Angler Tom Pelto caught his first striped bass of season last week at the West Wall of the Harbor of Refugee in Narragansett. It fish was covered with sea lice indicating that it is a migrating fish, perhaps from the Chesapeake Bay area.
The Department of Environmental Management's (DEM) Division of Fish & Wildlife announced last week that the 2012 trout and general freshwater fishing season will begin at 6 a.m. on Saturday, April 14. More than 20,000 anglers are expected to turn out at dawn on opening day. Approximately 80,000 hatchery-raised brook, brown, and rainbow trout with an average individual weight of one and a half pounds are being stocked by Division staff in more than 100 ponds and streams for opening day.
"Getting out at the crack of dawn on opening day is a time-honored tradition in Rhode Island," noted DEM Director Janet Coit. "This is a great opportunity for anglers of all ages to grab their fishing poles and experience the delight of catching the first trout of the season."
To enhance the chances of children fourteen years of age and young catching a fish on Opening Day DEM has designated nine ponds for children.. In addition to the six regular ponds that are restricted, Cass Pond in Woonsocket, Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket, and Ponderosa Pond in Little Compton will be open for children-only during the first two days of the fishing season. A fishing derby for children in Woonsocket is being held at Cass Pond on Saturday, April 14. The Little Compton Grange will host a fishing derby for children on Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 at Ponderosa Pond in Little Compton. In Warwick, the Tri-City Elks Lodge will hold its annual opening day children's derby at the pond located behind the Elks Lodge at 1414 West Shore Road on Saturday, April 14.
A complete list of stocked ponds and other information of interest to anglers can be found on DEM's website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Fish and Wildlife" under "Offices and Divisions," then "Freshwater Fisheries," then "Trout Stocked Waters."
Freshwater fishing licenses
You need a freshwater fishing license to fish in Rhode Island. State Department of Environmental Management (DEM) regulations relate 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 (click on "Hunting, Fishing, Boating Licenses" from the top left of the homepage and scroll down to "Hunting Fishing Agents" at the bottom of the page. You may also purchase a license online through the DEM website.
Striped bass on the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge and in the Bay
Striped bass arrived at the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge, Narragansett and were found in Greenwich Bay last week. The fish had sea lice on them which is a sure sign that they are migratory fish from the ocean and not striped bass that have decided to stay for the winter. The water is warm, it was 52 degrees in the West Passage Saturday evening when I moved my boat from Mill Creek Marine in Allen's Harbor, North Kingstown to Anderson's Boat Yard in East Greenwich. As I pulled into East Greenwich cove my fish finder lit up with fish right at the green can at the Cove entrance.
Shore angler Tom Pelto sent me a note on his first striped bass of the season. Here's what he had to say, "I was fishing the West Wall there at the Harbor of Refuge. The fish was defiantly a fresh migrating bass, sea lice were present all over the body, and the fish was very bright and shiny. I hooked it almost immediately upon arriving at my spot. The water was the color of Bombay Sapphire gin and was very clear. I saw the fish take the lure 15 feet out which gave me a instant smile. The fish was tiny, but the first ones always are. I knew there had to be fish there. I just had look at the clues. The first was the herring showing up. I've always caught a bass within a week of the herring arriving. Second was the water temp. It's like 48 degrees right now. Anytime the water gets close to 50 degrees (which I think is the magic temp) I start looking for fish. Also the wind had been constantly blowing out of the south. I really think this gets the water moving in the right direction, and helps push the fish along. Finally I spotted bait. So there had to be something there. It's the earliest bass I've ever caught by far."
Public hearing on menhaden
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries commission (ASMFC) will hold a public hearing on menhaden Wednesday, April 4, 6 p.m. at the Coastal Institute Auditorium, URI Bay Campus, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI. The purpose of the meeting is to gather public comment on the Public Information Document (PID) for Amendment 2. For more information contact Jason McNamee, RIDEM Fisheries, at 401-423-1943.
East Bay Anglers spring fishing flea market
The East Bay Anglers will hold their Spring Fishing Flea Market this Saturday, March 31, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. the 12:00 noon inside at the Riverside Sportsman's Club, East Providence, RI. The cost to attend the flea market is $2 (children free). This is for both fresh and saltwater gear. Call Dave Fewster for information at 401.230.8201.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license and a charter fishing license. Your fishing 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 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.