R.I.’s trout fishing season has new measures in place

R.I.’s trout fishing season has new measures in place

PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management announced that Rhode Island’s lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams that allow anglers to adhere to social distancing rules are currently open to fish for trout, but the DEM adopted new measures in order to eliminate the large crowds that usually accompany the first couple of months of trout fishing season.

To reduce the number of people fishing at any given time during the COVID-19 pandemic, the DEM has implemented a system that staggers the days when licensed anglers can fish. Anglers with last names beginning A through M can only fish on even-numbered calendar days, and those with last names beginning N-Z can only fish on odd-numbered days.

“The reason we are imposing this system designed to reduce fishing activity is so we can open at all,” reported DEM director Janet Coit. “We hope that people will appreciate the opportunity to fish during this difficult time and allow us to keep trout season going by respecting the rules.”

The DEM has also imposed parking restrictions and removed porta-a-potties from fishing sites as a public health measure. Environmental police officers and DEM staff have been present at fishing locations to assist licensed anglers, answer questions, and monitor fishing spots for compliance, and the department may adjust the fishing season if necessary.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, fishing should be enjoyed as a solitary experience, with just the members of your immediate household, and not as a group activity. Anglers must follow social distancing practices and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others and in groups of no more than five.

Anglers should also not visit any fishing areas if they feel ill or exhibit symptoms of illness, and they should follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during their fishing trip. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoid surfaces that are touched often.

Visit www.dem.ri.gov/fishing for more information.