Although fishing has been considered a “consumptive” sport since the earliest days of fisheries management, New England’s bass anglers can give themselves a hearty pat on the back for their contribution to the management of black bass throughout the region. Once considered a mecca for trout anglers, the Northeast is now a premier destination for largemouth and smallmouth anglers, and no matter how many anglers participate, the fishing simply gets better. Here’s what to expect for bass fishing in Rhode Island.
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One reason, of course, is that the majority of fishermen release nearly every bass they catch, tossing the smaller ones back to “grow up” and letting the big ones go after a quick photo session. When you use a resource but don’t abuse it, the results are predictable: Plenty of big bass to go around and more on the way.
With all this in mind, here’s a look at bass management strategies in New England and where avid bass anglers can find the best fishing in their state:
Like most New England states, Rhode Island’s bass management plan is simple and direct: No closed season with a five-fish daily bag limit and a 12-inch minimum size restriction.
The state’s bass population is monitored using random pond surveys, and the Department of Environmental Management recently began an initiative to improve the largemouth bass fishery with the stocking of 5,000 largemouth bass into five ponds.
Otherwise the fish are left to their own devices — and are doing quite well. Because most bass anglers release their catch, the fishery is healthy and robust, providing excellent action for fishermen year-round, including some great winter fishing on designated lakes and ponds.
Some of the top-rated bass waters in Rhode Island include Indian Lake, Wallum Pond, Watchaug Pond, Johnsons Pond and Wilson Reservoir. For additional information on Rhode Island’s bass angling opportunities, you can check out the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management web site, located at www.dem.ri.gov.