Last Friday, Governor Gina Raimondo and Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), kicked off Bay Day at the new Goddard Park Boat Ramp in Warwick. The ramp has a new deeper water launch point, as well as a large fully-accessible floating dock for boarding and loading vessels.
Earlier in the spring, I had the opportunity to fish Greenwich Cove and fish the boat ramp area (as well as the dock itself) for school striped bass. The ramp is superb and there is ample parking for vehicles with trailers in a newly paved and lined parking lot.
Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers, attended the kick-off along with DEM boat ramp partners Johnathan Stone, executive director of Save the Bay, and John Torgan, executive director of the Nature Conservancy. Funds for the boat ramp were provided by partners with DEM’s share paid for in part by the state or Rhode Island saltwater license fund and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (the state received three dollars for every dollar it contributed to the project). The project, which involved creation of a living shoreline in the adjacent saltmarsh, will help improve the health of the Bay and strengthen climate resilience.
Medeiros said, “It is great to see our saltwater license money spent this way. We helped craft the license legislation when first developed and it is paying off with funding for access and fishing projects like the Goddard Park boat ramp. It is very gratifying to have played a role as public access to the water, and fishing is a key issue for fishermen in Rhode Island.”
In an event advisory, DEM said, “Fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism and supporting a treasured tradition for Rhode Island families. There are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16) in Rhode Island. And recreational fishing contributes $216 million to the economy each year and supports more than 3,500 jobs.”
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov.
Where’s the bite?
Freshwater fishing for trout has slowed as the water has warmed and stocked ponds have been fished out. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, said, “Customers are fishing for bass with shiners with some being caught along with a nice pike on the Blackstone River at the old Lonsdale Drive Inn location in Lincoln. Most freshwater fishermen are using shiners for largemouth bass. One customer fished the Turner Reservoir (Rumford, RI) and hooked up with some fish there.”
Striped bass fishing picked up just a bit in the Bay with reports of some small keepers in the 30-inch range being caught. John Littlefield said, “This week we had more schools of pogies (Atlantic menhaden) presenting themselves in the upper Bay with two keepers, a 30- and 31-inch fish being taken at Pomham Light House.”
“One customer caught a 30-inch striped bass at Popasquash Point, casting SP Minnows,” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait. School bass are still around Newport in the Bay, near the bridge and off Brenton Reef, with anglers using a variety of surface and swimming lures to catch them.
Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle (formerly Cardinal Bait), Westerly, said “Large bass are being caught off the Watch Hill reefs with anglers live lining scup and eels as bait. The bite from the breech ways last week was restricted to school bass.” Angler Eric Appolonia of North Kingstown said, “The bite at the Southwest Ledge off Block Island has been good during the night and day on an incoming tide. My son Alex and his friend boated two nice fish in the 30-pound range earlier this week.” “The striped bass bite on the southwest side of Block Island is still very good with anglers catching fish with umbrella rigs as well as eels. We had some 50-pound fish caught last week,” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown.
I fished the southwest ledge area after the storm on Monday and found the bite off just a couple of hours before high tide.
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing has been good at the Jamestown and Newport Bridges,” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick. I fished the Newport Bridge area twice this past week and managed a few nice keeper fluke to 23 inches and several nice-sized black sea bass to 19 inches.
“Fluke fishing has slowed a bit along the southern coastal shore with a good bite still occurring south of Fishers Island (New York),” said Mike Cardinal. Fluke fishing around Block Island at Clay Head and the North Rip area has been good, as well as at the East Fishing Grounds and the South side in 80 feet of water. As usual with fluke fishing, on any given day you have to fish a few places until you find the fish. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor said, “The bite at the East Fishing Grounds and in the wind farm area has been good with the bite slowing a bit at Clay Head. The bite is still on a bit along the southern coastal shore in about 60 feet of water.” The fluke bite at Clay Head and the East Fishing Grounds Monday was very soft when I fished there, plenty of black sea bass. Perhaps the previous day’s storm gave them lockjaw.
Black sea bass
bite has been good at the Newport Bridge with anglers catching them in the Bay, off the coastal shore and at Block Island when they are fluke fishing.
fishing has been very good with anglers catching 10 to 15 nice fish each at Colt State Park and off the bike path bridge,” said John Littlefield. Scup are just about everywhere where there is structure and water movement. Mike Cardinal said, “The scup bite is very good off the breech ways.”
“With the bad weather this weekend, customers have been doing a lot of scup fishing with a good bite at the Mt. Hope Bridge,” said Macedo of Lucky Bait.
We caught several nice scup fluke fishing under the Newport Bridge this past weekend.
Bluefish have been heavy at Block Island with anglers catching them when fishing for striped bass. Snapper blue fishing in the bays, coves and harbors improved last week.
Offshore fishing. “We had two customers come in with blue fin tuna late Friday. One fish was about 33 inches and the second, which had already been gutted, weighed 104 pounds. So anglers are catching some nice fish trolling for them, casting to them and even jigging seems to be working. The bite was concentrated in two spots. South of Tuna Ridge to the Northwest corner of the Dump, as well as the Claw area. Customers are also still catching Mako sharks, if you want one and work for it, you will likely hook up,” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.