bay Anglers to host Capt. Dave Monti at April 25 seminar
Capt. Dave Monti's presentation "Fluke Experts" will address what captains and fluke fishermen have to say about summer flounder tactics, gear and ideal fishing locations. Seminar will also feature brief exclusive video interviews with Greg Myerson (striped bass 81.4 pound record holder) and George Poveromo (author and famous TV fishing show host) on his favorite ways to catch striped bass. The West Bay Seminar is Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. at the Warwick FOP Lounge, 95 Tanner Avenue, Warwick, RI. The event is free to all West Bay Angler members and the general public. Capacity limited to 100 people on fist come, first served basis. Call 463-7532 for information
Rhody Fly Rodders meeting April 17
Ed Lambardo will present on "Fly fishing Rhode Island-fresh or saltwater" on Tuesday, April 17, 6:30 p.m. at the Riverside Sportsmen Association, East Providence, RI. Fly tying at 6:30 p.m., presentation starts at 7:30 p.m. The club's fund raising raffle of a fly rod, built by Dave Loren of East Bay Custom Rods, will be drawn.
2012 Bluefin tuna quota specification
Comments are due on proposed 2012 quota specifications for the Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery on April 16. Go to www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa!hms/breaking news.htm to view the proposed 2012 BFT quota specifications. You may submit comments (identified by ''NOAA-NMFS-2012-0048'') through April 16, 2012, by using anyone of the following methods: Submit electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov; fax Sarah McLaughlin at 978-281-9340; or mail to Sarah McLaughlin, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.
Saltwater fishing regulations now official
Black sea bass, summer flounder, and scup all have liberalized regulations for the 2012 season. In the case of summer flounder and scup, this is due to good stock status and under-harvest by the recreational fishery in 2011. The black sea bass fishery, while currently constrained at a low quota level, was also under-harvested by the recreational fishery in 2011. All of the other important recreational species are meeting their current rebuilding targets or have a stable stock status, and therefore regulations will remain at status quo for 2012. No species is being restricted from its 2011 recreational harvest regulations.
All nonexempt fishers and spearfishers must have a RI recreational saltwater license (or equivalent license or registration issued by another state or the federal government) in order to fish legally in marine waters. Fishing licenses are required, but free, for Rhode Island residents over 65 and for active military personnel stationed in the state. For all others, the fee is $7 for residents and $10 for non-residents. Visit www.saltwater.ri.gov for more information or to purchase and print a license online.
The following is a summary of the recreational saltwater fishing management programs, in effect for 2012, for all species of major interest to RI anglers:
Striped Bass - 28" minimum size, 2 fish/person daily limit, open season.
Tautog - 16" minimum size, and three split seasons: from April 15 to May 31 (3 fish/person daily limit); August 1 to October 14 (3 fish/person daily limit); and October 15 to December 15 (6 fish/person daily limit). A limit of 10 fish/vessel daily limit (superseding the per-person limits). Party and charter boats are subject to the same regulations, except they are not subject to the 10 fish/vessel limit.
Summer Flounder (Fluke) - 18.5" minimum size, 8 fish/person daily limit, May 1 to December 31 season.
Scup (Shore and Private) - 10.5" minimum size, 20 fish/person daily limit, May 1 to December 31 season. For party and charter boats, three split seasons: May 1 to August 31 (20 fish/person daily limit); September 1 to October 31 (40 fish/person/daily limit) and November 1 to December 31 (20 fish/person daily limit).
Black sea bass - 13" minimum size, 15 fish/person daily limit, June 15 to December 31.
Bluefish - no minimum size, 15 fish/person daily limit, open season.
Cod - 22" minimum size, 10 fish/person daily limit, open season.
Weakfish - 16" minimum size, 1 fish/person daily limit, open season.
Winter Flounder - 12" minimum size, 2 fish/person daily limit, and two split seasons: April 28 to May 27, and September 29 to October 28. The harvesting or possession of winter flounder is PROHIBITED in Narragansett Bay north of the lines from So. Ferry Rd. in Narragansett to Ft. Getty; Ft. Wetherill to Ft. Adams; and Sandy Pt. to High Hill Pt. as well as in Point Judith Pond.
Where's the bite
Fresh water fishing is heating up with bass being caught at many local ponds. Craig Castro of Erickson's Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, "Customers are catching bass at Gorton Pond in Warwick and Worden Pond, Wakefield." John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle in East Providence, RI said opening day (April 14) promises to be a good one with area residents gearing up to fish Willett Avenue Pond and a host of others. "Bass fishing at Echo Lake, Barrington has been good." said Littlefield.
Striped bass fishing is starting to heat up. Angler Matthew Boliver reports catching his first half dozen school bass off Middletown, RI last week and Mike Shepard caught his first school bass off Newport last week. John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle reports customer Dave Paterson catching his first bass in the 14" to 16" range using light colored plastic shad lures. Blog reports from New Jersey relate an excellent striped bass bite last week. Let's hope they are coming our way. Reports of striped bass in Greenwich Bay have been spotty but consistent. Craig Castro of Erickson's Bait & Tackle said, "Anglers are catching striped bass in Greenwich Bay with soft plastics, but they are working for them."
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license, a charter fishing license, and is a member of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council. Your fishing photos in JPEG from, stories, comments and questions are welcome…there's more than one way to catch a fish. Visit Captain Dave's No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com; his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com or e-mail him at dmontifish@verizon.