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Opening day traditions

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Opening Day 2018 was a big hit in Rhode Island Saturday as 40,000 anglers fished for over 80,0000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout that were stocked in Rhode Island waterways. Opening Day of trout season is filled with traditions. Here are a few that were shared with me Saturday.

Autumn Mitchell of Cranston said, “We have been camping overnight and fishing opening day at Silver Spring Lake in South County for a few years now. In fact, you are part of our tradition… we have photos you took of us years ago mounted at home.” Bill Enright held up a string of eight lively trout, “There are six of us here today. Warm weather, larger fish and this year the tiger trout all made for a great day.” A tiger trout is a cross between a brown and brook trout, its wavy lines look tiger-like, and it is known to give anglers a good fight.

Bill Whalen and Yolanda Rios of Warwick were fishing with their sons Brendon (9) and Jowell (7). “Our kids love to fish, we just got here but our boys like to fish and opening day gives them an early start,” said Yolanda.

I stopped by Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown at about 9 a.m. There were twenty people in the shop. Neil Hayes said, “Business has been brisk, many customers are buying freshwater licenses and trout stamps.”

Brothers Brian Duckworth of Shapleigh, Maine and Mark Duckworth of South Kingstown said they decided to go fishing on a whim and were buying licenses to fish. Brian said, “I called him up and said I was driving down to go fishing on opening day. We bought licenses and now are heading to Home Depot to buy a grill so we can cook some burgers while we fish.” Later in the day Brian sent me a photo of a large trout he had caught.

Brian Butler was fishing at Willett Avenue Pond, Riverside, with his grandson Adam and friend Mike Mott. Butler said, “We have been fishing at Willet Avenue Pond on Opening Day since Adam was born. We have a bucket full of large fish. I have to hand it to DEM. They did an outstanding job stocking this year. The fish are 18 to 22 inches, in years past they ranged from 10 to 14 inches.”

Just as I was finishing up chatting with Butler, the gentleman next to him, Steve Gomes of East Providence, hooked and landed a good sized rainbow trout. A second fish followed shortly after.

So overall, it was a great Opening Day, with high scores given to the Department of Environmental Management for a great job stocking waterways and managing the day seamlessly so Opening Day traditions can continue for all of us.

For information on licenses or a list of waterways that have been stocked visit www.dem.ri.gov.

101 Saltwater Fishing Clinics

The Saltwater Edge, a gear and tackle shop in Middletown with a big online presence, is holding surfcasting and fly fishing clinics on April 28 and 29 and May 6.

The free 50-minute clinics are for beginners of all ages and provide students with the skills required to fish and answers most common questions that beginners have. Tackle will be provided, however, participants are encouraged to bring their own gear and tackle.

101 Surfcasting will be offered: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28; 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 29; and 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 6. Topics will include matching the tackle to your fishing environment, spin casting basics, lure selection, knots you need to know, and wading safety.

101 Fly Fishing will be offered: 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 28; 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 29; and 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 6. Topics will include fly casting basics, baitfish and selection, knots you need to know, and wading safety.

Class size is limited, so register in advance at 401/842-0062.

Candidates sought for Fisheries Council

Governor Raimondo and Director Janet Coit of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management are seeking candidates for one seat on the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC). Anyone with skill, knowledge, and experience in the commercial fishing industry is welcome to apply.

The RIMFC is composed of eight individuals and the DEM Director or her designee. The Council serves in an advisory capacity to the Director, providing recommendations on proposed marine fisheries regulatory issues and other matters pertaining to marine fisheries management in Rhode Island. Council members are chosen from those with skill, knowledge, and experience in the commercial fishing industry, the sport fishing industry, and in the conservation and management of fisheries resources. Members are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Rhode Island Senate. Members are appointed to four-year terms, are expected to attend about eight meetings per year, and serve without compensation.

There is a pending vacancy on the Council, pertaining to a seat held by a representative of the commercial fishing industry. The deadline for submittals is Friday, May 11.

Anyone interested in becoming a candidate for this Council seat is invited to submit a letter of interest and resume to: Robert Ballou, Assistant to the Director, DEM, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908; Robert.Ballou@dem.ri.gov 401/222-4700, x4420.

Where’s the bite

Freshwater fishing for trout is on at over 100 waterways stocked by DEM, the bite should be good for the next week or two. For freshwater and trout regulations along with a list of stocked waterways visit www.dem.ri/gov in Rhode Island, for Massachusetts waterways visit www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-fisheries-and-wildlife. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “The trout bite was good both Saturday and Sunday. Customer Paul Esposito caught a golden trout at Olney Pond, Lincoln Woods that weighed in at almost six pounds.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Nearly 100 people were at Willet Avenue Pond in East Providence when the season opened at sunrise last Saturday. All seem to do pretty good with many catching their legal limit of five trout.”

Saltwater fishing is still slow. Reports of some anglers tautog fishing with poor results; the striped bass bite has not yet arrived in force. Water temperature is cold, at press time the water surface temperature at Narragansett Pier was 43 degrees. The cod bite is not good either. Vessels could not fish most of the week due to bad weather.

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 dmontifish@verizon.net or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.

Dave Monti

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.