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Top Places for Bass Fishing in Rhode Island

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Rhode Island
Photo By Ron Sinfelt

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.

Duo Realis Crankbait M65-8A

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 8 feet

A highly detailed crankbait, the M65 confronts bass with a realistic baitfish appearance plus sound generated by a metal plate and steel ball. Available in two models and a variety of colors, this crankbait is effective in both stained and clear water.

Price: $12.99

Sebile Action First Bull Crank

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 4-7 feet

Patrick Sebile's Bull Crank is an excellent lure, especially at that low price point of $6.95. The Xternal weight system helps to keep a low center of gravity, dig deep, and stay on track, reducing the need to tune. It features a wide body to increase visual presence.

Price: $6.95

Storm Arashi Silent Square Bill

Length: 2 1/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3 feet

The Square Bill's self-tuning line tie lets you burn it and still have it track straight. The circuit board lip provides strong vibration up the line and helps the lure deflect well in cover, especially downed trees.

Price: $8.99

Gary Yamamoto Chikara

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 2-4 feet

This popularly-priced, rattle-equipped crankbait is designed to be worked through heavy cover and still get the job done. The Chikara features internal 3D holographic foiling that provides flash and cannot be chipped. The lure's value is enhanced by Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks.

Price: $7.99

Strike King KVD-1-5-Flat Side

Length: 2 ΒΌ inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 8-10 feet

This flat-side crankbait has a good thumping action and a tight wobble, and that means it's a great crankbait for cooler months or highly pressured lakes. Adding some weight to the hooks helps to cast the relatively light Flat Side on baitcasting gear, especially in windy situations.

Price: $5.79

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 5/16 ounce
Depth: 6-8 feet

On a medium or slow retrieve, the Rap Crank is amazing: it tracks straight, then pops laterally and juts back onto the original track, ready for the waiting strike.

Price: $8.99

Spro Baby Fat John 50

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 0-2 feet
Spro Baby Fat John 50

This smaller version of the established Fat John effectively imitates smaller forage, and works on spotted and smallmouth bass as well as largemouth. It runs shallow at any speed, and its fiberglass lip makes it kick out and 'hunt ' frequently before returning to true.

Price: $12.03

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 5 feet

It's a good-looking lure, and fine quality for a hard-to-beat price. The XPS rattle is subdued, which is nice for spooky bass. The oval split on the line tie helps it run straight and avoid line slipping between rings.

Price: $4.29

Megabass Knuckle Jr

Length: 2.2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 1-3 feet

You'll be a megafan of Megabass lures because of their innovation and uncanny attention to detail. The Knuckle Jr.'s two-position adjustable bill really gives you two lures in one, making it easier to swallow the premium price.

Price: $4.29

Livetarget Bait Ball Square Bill

Length: 2 3/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3-4 feet

The Bait Ball is a crankbait with realistic 3D baitfish bodies inside the main body. The smaller lures inside cleverly mimic a school of shad. This crankbait casts very well and has a tighter wobble than most square bills, making it a perfect crank for clear water.

Price: $14.99

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.

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