No Fluke

Ten favorite places to catch spring striped bass


The spring migration run of striped bass will soon be underway. The water temperatures off Narragansett at press time was 41 degrees. Traditionally 55 degrees is the temperature when the fish are here in abundance. 

When the striped bass arrive (generally in April or early May), here are 10 of my favorite places to fish for them. Often, I am fishing in water six to twelve feet, adjacent to deeper water, which means I am generally close to shore, up on a ledge or fishing the transition area of a channel.

Greenwich Cove, East Greenwich and Warwick, R.I.

This is the first place I ever caught a striped bass. Menhaden find their way to the cove early, and it is surrounded by vegetation, with plenty of insects to start a feeding chain reaction that ultimately leads to striped bass. This is because the bass feed on small bait fish that are feeding around the perimeter of the Cove.

I have caught bass at the end, middle and mouth of the cove near Chepiwanoxet Point in Warwick, depending on the location of bait fish in the cove.

My favorite baits are hard plastic lures (both surface and swimming) as well as soft plastics early in the season, and once they arrive, menhaden chucked or live.

The East Passage of Narragansett Bay between Popasquash Point, Bristol and Bear Point, Prudence Island

I have caught many large fish in this area, particularly trolling with tube and worm.  Many anglers fish this area with menhaden (live or chunked). I have particularly good luck fishing the pad or bank areas of the shipping channel.

The West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge, South Kingstown

This area provides shore anglers (and boat anglers) with one of the best first Rhode Island striped bass opportunities as the bass make their run past the Connecticut coastline to Rhode Island. Anglers like to use soft plastic lures at the start of the season at the West Wall.

Buttonwoods section of Greenwich Bay, Warwick, R.I.

The area from Oakland Beach to Apponaug Cove in Warwick has been a good area for early spring striped bass area. Many fish have been caught with soft plastic lures, surface poppers as well as swimming lures. Most fish have been caught up against the shore.

As spring progresses, trolling with lures or tube and worm is productive. Trolling is most productive close to shore or at the water depth breaks 100 to 200 yards off shore.

Providence River in the cities of Providence, East Providence, Barrington, Cranston and Warwick

The area from the Hurricane Barrier in Providence to Conimicut Point and south to Bristol has been a very fruitful fishing area in early spring. The most popular method is live lining menhaden, as the shipping channel in the East Passage acts as a fish highway, bringing Atlantic menhaden (a form of herring) up the Bay to spawn in our estuary rivers. And in the spring, migrating striped bass and bluefish follow them.

In fact, some of the largest striped bass caught in early spring in New England have been caught in downtown Providence.

The Hurricane Barrier down to Save the Bay on Fields Point in Providence

This is a great area to fish. Anglers have caught thousands of bass in the Fox Point and the Hurricane Barrier area. Many fish 50” and over have been caught in this area. 

The Save the Bay, Fields Point, Providence area

This is a good spot, too. Shore anglers have access to this land courtesy of Save the Bay.

The shoreline in Warwick, Cranston, just north of Conimicut point

This has been good in the spring too. Fishing the lower water along the shore to Green Island, which is usually submerged, has proven beneficial when Atlantic menhaden are in the area.

The East Providence shoreline, south to Nayatt Point and Barrington Beach

This is another good area to fish in the spring.

Hog Island, Bristol, R.I.

Fishing the depth break 200 yards off Hog Island on the west side has been good for early spring bass. I have trolled this depth break in spring and seldom get skunked.  Two areas of high ground or mounds appear on the west side of the Island.  Fishing over these areas or trolling over them produces fish, too. 

Mt. Hope Bay

Right around the corner from Hog Island, fishing right where the bay is joined by the Sakonnet River, has traditionally been a good spot to fish for spring bass.

The aim in spring is to be ready to travel to find the striped bass and be ready to deploy a number of strategies to catch fish. Live lining or chucky fresh Atlantic menhaden, soft plastic and hard plastic lures of all types, trolling lures and tube and worm, are all strategies that work in the spring.

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater fishing.  Trout season in Rhode Island opens Saturday, April 13. Opening Day, however, many trout ponds are open for fishing in Massachusetts.  Ian Lumsden of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay, said, “The largemouth bass bite has been good, with one customer catching a 5.5-pound fish this week. And the trout fishing in stocked ponds has been outstanding. Long Pond, Plymouth, Mass., and Peters Pond, Mashpee, Mass., are producing trout for customers.”

Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “Anglers are catching largemouth and salmon and in the Pawcatuck. Where we have brackish water, anglers are catching cat fish, which they have done this time of year in the past.”

For freshwater fishing information and licenses in Massachusetts, visit Freshwater Fishing |; and in Rhode Island


Anglers continue to find holdover school striped bass in estuaries. “We have a few customers that are targeting winter flounder and doing well, but as far as migrating striped bass the water is still cold,” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters. “Fishing for holdover stripers in our estuaries had been very good with the warm weather we have been having, and the Tautog season opens April 1, with anglers hoping for a good spring season,” said Ian Lumsden of Red Top Sporting Goods.

Dave Monti holds a master captain’s 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. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

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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.