Get ready…opening day is Saturday, April 8
Opening day of the freshwater fishing and trout season is Saturday, April 8. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) plans to stock 80,000 trout into 100 Rhode Island waterways. New this year, Carbuncle Pond in Coventry will be stocked with brown and rainbow trout.
Lake Tiogue in Coventry will not be stocked this year due to low water issues, and St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth will not be stocked. Beginning next fall and into the future, large brown trout will be stocked at Carbuncle Pond in Coventry with the goal of developing this location into a brown trout angling destination.
On Saturday, April 8, a children’s fishing derby will be held at Pondarosa Park Pond in Little Compton. And on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and 9, fishing in Cass Pond in Woonsocket, Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket, and Ponderosa Park Pond in Little Compton will be reserved for children 14 and under.
A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area. The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 8 through November 30, and two from December 1, through February 28, 2018.
Visit dem.ri.gov for licensing information, a list of waterways that will be stocked and regulations.
Saltwater fishing from shore
The more I learn about fishing, the more I realize that to be successful at it, you need to do your homework. Last week I was taught how to do my homework to be a successful shore fisherman by two local experts…Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown, and Capt. Chris Aubut of Aubut Rod Company. Peter is also the Lead Instructor at the Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing School and an avid surfcaster and fly rod fisherman as the situation dictates.
“What we look for from shore are edges. What I mean by edges is the change between high and low water, shadow lines of docks (and bridges) at night, edges of sand bars and banks, and edges of moving and standing water,” said Peter Jenkins at the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, meeting to a group of about 180 anglers at the West Warwick Elks Lodge.
Most gamefish, like striped bass for example, set themselves up on edges or near edges to ambush and take advantage of prey (bait) that may be feeding or may be getting tossed or pushed along by moving water, current and tide.
“You can learn a lot from the birds… like what type of bait might be in the water that the fish are feeding on. If they are seagulls they can eat large bait, like herring and Atlantic menhaden. If small birds are on bait, such as terns, you know they are after smaller bait — possibly bay anchovies. Knowing what bait is in the water helps you target fish with the correct lure," said Jenkins.
Another key tip is to remember that hard structure such as cliffs, rock formations and boulder fields hold bait such as cunner (choggies), blackfish (tautog) and scup in the structure at both high and low tides. So these areas can be fished anytime.
One last tip suggested by Jenkins and Aubut is check out the location you plan to fish during a moon low tide so you can see the contour — where the edges, pools and sand bars are located. “I surf and fish from shore but I got a whole different perspective of what was really under the water where I fish by putting a mask, snorkel and fins on and taking a dip to see what the bottom was like where I fish. I quickly learned why this particular stop usually held fish. The bottom was loaded with an active mussel bed that smaller fish and striped bass would feed on,” said Capt. Aubut.
Visit saltwateredge.com and aubutrods.com for additional information and fishing tips.
Cinder worm seminar
Capt. Ray Stachelek will be conducting a seminar titled “Secrets of the Cinder Worm Swarm,” how it happens, when, and why on Saturday, April 22 at noon, at Fin & Feather Outfitters, North Kingstown.
Capt. Stachelek said, “Each spring tens of thousands of cinder worms leave their safe haven bottom tunnels and swim toward the surface in search of a mate. Remember, propagation comes with some risks. Stripers by the dozens wait in ambush for a tasty meal as they approach the surface. Learn the salt pond secrets of their habit, travel, and the best time to fish the worm swarm. This presentation will improve your catch rate, fly selection, and the proper methods and locations to find fish.” For information call Fin & Feather at 401/316-6924. The seminar is open to the public and there is not fee.
Summer flounder request denied
It looks like our summer flounder (fluke) season will now start as it did last year at the beginning of May and run through December 31 with a 19” minimum size fish, four fish/person/day. This still needs to be approved and enacted into law/regulation by Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management.
Last week Rhode Island’s request to enhance the bag limit by two fish and reduce the season length was denied by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
The Rhode Island and Massachusetts proposals on alternative summer flounder recreational management measures for 2017 had support from the commission’s Technical Committee as they found no technical issues with the data or methodology used to develop the alternative measures… all was consistent with that used to develop measures approved in recent summer flounder Addendum XXVIII.
Reasons cited for the denied motions included “concerns that the proposed alternative measures may undermine measures designed to constrain coastwide harvest to the 2017 recreational harvest limit.”
As reported previously, many private recreational anglers and character captains in Rhode Island believe additional fish where needed to give to other states like New York and New Jersey as they regularly overfish their harvest limits.
Where’s the bite
Freshwater fishing is heating up with more anglers starting to fish as the weather warms. John Migliori caught his first freshwater fish of the season… two pickerel, one after another at Big Pond on Aquidneck Island using a Shadycreek lure. Opening Day of freshwater (trout) season is this Saturday, April 8. Craig Mancini of Continental Bait & Tackle, Cranston said, “We are ready for opening day. Weather permitting anglers have been fishing for largemouth bass as close to home as Roger Williams Park and they have been doing pretty good. Everyone is waiting for the Saturday when the trout season opens.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait and tackle, Riverside said, “Willet Avenue is the place to fish in Riverside. It will be packed at 6 a.m. on Saturday but later in the day things will thin out as anglers catch their limit. I have some customers who fish the Wood River and if they do not do well there they will come back and hit Willet Avenue Pond on their way home.”
Cod fishing party boats had difficulty making it out last week due to bad weather. When they made it our fishing was off but there was a good amount of bait in the water. Capt. Frank Blunt of the Frances Fleet said, “The good news about the one trip we took last week was that a tremendous amount of bait was marked on the grounds.”
Striped bass fishing for holdover fish in the Providence River was fair this week. Littlefield said, “One of my customers fished with a Slug-Go in the River last week and had just one bump.”
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at noflukefishing.com.