Mid-April marks the trout fishing season in Rhode Island. Burlingame State Park, Wyoming Pond (Wood River) and Lincoln Park - Olney Pond are just a few of the top spots for those in search of game.
Purchasing your own Rhode Island fishing license can be done online via the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management website. Do not forget to check whether the area you plan to reel your catches from is composed of fresh or saltwater since types of licenses vary depending on the area. Proceeds go directly to local conservation efforts such as conserving habitats, proliferation of marine life, and seminars geared towards caring for the environment.
For a hassle free getaway, make sure that you acquaint yourself with the local fishing laws in the area you are visiting. These regulations are strictly implemented to increase and protect fish population for the generations to come. The links below will give you detailed information regarding size and possession limits and fishing protocols.
Like most fishing areas, Rhode Island also practices the catch and release policy. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a beginner, you must possess this skill since it is one way to help in the conservation of the fish population in the area.
Rhode Island is a sanctuary to many rare species of fish, and with thousands of bodies of water like lakes, streams, rivers, and reservoirs, the state is indeed one of the best places to bring your family for a fishing trip that you have always wanted. If you plan to try your luck at trout fishing on Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods State Park or flounder fishing from the coastal shores, you have to be acquainted with all the fishing laws and regulations implemented in the state.
These regulations, designed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, are set in place to protect the biodiversity and sustainability of Rhode Island’s state waters. These regulations assure that the next generation will still be able to enjoy the abundance of its waters and fun of fishing from the state.
One of the most important among the fishing laws and regulations in the state of Rhode Island is its licensing requirement. To be allowed to catch fish in its waters, the state requires all anglers to procure the relevant freshwater or saltwater fishing licenses. These licenses, available to both residents and non-residents, serve as your contribution to the state’s conservation programs. The money collected from licensing fees goes toward fishery management, habitat development, endangered species programs, and conservation education.
So if you are planning to go to Rhode Island and experience its magnificent waters, this article will help you determine which type of license to purchase, where to get them, and what rules and regulations you need to follow to fish legally with Rhode Island’s jurisdiction.
Here’s everything that you need to know about fishing licenses in Rhode Island:
Who is required to purchase a Rhode Island Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing License?
A fishing license is required of any person 15 years of age or older wishing to catch or take fish in any freshwater stream or pond in the state. The Rhode Island fishing license is also reciprocal with Connecticut only for Beach Pond, Killingly Pond, Hazard Pond, and Peck Pond, and with Massachusetts for Wallum Lake, only.
Some exemptions have also been implemented, favoring some residents who qualify in certain criteria. First of all, a fishing license is not required of minors younger than fifteen (15) years of age, and the same is true for any person who is declared legally blind (both of these exemptions also apply to non-residents). Furthermore, a fishing license is not required of landowners or for members of their families when fishing from the property on which they are domiciled.
A free, special, permanent license may be obtained by any veteran of the armed forces who currently has a 100% disability rating or by any individual who is 100% permanently disabled. Lastly, for residents who are 65 years old and over, the state also offers a free, special, permanent license.
You must carry your license in your person all the time that you are fishing as you are required to show it to authorities upon demand.
Where to purchase a Rhode Island Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing License?
Purchasing a Rhode Island fishing license is as easy as a tap of a finger. Both resident and non-resident Licenses, permits, and stamps may be purchased online, in person at DEM’s Boating Licensing & Registration Office in Providence, or at an authorized sales agent, which includes some municipalities.
When purchasing your license online, you will be allocated a unique identification number called the RIHFID. Rhode Island’s outdoor licensing system issues a Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Identification (RIHFID) number to every angler and hunter. The RIHFID is unique to you and can be used to quickly access the system in the future so you can update your online profile, reprint lost or damaged licenses and permits, add additional permits, or renew licenses.
The online system accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Rhode Island Interactive, who provides this service is fully secure, and a PCI/DSS certified payment provider. Payment types accepted at sales agents may vary by location.
