Rhode Island Fishing Tournament Permit Requirements

In Rhode Island, permits are mandated for conducting organized fishing tournaments in state fishing and boating access areas, as well as in specified private access locations such as Johnson’s Pond (Flat River Reservoir) in Coventry, and Waterman Reservoir in Glocester. This regulation is applicable for gatherings of six (6) or more persons and/or three (3) or more boats. Here are the detailed requirements and procedures for obtaining a fishing tournament permit:

Application Process

  • Timing: Applications must be submitted to the Division of Fish and Wildlife at least three (3) weeks before the scheduled tournament date.
  • Cancellation Policy: Organizations can cancel a permitted event without penalty if written notice is provided at least three weeks prior to the event. Failure to notify within this timeframe results in a one-year ban on obtaining permits for future events, barring unforeseen circumstances like adverse weather or natural disasters.
  • Application Acquisition: Permit applications are available through the RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife, located at 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston, RI 02892, or by contacting them at (401) 789-7481.

Tournament Classification

  • Closed Activity: Events with a fixed number of participants must list the number of boats, vehicles, and participants on the application. The permit and participant details must be readily available on-site during the tournament.
  • Open Activity: For tournaments with an unrestricted number of participants, participant names and boat registration numbers must be accessible to the RIDEM Division of Law Enforcement on the tournament day. An estimated count of participants, vehicles, and boats should be sent to the Division five days before the event.

Post-Tournament Reporting

  • Organizations are required to submit a detailed report within five days post-tournament, outlining hours fished, number of boats and participants, and specifics on largemouth and smallmouth bass caught, including total weight. This report can be sent via letter or by completing the Bass Tournament Count Form. Failure to comply results in a one-year prohibition from hosting organized fishing events.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Permits for Municipal/Private Ramps: Obtaining additional permits for these locations is the applicant's responsibility, if necessary.
  • Compliance with Regulations: These permit requirements do not override any special regulations for boat ramps or state management areas.
  • Availability of Permits: During the tournament, permits and participant lists must be available for law enforcement purposes and displayed in the windshield of the contact’s vehicle.

For further information or clarification on permit requirements, interested parties can reach out to Alan Libby via email at or by phone at 401-789-0281.

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