Local waterways stocked for Opening Day

Posted 4/10/24

Opening Day of the freshwater fishing season in Rhode Island is 6 a.m. Saturday, April 13. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has stocked over 60,000 brook, brown,  …

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Local waterways stocked for Opening Day


Opening Day of the freshwater fishing season in Rhode Island is 6 a.m. Saturday, April 13. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has stocked over 60,000 brook, brown,  rainbow and golden rainbow trout select areas in advance of the season.

Local waterways ready with stocked fish in the Cranston/Warwick/West Warwick area include Gorton Pond, Warwick (new this year); J.L. Curran Reservoir, Cranston; Meshaticut Pond, Cranston; Pawtuxet River (north branch), Scituate and Cranston; Pawtuxet River (south branch), Coventry and West Warwick; and Seidel’s Pond, a children’s only pond, Cranston. 

Over one hundred freshwater locations will be stocked. For a list of trout stocked waters and rules governing children’s ponds, please see trout waters and other information of interest to anglers at Designated Trout Waters | Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (

A 2024 fishing license is required for anglers 15 years of age and older. 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. Trout Stamps are not required for persons possessing trout taken from a lake or pond that shares a border with Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island, the minimum size for trout is eight inches (8”) and the daily creel or possession limit is five from April 13, 2024, through Dec. 1, 2024, and two from Dec. 1, 2024, through Feb. 28, 2025.

Getting ready to fish is easy

Freshwater fishing in Rhode Island and Massachusetts is outstanding. Both states stock waterways with a variety of trout and salmon which makes catching them easy this time of year. Freshwater fishing is a good way to start fishing as anglers of all ages can fish from the safety and comfort of a pond, lake or river shore. 

Fishing provides adventure, excitement and food if you like to clean and cook your catch (which is not necessary as many anglers practice catch & release). And it gives us an opportunity to be outdoors with family and friends and/or gain a bit of solace with the environment.

Here are three simple steps to get started.

One: fishing licenses and regulations. Freshwater fishing is regulated by the States of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. See links to licensing information below.

Two: what you need to get started. For freshwater fishing use a light to medium action rod and reel combination such as an Ugly Stick, Berkley or other rod/reel combination ($39 to $69). You will also need some hooks and bobbers that float baits in the water column and move to signal that you have a bite. If recently stocked, trout can be fished with a synthetic bait (as that is what they eat when in the hackery) like Power Bait ($4 to $6) or as the fish acclimate to the natural environment live bait such as night crawler worms or shiners can be used. Once anglers have mastered casting and retrieving, lures can be used such as spinner baits and jerk baits. 

Three: where to catch fish. Rhode Island DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife stocks over 100 ponds, rivers, brooks and lakes with a variety of trout and salmon so you might want to check waterways in your area.  Massachusetts stocks designated trout waterways with over 500,000 fish each year. Many of them are stocked two or three times a year.

For a complete list of stocked ponds, license information and a copy of the RI Freshwater Fishing Regulations and Guide visit In Massachusetts visit Freshwater Fishing |

Hats off to Ed Lombardo

Ed Lombardo, expert fly fisher, guide and instructor, was honored by Rhode Island Trout Unlimited (225) with their Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual banquet which took place Saturday at The Quonset O Club, North Kingstown. Ed was honored for his forty years of service as a fly instructor for  thousands of men, women and children.

Lombardo has worked with the Department of Environmental Manager in Rhode Iland for 33 years instructing freshwater and saltwater fly classes. Presently he works with Kimberly Sullivan, principal biologist and aquatic resource education coordinator for the DEM, delivering multiple fly fishing programs each year. They conduct both saltwater and freshwater classes, programs for children, veterans, beginners and those more experienced with fly fishing and tying. Ed has also instructed fly fishing and tying for the many area fishing clubs he is a member of.

After receiving the award, Ed said, “This was a total surprise. I did not know about the award. It is a great honor.”

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater fishing. Trout season in RI opens Saturday, April 13, however, many trout ponds are open for fishing in Massachusetts. Prior to this date. “Anglers just wanting to get tight on something have been traveling to Massachusetts to fish for trout. But here in Rhode Island anglers are starting to get excited too,” said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.

Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Anglers are gearing up for opening day. We are open this weekend and have a good supply of Power Baits which have been the hot bait for the past few years. However, I might add anglers have been hooking up with largemouth bass and Pike in area ponds this week.” 

Saltwater. Anglers continue to find holdover school striped bass in estuaries. “The Narrow River has been producing school striped bass for customers fairly consistently,” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle. 

Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle said, “We have had quite a few anglers getting ready for both tautog and stiped bass. They are getting their lead core line ready for trolling and buying a lot of soft plastic lures mimicking shad. I do not expect it to be very long before the striped bass fishing explodes due to the warm weather we are expecting next week.”  

Lombardo, said, “We fished Narrow River Monday. Caught a nice mid twenty inch fish that looked like a holdover fish. I believe once the water warms some the bite will get better. I caught it on my Hot Pink Ed’s fly. We saw now bait in the water on Monday.”

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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