When purchasing a Rhode Island fishing license at an agent location, an extra fee may be charged called the Enhance Access Fees (EAF) as follows:
- Resident: $2 per license and $0.50 permit
- Non-resident: $3 per license and $1 permit
- No EAF for Recreational Saltwater Fishing Licenses or No Cost Licenses
What are the requirements to purchase a Rhode Island Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing License?
To purchase a fishing license in the state of Rhode Island, you will need a driver’s license and government-issued identification card, military identification, green card, or passport number to verify your identity. If you are under 18, you may apply using your parent or guardian’s identification. Once you turn 18, you will need your identification.
In the state of Rhode Island, you need a freshwater fishing license if you wish to catch fish in any freshwater fishing sites. Conversely, a saltwater license is needed to fish on the coast of Rhode Islands. There is also a wide array of licenses that can be purchased by both residents and non-residents. Here’s a summary:
Resident (or current member of the armed forces)
Combination (Hunting & Fishing)
Non-resident tourist (three (3) consecutive days)
Resident Trout Conservation Stamp
Nonresident Trout Conservation Stamp
If you’re planning to catch fish in one of the thousands of beautiful lakes, rivers, and reservoirs in Rhode Island, you need to purchase a freshwater license. For residents and current members of the armed forces, a resident freshwater fishing license can be purchased for $18.00 online and $20.00 at any other vendor. They can also buy a combination license, which can be used for hunting and fishing, for only $33.00 (online) or $35.00 (other vendors). Meanwhile, non-residents can purchase an annual license for $35.00 and a tourist license, which is valid for three consecutive days, for $35.00, respectively. Please note that non-residents need to pay three more extra dollars if they purchase their licenses from other vendors.
On top of that, a Trout Conservation Stamp is required of any person wishing to keep or possess a trout, salmon, or charr caught in Rhode Island waters or to fish in a “catch & release” or in a “fly fishing only” area. However, TCS is not required for the following:
- Minors younger than fifteen (15) years of age.
- Any resident or non-resident over 65 years of age.
- Any person with a 100% disability.
- Landowners or members of their families when fishing from the property on which they are actually domiciled.
- Any person possessing trout taken from a lake or pond which shares a border with a neighboring state.
- Any person possessing privately-owned trout caught in privately-owned ponds.
RI residents (annually)
Saltwater licenses are different from freshwater licenses. First of all, you need a saltwater license if you want to fish recreationally in Rhode Island marine waters, and in federal offshore waters, anglers, and spearfishers. An annual saltwater fishing license can be purchased by residents for $7.00, while non-residents can buy it for $10.00. If you are only planning to fish in the marine waters of Rhode Island for a few days, you can also purchase a 7-day saltwater fishing license for only $5.00 (both residents and non-residents). Unlike the freshwater fishing licenses, these licenses can be purchased online at the saltwater fishing licensing system or from certain bait & tackle shops. A list of vendors can be found on the recreational license webpage. These licenses apply in all RI waters, all federal offshore waters, and in all neighboring state waters for finfish and squid and can be obtained for free by RI residents over 65 and for the active military stationed in the state. Please note that no license needed for children under 16, nor for anglers on party & charter boat license needed for children under 16, nor for anglers on party & charter boats. Rhode Island residents may use their RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License to fish in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License holders from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine need not obtain a RI Saltwater Recreational Fishing License if they possess a valid license from one of the states listed above.
Other Fishing Regulations in the state of Rhode Island
Fishing regulations are also set in place in Rhode Island in order to protect its natural resources and maintain a healthy fish population in its waters. For more information, please download the following documents:
Q: When will my fishing license expire?
RI fishing annual licenses are valid from March 1 through the last day of February the following year. Short-term licenses, on the other hand, can be used for three or seven CONSECUTIVE days after purchase.
Q: What to do when I lost/damage my license?
If you damage or lose your license, simply log into the system using your email or RIHFID number and reprint when you need to. There is no cost for reprinting damaged or lost licenses.
Q: Is there an extra cost if I purchase my licenses and permits online?
No, there are no added fees if a license or permit is purchased online. The fees, by law, already include an “agent commission” that goes towards system development, operation, support, and maintenance.