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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Mangement

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Fishing

Freshwater fishing in Rhode Island is a year-round activity that offers opportunities to catch a variety of species including largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, northern pike (our largest freshwater game fish), or a variety of warm-water species and pan fish such as black crappie, yellow perch, sunfish, and pickerel. The excitement of fishing for trout on Opening Day and throughout the season, including fall trout fishing and winter ice fishing, ensures a terrific family activity for people of all ages.

Annual freshwater fishing licenses are valid from the second Saturday in April through February 28 (in trout-stocked waters). Youth under age 15 fish for free. A Trout Conservation Stamp is also required of anyone wishing to keep or possess a trout, salmon, or charr caught in Rhode Island or to fish in a catch-and-release or "fly-fishing only" area. DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife’s hatchery program works year-round to provide quality fishing experiences throughout the year to anglers of all ages. They stock over 100 fishing areas with brook, rainbow, golden rainbow, brown, and tiger trout several times a year. Experience the thrill of reeling in the first trout of the season, buy a fishing license today!

For those who would like to try the sport, we encourage you to participate during Free Fishing Weekend in May, when you can fish without the purchase of a fishing license or trout stamp. Throughout the year, new or experienced anglers also may participate in one of our Aquatic Resource Education programs to hone their fishing skills or learn new ones like spin-casting or fly-fishing with our friendly and experienced instructors. Check our calendar for upcoming clinics and special events.

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Hunting

Hunting has a long tradition in Rhode Island, supporting family customs, connecting people with nature, and attracting tourism to the state. Most hunters hunt to provide food for their families, while also enjoying time spent with family and friends in the outdoors.

Rhode Island is home to a myriad of natural habitats. From coastal shrublands to forestland to grasslands that sway in the breeze, opportunities for hunting and trapping abound. Revenue generated from license and permit sales supports Rhode Island fish and wildlife conservation programs. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island.

Investing in land and wildlife conservation remains an important focus of the DEM. We’ve protected over 800 acres in the last eight years to enhance opportunities for hunting and trapping, bringing the total purchased to date to more than 16,000 acres. This adds significantly to the 55,000 acres already managed by our Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Throughout the year, DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife offers a host of educational workshops for novice and experienced hunters; among the offerings are programs on deer processing, firearms familiarization, tree stand safety, wilderness first aid, wild game cooking, land navigation, and mentored hunts. Check our calendar for upcoming clinics and special events.

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Saltwater Fishing

The Ocean State offers some of the best saltwater recreational fishing anywhere and is well known for the wealth of seafood harvested year-round. Whether you fish the waters of Narragansett Bay or the coastal waters stretching from the south shore out to Block Island and beyond, anglers in Rhode Island have many fantastic opportunities to enjoy the diversity and abundance of our local catch, from striped bass fishing to digging quahogs, and everything in between. Little is more thrilling than casting a line and reeling in that first fish. But ultimately, whether you fish for fun or food, the common denominator is that you are part of a time-honored tradition made possible by Rhode Island’s amazing marine life.

Getting people to and on the water is a core part of our mission at DEM. Our Division of Marine Fisheries carries out a range of programs and activities supporting the interests of recreational fishermen. We monitor and conserve our local fish stocks. We work closely with recreational fishing organizations on initiatives. And we continue to engage in outreach and education programs. Learn more about our work at www.dem.ri.gov/marine.

To fish recreationally in Rhode Island marine waters, and in offshore federal waters, anglers and spearfishers must have a RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License, OR a Federal Registration, OR a license from a reciprocal state. A Party/Charter license is needed for for-hire captains, but passengers on party and charter trips do not require a recreational fishing license. Rhode Island residents can take a resident shellfish limit recreationally without a license. Non-resident property owners and other non-residents must possess a recreational shellfish license.