#Stripers are nailing flies on the Narrow River in #RI

Ed Lombardo at Middle Bridge in November.

Ed Lombardo at Middle Bridge in November.

Striped bass are still biting in southern New England, so don’t put your fly-fishing tackle away.

Geno Rapa caught a fat 25-inch fish late last week on the Narrow River in Narragansett RI, reports fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo.

Geno and Ed started around 3 p.m. near the Sprague Bridge on Route 1A where they spotted baitfish that appeared to be sand eels, according to Ed. “We didn’t do anything there, so we worked our way to the rocks at the mouth of the river. That didn’t work out either, so we headed to Middle Bridge, and that’s where we found the bass,” he said.

Heavy fog fell on the river, forcing the anglers to head home, but before they left around 5, each had caught four “footballs,” Ed said. He was fishing a sky-blue streamer, and the other anglers were casting shrimp patterns.

As good as the fishing was, it may get better, Ed said. His fishing log from 2011 shows a banner day on Dec. 18.

Regulators plan to cut striped bass catch

Fly fisherman Ed Lombardo

Fly fisherman Ed Lombardo

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has voted to develop management options for reducing fishing pressure on striped bass beginning with the 2015 season. One option is to reduce the daily recreational limit from two to one fish beginning in 2015

The action by the 15-state commission came in response to a new assessment of the coastal striper stock, presented at the ASMFC’s annual meeting last week St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The stock report concluded that striped bass are not over-fished and that overfishing is not occurring, but it did show a dramatic decline in adult fish in recent years and projects that the breeding population is on course to cross the overfished threshold in the near future.

“The ASMFC did the right thing, responding to anglers’ concerns about the future of striped bass, concerns that are backed up by troubling trends in the science,” said Wild Oceans president Ken Hinman, who attended the meeting.

Some members of the Striped Bass Management Board argued for immediate action to reduce the current recreational bag limit from two fish of at least 28 inches to one fish, with an equivalent reduction on the commercial side. But a majority supported a more deliberate process that will allow them to consider all the options, after the board’s technical advisers determine how much of a cut in fishing mortality is needed to reach the target and what percentage would come from changes in the bag limit, size limit or season.


Striped bass, hickory shad are taking flies in #RI

Richard Santos with a healthy school striper

Richard Santos with a healthy school striper

Striped bass and hickory shad have been hitting flies in the estuaries of Rhode Island, says fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo.

We fished the Warren River just above the old American Tourist building last Tuesday late afternoon and night and did very well,” Ed said. “Fish this time of the year are nice and fat, football like in size.

“On Thursday with an out going tide we also did very well at The Narrow River in Narragansett. The shad prefer a smaller sized fly; a size 2 works well in pink or black over white. Shrimp patterns for the bass and flies in a size 1/0 short shank in the same colors as above are very good choices as well.” 

Russell Kessler near the Sprague Bridge on the Narrow River

Russell Kessler near the Sprague Bridge on the Narrow River

Galilee RI fishing tourney and seafood fest next week

galileeThe second annual Galilee Fishing for Hope Tournament and Seafood Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8 in the Rhode Island port of Galilee.

Organized by the state Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, RISSA the festival is sponsored by the Flood Auto Group.

The festival and fishing tournament celebrate and promote Rhode Island’s recreational and commercial fishing industries, locally-harvested seafood, and the Port of Galilee. Proceeds will be donated to the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Foundation, Narragansett Parks and Recreation Financial Aid Program, and the Point Judith Fishermen’s Scholarship Fund.

The festival will feature local seafood and food vendors, arts and craft vendors, music, and education exhibits. At last year’s festival, locally grown oysters and little neck clams were fantastic.

Festival goers will have an opportunity to tour a fishing trawler, a historic scallop boat, a fish processing plant, and a fish net manufacturing company as part of a self-guided tour around the Port. Other activities include a fish and critters touch tank, kids fishing off the pier of Galilee, a rock climbing wall, and a fishing survival suit contest.

The fishing tournament begins on Friday, September 6 at 5:00 p.m. Participants will be able to weigh in their catch on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The leader board will be present at the weigh-in station. The weigh-in station is accessible by boat and by car. Winners will be determined by fish category and weight, and awards will be presented at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Prizes include gift certificates for fishing charters and fishing equipment donated by local businesses. Juniors will receive trophies, too.

