Now is the time to go trout fishing on your own or with family and friends. Trout season is open and with freshly stocked waterways in Rhode Island and Massachusetts it is fairly easy to catch a fish.
What’s not to like? Being outdoors in fresh, clean air with the anticipation and excitement of catching a fish can truly be a ton of fun for both children and adults. And, fishing can take place from the safety of shore.
How to get started
It does not have to cost a lot to gear-up for trout fishing in April. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, said, “We have light tackle trout rod and reel combinations ranging from $16 to $30. You can use them for trout and later in the year to catch snapper blues (baby bluefish) in coves and harbors.” The price range on starter rods and reels for adults can vary and rigs may have the ability to be used for light tackle fishing in saltwater too. “Starter rigs range from $25 to $60 with middle of the road gear are priced at about $40 for a combination,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “If you have a rod and reel already all you need is $4 worth of bait and you are off fishing.” Ferrara sells treble hook rigs and sinkers for about $2.00.
States stock ponds with hatchery raised trout that have been eating manufactured food so the bait of choice in most of April is a prepared or formulated bait like Power Bait by Berkeley. As the trout acclimate to the wild (two to three weeks) they begin to start foraging naturally so meal worms, other natural baits and lures work best then.
Manny Macedo said, “Many are fishing with just a hook and split shot (very small piece of lead that attaches to your line) to get the line down a bit and then tipping the hook with a formulated bait. Berkeley Power Baits working well include Chunky Cheese and Hatchery Formulated baits”. Both soft baits, hooks and lures can be purchased at your local bait shops along with some free advice on where to fish and what fish are biting.
Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “I would suggest starting out with a variety of trout baits. Some days they like pink and other days yellow Power Baits. But you might want to take some trout worms or meal worms too. I always like to take a couple of lures, like a small Kastmaster. So you can teach the kids how to cast and retrieve. And they work great for trout too.”
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) Division of Fish & Wildlife stocks about 100 waterways with hatchery raised brown, rainbow, golden rainbow, and brook trout. This year 4,000 Sebago salmon have been stocked statewide. And once again hatchery-raised golden rainbow trout, a color variation of rainbow trout, will provide added excitement. Anglers catching a golden trout until April 20 will receive a free golden trout pin. Tale a picture of your catch and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries/troutwaters.php for a complete list of trout stocked ponds in RI. There are ponds for children fourteen years old and younger, for fly fishing only, etc.
The trout season runs year-round in some Massachusetts waterways, however, most ponds, lakes, smaller rivers and brooks have seasons that generally opened April 1. For information on freshwater fishing in Massachusetts with links to fishing regulations and a list of trout stocked ponds visit www.mass.gov/freshwater-fishing-information.
In Rhode Island and Massachusetts if you are 15 or older, you need a fishing license before casting your line.
In Massachusetts fees vary depending on your age, whether you are a state resident and whether you have a disability. All fishing licenses expire at the end of the calendar year. For complete Massachusetts license information, and how to apply online visit https://www.mass.gov/how-to/buy-your-freshwater-fishing-license.
In Rhode Island a Trout Conservation Stamp is also required of anyone wishing to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area. Fishing licenses and the Trout Conservation Stamp ($5.50) can be obtained at authorized agents such as bait and tackle shops. Licenses may also be purchased online or obtained at DEM’s Boat Registration and Licensing Office located at 235 Promenade Street in Providence.
License fees remain at $18 for Rhode Island residents, $35 for non-residents, and $16 for a tourist three-consecutive-day license. Anglers over 65 must have a license, which for them is free, but do not need a trout stamp.
Where’s the bite
Freshwater trout season is open in MA and RI. “The stocking has been great in both states,” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren. “The trout bite at Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside; Stafford Pond, Tiverton; and Melville Pond, Portsmouth has been excellent. We have reports of some three pound trout being caught too.”
“Ponds that have been stocked are producing for anglers. Customers have had great luck at Only Pond, Lincoln; Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown; and one customer caught trout and a small spotted salmon at Wood River,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.
Tautog season opened April 1 to May 31 with a minimum size of 16”. The limit in MA and RI is three fish/person/day. Regulations change June 1 with the season closed in RI during the tautog spawning season and reopening again on August 1. In MA the season does not close, but the bag limit drops to one fish/person/day. Check tautog regulations for late summer/fall catch limits. Many Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “Not many fish being taken by anglers yet but that could open up this week. Reports of spear fishers doing pretty good and I head of one 19” fish being taken on rod & reel.”
Striped bass fishing is starting. “Anglers are catching fish at the West Wall and are catching hold over fish in the Narrow, Providence and Pawtucket Rivers. One customer landed a 42” striped bass off Jamestown when casting for school bass. You never know.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. “One other positive sign — Warwick Pond was jumping with herring this weekend.” The herring find their way to the pond from Buckeye Brook and Old Mill Creek on Narragansett Bay just south of Connecticut Point. Herring along with Atlantic menhaden and are great forage fish for striped bass. So with all this food here the striped bass fishing will pick up soon.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. He often writes about the associations he belongs to and the clients he represents. Forward fishing news and photos to email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.