Thursday, February 26, 2015

RI Regulations that Affect Carp Fishermen

It won't be long before carp fishing begins.  K now the rules.
A maximum of two rods are allowed.
There are a number of regulations here in RI that affect carp fishermen. While no one is fishing just yet, I do expect to catch my first carp in open water within a month. It is important to make sure you know the state's fishing rules and regulations.  Here are some that apply to carp fishing:
1. License- You will need a new, 2015 license after March first. The old license expired after the last day in Feb.  They can be purchased online and in tackle shops.
2. Where to Fish: While Opening Day (for trout waters only) happens the second Saturday in April, you can fish any non-trout stocked waters year round.  Trout waters are closed from March 1 to Opening Day.  You can see a listing of trout stocked waters on the DEM website at RI Fishing Abstacts. This means you can fish for carp at Roger Williams Park in March, but you can't fish at Lincoln Woods (Stocked waters).
3. Corn Rule: RI has this antiquated corn rule that states that corn can not be used as bait when fishing for carp in designated trout waters. So, you can use corn at Roger Williams, but you can't use corn in Lincoln Woods.
4. Chum Rule: Chumming is illegal in designated trout waters.
5. Two Rod Rule-  You are allowed to use one or two rods when fishing for carp.  You can't use three or more outfits. To be honest, I see this rule violated a lot.
6. Bowhunting/bowfishing- While the DEM rules state that bowfishing is legal for carp, it is only legal where local town and city ordinances allow hunting and the discharge of a weapon. Local hunting ordinances take precedent over DEM.  I can tell you that most cities and suburban towns in RI, and every city and town along the Blackstone River DOES NOT allow bowfishing or hunting.  If you see this being done, call the local police and not the DEM. I have checked with police in many cities and towns, and they all claim that anyone caught doing this will be arrested, prosecuted and their gear will be confiscated.


  1. Being Northern Rhode Island, I thought for sure you must be wrong about bowfishing. The Northern part of the State is the only somewhat wild part left. However, upon checking the City/Town laws, I see that you are mostly correct. Cumberland and Central Falls both prohibit hunting or discharge of any kind of weapon, including a bow. Lincoln disallows using a bow to hunt anything except deer with a bow on private property. However, the ordinance which disallows hunting on Town property expired 31 Jan 2015. Woonsocket didn't have any specific laws which covered archery, so, if you were the minimum required distance (State law) from an occupied dwelling, you should be able to bowfish in Woonsocket. All that said, there is a gray area as far as fishing goes... If the waters are navigable, they are deemed public. We have a State Constitutional Right to access the waters of the State for the purposes of fishing, among other things. I don't believe that any law contested as a result of being arrested for bowfishing would actually hold up. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so... Also, I can't ever see myself going bowfishing in RI/MA waters. I only fish for food, so I don't see much reason to shoot/kill a bunch of carp from polluted waters.

  2. Bill,
    Thanks for your input and interpretation of this matter. I'm just trying to convey the facts as I see it and I would not want to see anyone go through the hassle of getting arrested for bowfishing. I did speak to the police departments in Woonsocket, Cumberland, Lincoln, Central Falls and Pawtucket and they were unanimous in their interpretations. "No Hunting and no discharge of any weapon of any kind within city or town limits". They specifically said bow hunting or bow fishing was illegal in their towns and cities.
    Just to let everyone know....I am in no way anti hunting. If it is legal, you have every right to do it.

  3. Does "chumming" include method feeders and cage feeders?

  4. Angel.
    That is a good question and a real "gray" area. I consider a method ball packed around a sinker or a cage feeder as part of a bait combination. When DEM refers to chumming I believe they are talking about tossing in bait as you would toss in handfuls of corn when baiting an area. I don't think anyone would site you for using a cage feeder which also acts as a weight. Most DEM officers are reasonable and they are looking for flagrant abusers. Just my 2 cents.
    Remember, too, the rule against chumming only applies to trout waters. All other places are ok to chum.