Fishing in Rhode Island

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Although it?s the smallest state in the Union, there are few places on earth with as much high-quality, fly-fishable saltwater as there is in Rhode Island. 400 miles of coastline, vast shallow-water flats, plentiful surf-fishing beaches, and the unique and ever productive salt ponds make Rhode Island a saltwater fly anglers dream come true. Add the state?s premier trout stream, the Wood River, to the mix, and you have what amounts to one of the best fishing states in all of New England.

Much of Rhode Island?s best saltwater fly fishing action happens in and around Narragansett Bay. Several rivers empty into the bay providing a series of estuaries full of baitfish, while over 30 islands in the bay create sheltered water and miles of shallow-water flats. Within this prime saltwater habitat, there are droves of striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, fluke, false albacore, and the occasional school of bluefin tuna ? all of which can be sight-fished with a fly rod. Although some anglers fish the bay in boats, many of the best spots can be fished on foot, either from the beach, the surf, from jetties, or by wading the flats. Along the state?s southwest shore is where you?ll find the famous salt ponds. These small inland tidal bays are very fertile, producing an abundance of forage that draws striped bass into the ponds to gorge themselves. One of the most anticipated times of year is the annual cinder worm hatch in the salt ponds that sends striped bass into a feeding frenzy and anglers into a hurry to get their lines in the water. Harsh winters make saltwater fly fishing in Rhode Island primarily a three-season pursuit, but during that time the action is pretty much non-stop.

While most anglers set their sights eastward to the Atlantic, Rhode Island has some incredible trout fishing that shouldn?t be overlooked. The Wood River is New England fly fishing at its finest; the stream flows through pine forests that provide shade and keep the waters cool all year long supporting healthy populations of both stocked and wild brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Peak season is generally May through September, and during this time the water levels are perfect for easy wading, but the river is always ideal for float trips in canoes or kayaks. Tributaries of the Wood River, including the Flat River, Breakheart Brook, Paris Brook, and Falls River provide additional fishing opportunities but tend to be smaller, more intimate streams with fewer stocked fish and larger populations of wild brookies. Several lakes and ponds throughout the state including Olney Pond, Silver Spring Lake, and Carolina Pond, provide additional freshwater fly fishing opportunities for trout but also warmwater species such as largemouth bass, northern pike, and bluegills.

RI Department of Fish & Wildlife
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
P: 401-222-6800

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Rhode Island Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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Guides based in Rhode Island

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Trout Unlimited
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy...

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