No fish overstocking will make for trickier catch at Hope Pond

No fish overstocking will make for trickier catch at Hope Pond

Hope Pond will not be “overstocked” this year to assist youths catching fish in the annual recreation fishing derby but is still open for fishing. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SCITUATE – Recreational fishing will return to Hope Pond this year, but catching a fish will be a little more difficult without the “overstocking” that typically occurs for the youth fishing derby, according to Recreation Director David Pannone.

Pannone told members of the Town Council last Thursday, April 8, that there was confusion in town whether Hope Pond would be open for fishing after he sent out an email blast notifying residents that the pond would not be stocked.

While there will be fish in the pond, Pannone said the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will not “overstock” the pond to assist youths in fishing during the summer recreation program and the youth fishing derby as in past years.

“It was special stocking for the little people at Hope Beach, a part of the Hope Associates, on the beachfront where we run our recreation program,” he explained.

Pannone said Hope Pond Beach was specifically stocked in the past for the children in the program after he reached out to the RIDEM. He said the fishing derby previously took place at Dexter Pond, and moved only for a change of scenery.

This year, he said, he’s concerned with COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing and is not sure how many children plan on attending the program yet.

The RIDEM will continue to stock the remaining Scituate fishing locations, including the Pawtuxet River and waterfall in Hope. Since Hope Pond is off the Pawtuxet River, Pannone said the pond will continue to be stocked with fish via the river stocking program, just not “overstocked.”

Councilman Michael Marcello summarized the situation as people can still fish, but it will be a little more difficult to catch one at Hope Pond now.

“Good luck,” he said.

The RIDEM is stocking only trout in larger bodies of water this year to allow fishers to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Stocking began in February, and smaller bodies, including children-only fishing ponds, are not being stocked.

In Scituate, Dexter Pond on Route 6 and the north and south branch of the Pawtuxet River are stocked this year.

All sights will have signage requesting people remain 6 feet apart, or the length of a typical fishing pole.

Also, the RIDEM increased monitoring at the 28 most popular fishing locations, and will disperse fishers if social distancing is ignored.

Restrictions placed in 2020 that prohibited fishing on certain days have been lifted for the 2021 fishing season.

The 2021 fishing season opened early this year, on April 7, to prevent the large crowds that usually occur on Opening Day. According to the RIDEM website, free fishing days, where anglers do not need a license, will be held on weekends in May this year.

For more information from the RIDEM on stocked bodies of water, visit www.dem.ri.gov/fishing .