Myrna George
South County Tourism Council
4808 Tower Hill Road, Suite 101
Wakefield, RI 02879

Fishing in South County: a Spring Tradition

Dust off the tackle box, rod and reel April 9, 2011 for the annual spring ritual known as Opening Day, for freshwater fishing that is.
The banks of South County’s 37 ponds, streams and rivers will open at 6 a.m. to the thousands of anglers who aim to catch the brook, brown and rainbow trout stocked in local waters by the RI Department of Environmental Management.
South County’s lure is that it remains a rural area, and has many varied locales for fishing: lakes, streams, rivers and ponds, according to the South County Tourism Council.
John Ure of URE Outfitters in Hope Valley reeled off several favorites. “The Wood River is the best in the state, and there are lots of small ponds like Meadowbrook Pond in Richmond, Breakheart Pond in Exeter and the Flat River in Coventry.”
This year, a 2011 fishing license is required for anglers 15 years of age and older and a Trout Conservation Stamp required for anyone who wants to keep their catch. Licenses and stamps ($5.50) are available at any town clerk’s office in South County, bait and tackle shops and Benny’s stores.
Fishing licenses are $18 for Rhode Island residents, $35 for non-residents and $16 for a tourist  three-consecutive-day license. Licenses are free for anglers over age 65 and anyone with a 100 percent disability.
Two South County ponds are designated for anglers 14 and under, Frosty Hollow Pond in Exeter and Lloyd Kenney Pond in Hopkinton. Fly-fishing only is allowed at Deep Pond in Arcadia Management Area, Exeter.
Wilcox Park Pond in Westerly will not be stocked this year due to recent refurbishment, but will be available for opening day of the 2012 fishing season.
Everyone has different reasons for fishing, Ure explained. Fishing on Opening Day is often a family tradition. “It’s something you’ve done since you were five. It’s in you and you do it.”
Some anglers like to fish with a friend, others for the relaxation. “The fly fishermen tend to be more into it for the relaxation,” Ure said. “It’s a way to get away from it all. Then there’s the other half that likes to get the biggest fish.”