Tournament entry fees are $15 for adults and $5 for juniors (14 and under). Tournament entry is available on the Galilee Fishing Tournament and Seafood Festival website and at many local bait and tackle shops. Detailed entry information, official rules, and the list of prizes may by found on the website. 

LI Sound offers variety for anglers

On Long Island Sound, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle, says the number of school stripers is increasing on many of the reefs where the bass are feeding on coin-sized buttefish.

There are larger bass at the Race, Plum Gut, Cornfield and Long Sand Shoal, he said. “Live or chunked bunker are the best bets except for the Race where eels at night are the best producer.”

Rhode Island angler Dan Carlson took a striper just ounces shy of 40 pounds this week in the waters off Watch Hill.

Medium-size bluefish are appearing all over Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound this week “The usual rips are holding blues well under 10 pounds,” he said. “The mouths of the Connecticut, Thames, Quinnipiac and Housatonic Rivers – if they have bunker – are the best spots to find a teen sized blue, but don’t look for schools. The bigger fish are still loners in August. Some of the smaller reefs such as Cranes, Hens and Chickens and Cornfield can hold bigger blues. If size doesn’t matter try Plum Gut or Pigeon Rip. Not as many as across the Sound but Southwest Reef has some.”

Snapper blues are appearing in larger numbers in most coastal rivers, he said.

The best fluke fishing appears to be on the south side of Montauk, but the fishing of Black Point can be rewarding, he said.

Positive porgy reports are coming from Bartletts, Hatchetts, Race Rock, Cranes and Southwest reefs, Pat said.

For bonito and false albacore, check out the waters off Weekapaug, Watch Hill and Charlestown, RI.

Stripers eager to take flies – on the right tide

Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo and some friends fished inside Charlestown Breachway over the weekend and had two different experiences on two different tides.

Friday night, the tide was incoming and there was a ton of bait,” Ed said. “Silversides and a lot of skipjacks. The incoming tide brought with it some nice clear, cool water and a lot of schoolies. The fish were not selective at all, hitting flies of many colors and in sizes 1, 2, and 1/0. Pink flies worked very well. We managed to take a good number of fish up until just before dark.

Sunday morning was a different story, The tide was outgoing and full of weeds and grass, we were picking up weeds almost on every cast, not enjoyable at all. No fish were hooked, not even a bump.”

Outdoor notes: Wade and find lovely aquatic wildflowers

Marsh rose-gentian

Wading in Worden Pond, RI late yesterday afternoon  was a rewarding experience. Fish weren’t biting, but white waterlilies were everywhere and marsh rose-gentian plants were in blossom in about six inches of water along the shore.

What a stunning flower! With eight to 12 pink petals, the delicate looking flowers usually grow in brackish water, according to some online sources. The US Department of Agriculture and a couple other sources also say that Sebatia dodecandra grows as far north as Connecticut.

If you’re on the water this weekend, stop to notice the flowers.

Fishing report

On Long Island Sound, it’s a typical August, says Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle. There is still a “fair number of bass and some good sized ones on the local reefs, mostly on live bait,” he reports. “Bunker days, eels at night. Long Sand Shoal isn’t on every day, but it’s a worthwhile shot most days. Fresh bunker chunks are the most effective way to fish if you don’t have live ones. There have been some schoolies to medium sized bass along the Old Lyme shore for eel casters. The Race has had some bass also if you can get through the blues and the winds.”

RICKA picnic

The Rhode Island Canoe/Kayak Association (RICKA) This year’s  RICKA Family Picnic will be held on Saturday, August 24, at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, RI.  There will be paddle trips in the morning, and a southern barbecue lunch (veggie burgers will be available) will be served around 12:30.

RICKA is a terrific group. For more information about the picnic, click here.

Bass and blues are biting

Striped bass and bluefish were biting along East Beach in Charlestown, RI today, says Robin Nash of Quonny Bait & Tackle.

Snapper bluefish were biting in Quonochontaug Pond in Charlestown, and scup have been biting on the flood tide there, she said.

In nearby Connecticut, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle says, “The Race was good this week when you can get there and again better at night; Bartletts Reef was the same at night drifting eels.

“Bluefish have been thicker at the Race and Plum Gut this week with some fast top water action at the Gut.”

