The 2012 Woonsocket Fishing Derby will kick off this year's trout and general freshwater fishing season at 6 a.m. on Saturday, drawing young anglers from across the area.
About 80,000 hatchery-raised brook, brown, and rainbow trout with an average individual weight of one and a half pounds are being stocked by Division staff in more than 100 ponds and streams for opening day.
Sponsored by and the the derby is open to boys and girls 12 and under. Last year, about 175 people showed up to kick off the season during the derby.
“Getting out at the crack of dawn on opening day is a time-honored tradition in Rhode Island,” noted DEM Director Janet Coit. “This is a great opportunity for anglers of all ages to grab their fishing poles and experience the delight of catching the first trout of the season.”
The DEM warns that anglers should make an extra effort to take personal safety precautions, such as not standing too close to the shoreline and being aware of their surroundings, so that they can enjoy a safe 'opening day' fishing experience. Boaters are also being urged to take appropriate safety precautions, particularly those who fish from canoes on lakes, ponds and rivers with dams. Even though the air temperatures are rising, water temperatures are still low and situations can quickly turn dangerous.
Cass Pond will be open for children-only during the first two days of the fishing season - Saturday and Sunday.
A 2012 fishing license is required for anglers 15 years of age and older wishing to catch fish. A Trout Conservation Stamp is also required of anyone wishing to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area.
Fishing licenses and the Trout Conservation Stamp ($5.50) can be obtained at any city or town clerk's office or authorized agent such as bait and tackle shops and Benny’s. A current list of license vendors is available on the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on “Hunting, Fishing, Boating Licenses” from the top left of the homepage, and scrolling down to “Hunting/Fishing Agents.”