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Monday, April 28, 2014

Free fishing May 3 & 4

Anglers Can Catch a Golden Rainbow Trout and Win a Prize


PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4 are free fishing days in Rhode Island. During those two days, all Rhode Islanders and visitors can fish in freshwaters without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp. The free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses.

"Free fishing weekend is a terrific incentive to get outdoors and try something new, especially after the long, cold winter we've endured this year," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Grab a fishing pole and head out to Rhode Island's lakes and ponds on the first weekend in May to catch the beautiful brook, brown and rainbow trout raised in DEM's hatcheries. A few lucky anglers will catch the gorgeous golden trout that we've stocked in fishing areas across the state for this free event."

For the fifth year, DEM fish hatcheries are offering anglers the chance to catch a coveted golden rainbow trout. Over the past several years DEM's hatchery staff have been raising and stocking a strain of rainbow trout that is golden in color. In prior years one pond was stocked and a free fishing event was held. This year the hatcheries have raised even more of these exclusive trout, and will be stocking them at four ponds throughout the state for the free fishing weekend. 

Ponds receiving the golden trout include Brickyard Pond in Barrington, Peck Pond in Burrillville, Carolina Trout Pond in Richmond, and Silver Spring Lake in North Kingstown. Instead of holding a central event this year, they will be stocking these fish in several ponds across the state so that more Rhode Islanders will have an opportunity to fish for the golden trout.

Lucky anglers who catch a golden trout during the free fishing weekend and throughout the season will be given a free golden trout pin. Take a picture of your catch and send it to Kimberly Sullivan of DEM's Aquatic Resource Education program at Kimberly.Sullivan@dem.ri.gov.

The free fishing program was established in Rhode Island about 20 years ago as an opportunity to encourage people to experience freshwater fishing as a new outdoor experience and highlight some of Rhode Island's premier freshwater fishing areas. 

Fishing provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to engage in outdoor recreation and also contributes to the economic health of the state. Residents and tourists spend over $37 million annually in Rhode Island on trip and equipment-related expenditures for freshwater fishing, according to the American Sportfish Association's 2011 report, "Sportfishing in America."

All the usual freshwater fishing regulations on size and limits apply during the two free fishing days. 

Information about stocked freshwaterssize and creel limits can be found in theFreshwater Fishing Abstract, or by calling DEM's Great Swamp Field Office at 789-0281, or the Aquatic Resource Education office 539-0037. The abstract and regulations can also be found on DEM's website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Fish and Wildlife" under "Offices and Divisions", and then choosing "Freshwater Fisheries".