CT Fishing Report: Fluke and stripers are biting

On Long Island Sound in Connecticut, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle reports that fluke fishing has been good in the waters off Waterford and near Seaflower Reef. The fish are larger but fewer near Black Point and Hatchetts Reef. Fluke are more numerous but smaller near Soundview and Long Sand Shoal, he says.

Striper reports from the Race and Block Island were very good at the end of last week, particularly on night tides, he said. “Reports from Montauk tell of another blast of sand eels putting bass on the feed near shore.”

RI Fishing Report


Bass are still biting in the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay and off Block Island.

Surface temperatures on the bay are quite high, but Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle says that temperatures are much lower in deeper water. As long as stripers have quick access to cooler waters, they will stay where the bait is, says David Henault of Ocean State Tackle. He recommends Rocky Point in Warwick, RI and Fields Point in Providence RI. Jacob Ganhadeiro has been catching stripers at Fields Point with his dad, Jose. “Watch where the ospreys are catching menhaden,” Henault says, “and you’ll find bass.” Ken Ferrara recommends the waters near Gould Island (in the lower bay), Halfway Rock, Beavertail Point, Bonnet Shores, and the rocks on the east side of the Jamestown Bridge.

Scup fishing is excellent in the bay, says Henault. He recommends the Warren River, Colt State Park, Rocky Point, and the rocky shorelines of Newport and Narragansett. Ferrara recommends the waters off Plum Light, Dutch Island and Hope Island. Scup are nailing clams, worms and squid. “With squid, you’ll catch fewer fish, but they tend to be larger,” Henault says.

Bluefish have been biting in the waters near Halfway Rock Rumstick Point, and along the north shore of Greenwich Bay, Ferrara says. Skipjack bluefish are beginning to arrive, says Henault, reminding anglers that the daily limit on bluefish is 15. “A bluefish is a bluefish, whether it’s 4 ounces of 4 feet long,” he says.

Sea bass have been pretty scarce in the bay: Ferrara suggests fishing near Seal Rock and Seal Ledge.


Taryn Leigh Dillon with a nice brace of fluke, one a 7.5-pounder, and the other an 8-pound fish. Watch Hill Outfitters

Taryn Leigh Dillon with a nice brace of fluke, one a 7.5-pounder, and the other an 8-pound fish. Watch Hill Outfitters

Fluke fishing has been very good in fairly shallow water from Old Reef off Weekapaug to Watch Hill Light, says Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters. At Old Reef this week, the fish were concentrated so you would catch, then lose the fish, return and catch again, and then lose them again, he says.

Striper fishing has slowed as water temperatures rise. The early morning bite, has been more active, but the evening bite is important, too, Wade says. Fish deep water, close to shore, he says. Look for steep drop-offs.

Triggerfish have arrived, so bonito should be here soon, Wade says.


Schools of bay anchovies were thick in the waters off Southwest Point this week, and bluefish were all over them, says Mike Wade. There was so much bait that the blues locked on to them and became very selective, refusing anything that didn’t look like an anchovy.


Mako sharks and blue sharks have been biting in the waters near the Mud Hole, according to David Henault.


Fly fishing guide Ed Lombardo reports on fishing yesterday:

“Last night we fished the Narrow River just upstream from Sprague Bridge on an incoming tide. The fishing was good, and we took a nice number of bass–not any size to speak of. The river had the most bait I have seen all year.  An hour and a half later when the tide changed to outgoing the bite stopped. All the warm water coming out from Pettaquamscutt Cove had a great effect on the fish moving out. We should have moved down river toward the mouth. Incoming tide this time of the year is much better at least in that section of the river. Small size flies seem to work better. Two-inch silver and olive colored flies worked well last night.


Ed Lombardo found some great fishing on a week-long holiday. He reports:

