Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing Restrictions: Areas and Age Limits

Rhode Island offers specific freshwater areas with designated fishing restrictions to enhance the fishing experience for certain groups and promote conservation. Here's a detailed overview of these restrictions:

Fly Fishing Only Areas

Certain waters are reserved exclusively for fly fishing, where anglers are required to use artificial flies, a conventional fly rod, and a single action reel. This restriction is aimed at preserving the natural fish population and ensuring a traditional fishing experience. The designated fly fishing only areas are:

  • Deep Pond in Arcadia, Exeter
  • A.L. Mowry Pond in Smithfield
  • Upper Rochambeau Pond in Lincoln

Children Only Fishing Areas

To encourage young anglers and provide them with a safe and manageable fishing environment, Rhode Island has designated specific waters where only children fourteen (14) years of age or younger may fish. This initiative not only fosters a love for fishing among the youth but also ensures they have ample opportunities to practice and succeed in a less competitive setting. The designated children-only fishing areas include:

  • Frosty Hollow Pond in Exeter
  • Lapham Pond in Burrillville
  • Scott Evans Memorial Pond (Biscuit City) in South Kingstown
  • Seidel’s Pond in Cranston
  • Silvy’s Pond in Cumberland
  • Lloyd Keeney Pond in Hopkinton (from the 2nd Saturday in April through Memorial Day only)

Rhode Island Diadromous Fish Protection Regulations

Rhode Island has implemented specific regulations to protect diadromous fish species—those that travel between fresh and salt waters as part of their life cycles. These measures are crucial for the conservation of vital fish populations and the maintenance of ecological balance. Here’s a summary of the key regulations:

Alewives and Blueback Herring

  • Catching Prohibited: It is illegal to catch, land, or possess alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) or blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) in any freshwater or marine waters of the state. Possession of these species is considered proof of illegal capture.

Stream Conservation

  • Obstruction to Fish Passage: Creating artificial barriers or altering stream bottoms to impede fish movement is strictly forbidden, ensuring the free passage of fish across different habitats.

American Shad

  • Catch Restriction: The taking of American shad (Alosa sapidissima) from the state’s fresh waters is prohibited, safeguarding this species during its critical life stages.

Atlantic Salmon

  • Fishing Limitation: Catching Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is banned in the Pawcatuck River downstream of the Potter Hill Dam, a measure to protect this vulnerable species.


  • Harvesting Ban: The capture of smelt (Osmerus mordax) by any means is not allowed in any stream or river system within the state, reflecting the species’ conservation needs.

American Eel

  • Recreational Limits: Recreational fishing for American eel (Anguilla rostrata) is limited to twenty-five eels per day per person, with a minimum size requirement of nine inches. Eel fishing requires a valid RI Freshwater Fishing License, and there is no closed season.
  • Commercial Harvesting: Commercial harvesting of American eel from freshwater areas is subject to holding a valid commercial license and adhering to RI Marine Fisheries regulations.

Fish Ladders

  • Protection of Fish Ladders: Trespassing or obstructing fish ladders is illegal. These structures are vital for the migration of fish and are designated as areas for fish cultivation by the state.
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.