Opening Day of trout season casts off at 6 a.m. Saturday, April 8

DEM stocks 100 freshwater locations with 60,000 fish, including golden rainbow trout

By: - April 7, 2023 2:52 pm

This golden rainbow trout was caught on a wooly bugger fly in Eight Rod Farm Pond in Tiverton in 2019. (Photo by Elaine Landry for Rhode Island Current)

Forget the golden ticket, it’s the golden trout that fishermen are angling for as trout season begins.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is stocking a dozen freshwater ponds with golden rainbow trout, offering up a golden trout pin as reward to anyone who catches the coveted fish and sends in a photo.

The contest comes in tandem with the start of trout season on Saturday, April 8.  

Opening Day officially starts 17 minutes before sunrise. The temperature should be around freezing at 6 a.m. when anglers can wet their lines. A northwest wind might convince many anglers to stay off the water and fish from a sheltered place on shore.

As in years past, anglers looking to hold on to their catch must have a 2023 fishing license and trout conservation stamp, according to DEM. As of April 3, the department sold just shy of 7,000 fishing licenses and trout stamps, including 691 free, permanent licenses to residents who are 65 or older, according to data obtained by Rhode Island Current. Total licenses and stamps sold this season mark a 13.3% drop compared with the 8,068 licenses and stamps sold through April 3, 2022.

That doesn’t mean DEM can’t catch up though. Cold and rainy weather can dampen initial license sales, according to Michael Healey, DEM spokesman. Healey also said sales typically spike in April as the season begins.

Trout are added to a freshwater location in Rhode Island. Over 100 bodies of freshwater have been stocked with 60,000 brook, brown, rainbow, and golden rainbow trout to get ready for Opening Day on Saturday, April 8.(Photo courtesy of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management)

DEM also reminds anglers that wearing a life jacket while paddling in Rhode Island will no longer be optional; it will be required, according to new boating safety regulations the agency announced on March 23. The new personal flotation device (PFD) regulation states that all operators and passengers of canoes, kayaks, sailboards, kiteboards, paddleboards, and any other paddle craft must always wear a United States Coast Guard (USCG)-approved PFD while underway regardless of age. DEM drafted the new rule in response to three fatal kayaking accidents in Rhode Island in 2022 in which none of the three drowning victims was wearing a life jacket.

The following freshwaters have been stocked with golden rainbow trout:

  • Barber Pond, South Kingstown
  • Carbuncle Pond, Coventry
  • Carolina Trout Pond, Richmond
  • Eight Rod Farm Pond, Tiverton
  • Meadow Brook Pond, Richmond
  • Melville Ponds, Portsmouth
  • Olney Pond, Lincoln Wood State Park, Lincoln
  • Peck Pond, Burrillville
  • Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster
  • Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown
  • Simmons Mill Pond, Little Compton
  • Tucker Pond, South Kingstown
  • Watchaug Pond, Charlestown
  • Willett Pond, East Providence

A full list of stocked waters is available on the DEM website, along with a list of season rules and regulations.

Wigwam Pond, located at Wilbur Woods in Little Compton, will not be stocked due to a deterioration of the access to the area.

To receive a golden trout pin, anglers must submit a photo of their catch by email to [email protected] by May 8.


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Nancy Lavin
Nancy Lavin

Nancy Lavin is senior reporter covering state politics, energy and environmental issues for the Rhode Island Current.