“Got up each morning at 5:30 a.m. and was fishing at no later than 6. I fished Morris Island which is at the very tip of the town of Chatham, Mass. You drive on Morris Island Road all the way to the National Wild Life Refuge which is as far as one can drive. Parking is free, and they have the cleannest facilities I have seen. Also available is fresh water to rinse off equipment when done. The walk to the beach is only two to three minutes away and all easy wading. One can start fishing right there in front or move to the right or left on the beach. If you Google this area you will see from a satellite image that the whole beach offers some very nice anatomy, both in the form of tidal movement and just deep holes from time to time. I used my shrimp pattern which has a medium hot pink marabou tail, a body of gold, pink, orange and gray, Aura yarn, and a wing of Silver Polar Flash. You can use other body material that has some of the same colors. I also used a high tie in hot pink as well and got fish to take. A method I like using when fishing water that has a clean sandy bottom is what I call dusting. I allow the fly to reach bottom and drag the fly alone creating sand dust coming off the bottom which draws the fish to the fly. I do believe that fish see this as a natural food item such as shrimp, sand eel, juvenile flat fish, and other organisms creating sand dust. For the four days I fished every morning I landed a good number of fish and lost a bunch as well. I did in fact take four keepers, one fish a 37″ bass! I’m using an Airflow intermediate line called their Sniper Line, It’s a great fly line and I always over load my fly rod at least one or two weights. over what the rod has been designated for. As and example if the rod is an 8-weight, I put a 9- or even a 10-weight line on it. This area is a good bet; if you can take the time to get there, it’s well worth it.” 

RI Fishing Report

Author John Skinner trolls a tube-and-worm rig using Berkley Gulp! worms aboard a kayak on Long Island Sound.

Most of Narragansett Bay’s big striped bass are moving south to colder water in the ocean, says Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. Steve Elliott and Tyler Ward caught keepers near Brenton Reef this week, despite rough conditions. Ferrara recommends the waters off Bonnet Shores, Gould Island, and Beavertail Point.

Laptew photo

Catching stripers on eels during the day? It’s tough. Mike Lapttew, who made this photo, says: “That’s why I brought the eels along for the ride and I fished the biggest eels I had. I took three on three way rig with various weights. My largest bass was approaching 30 pounds…she’s still swimming around with all the other bass we took on scup. We started the day off drenched by heavy rain…I couldn’t wait for the sun (haven’t said that in a few days) and I was even a bit cold at times when Capt. Blaine throttled up on his new Skeeter — a sweet ride and well laid out fishing platform.”

Warming waters in the upper bay haven’t affected fluke fishing Ferrara said this morning. They’re biting in the waters bounded by Providence Point, Conimicut Point and Rocky Point, and also off the Warwick Country Club.

Sea bass have been biting in the waters near Hope Island, Plum Point, and General Rock off North Kingstown.

Shore fishers are catching lots of scup, says David Henault of Ocean State Tackle. He recommends Colt State Park, Beavertail Point, Hazard Rock in Narragansett, Sakonnet Point, Stone Bridge, the East Wall and the West Wall on the Harbor of Refuge.

Block Island

Large bass have been feeding on sand eels in the North Rip, said Ray Miclette of Pete’s Tackle who fished in the fog Tuesday morning. “We caught a few 30-pound fish,” he said. “They were all on the surface. Then we went to the south side, and it was barren — nothing going on.”

Offshore fishing

Andrew Miller, fishing aboard Dusky caught a 260-pound mako shark to take the top prize in the Snug Harbor Marina Shark Tournament over the weekend. Rich Betts, aboard Reel Chaos, caught a 203-pounder for the second-place make trophy.Tom Lai, aboard Bilda, landed a 216-pound thresher shark to win that division.

Freshwater fishing

“The dog days are definitely here,” says Ray Miclette, “but there have been a few 4- and 5-pound largemouth bass taken on Lower Slatersville Reservoir this week.”


More big bass caught at Block Island

Nine striped bass over 50 pounds apiece were caught on a single night at Block Island RI this week, says Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina this morning. All of them went for live eels near Southwest Ledge at night.

In Narragansett Bay RI, 34- to 35-inch stripers have been taking menhaden chunks in a chum line, says Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. He recommends the waters off Bear Point, Rumstick Point and Potter’s Cove on Prudence Island.

Anglers catch five 50-pound stripers last night

The striped bass bite was good over the weekend, and it exploded again on Wednesday night. “The ledge broke wide open,” said Al Conti who weighed five fish over 50 pounds at Snug Harbor Marina.

Johnny Martini caught two of them.

Ken Ferrara, Jr. said the fish were shunning eels early this week, but he lured several bass over 35 pounds to the boat by chumming with menhaden chunks.

Don Hentschel caught a 42.5-pound bass this week, said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters.

Fluke fishing is good off the northeast corner of the island, Conti said.

Look for The Fishing Report in tomorrow’s Providence Journal and online at providencejournal.com.