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Fishing in April

           The month of April ushers in the Rhode Island fishing season. Both fresh and saltwater fishing take off during month, bringing much of the fishing population out of hibernation. However if we continue to have February weather in early April things may be delayed a bit.

Activity on all fronts begins in earnest when April arrives. Around the first of the month, Turkey Vultures can be seen spiraling up the thermals in the southern part of the state. That’s right, black vultures, they do reside in our state from April to November and a few  reside year around. Also arriving around April 1st are tree swallows. Tree Swallows are the members of the swallow family with the metallic green-blue back and white breast. They return to reclaim their nesting site from the previous year in preparation for mating. These fast flying friendly birds will nest in bird houses erected for them and return to it year after year. Tree swallows will readily nest in Bluebird houses. I haven’t had Tree Swallow in my backyard for several years now. However when I did, they were a joy to befriend and watch. It doesn’t take long to gain their trust. Near their bird house I would regularly toss Mallard Breast feathers or other similar curved feathers up into the air. The swallows would then swoop down and catch the feathers in mid-air and quickly take them to their bird house to line their nests with them. Besides the birds other migrations  take place during the month and one in particular can hardly go unnoticed.

At sunrise on the second Saturday in April, thousands of Rhode Islanders migrate to  their favorite trout fishing hole. Just like the birds, many return to the same site year after year regardless of the weather. On some opening days it has snowed and on one opening day several R.I. ponds had a skim coating of ice on them until early afternoon. Regardless of the weather the opening day of trout season takes on a festive, holiday type air and is enjoyed by all. From those who arrive at sunrise and leave thirty minutes later after catching their limit, to those who arrive a bit later and fish all day, it is a special day not to be missed. For some this will be the only day in the year they go trout fishing. Early season trout fishing is best accomplished by fly rodding with sinking lines with streamers and nymphs. Dry flies and floating lines cannot be ruled out especially if we have some exceptionally warm days and some small hatches appear. On Opening day three years ago I went to Hopkins Mill Pd, in Foster, R.I. in mid-afternoon. It was a sunny day with the temperature  in the low sixties and trout were rising everywhere. The surface was littered with Mayflies from a hatch that would rival one taking place on a warm June day. The rising trout were very selective and the streamers I typically use wouldn’t draw a strike. Even the Wooly Bugger and my Gray Nymph were drawing a blank. I had only a sinking line and no dry flies with me. I  finally began taking fish regularly with a small brown stonefly nymph fished just under the surface.

On the saltwater scene striped bass will begin to enter our waters early in  the month. The first reported rod and reel bass will probably be taken at the apex of the  west wall in Jerusalem, RI. Second Beach in Newport normally gets a good slug of stripers during the first week in April . These fish won’t be big but will be fresh from the ocean and full of fight. Last year my friend  Al Tobojka, a.k.a. “Al the Guide”took his first striper of the year on March 31st at the West wall and a several more schoolies a few days later in the Narrow River in Narragansett, R.I.. This year the sea water temps are in the low 40s as April arrives so I think things may be delayed a week. In a typical year  there is a good chance of hooking a few stripers at the Bristol Narrows or Lees and Coles Rivers in Swansea, MA around mid-month.  Toward the end of April, stripers typically move into the area around Carpenter’s Bar in Matunuck, R.I. arriving toward  the end of the third week and remain there until months end. Silverside imitations (Ray’s fly) of approximately three inches will probably work best, although in areas where alewives are returning to spawn, a big herring imitations (Bondorew Bucktail)may be just the number. Striper fishing begins to improve as May nears with more  stripers arriving  as the waters warm up.

While it may be warming inland throughout the month, remember that the seawater temperatures will still be in the forties and they will influence the air temperatures along the coastal areas so, dress accordingly. Regardless of what your favorite type of fishing is, go out and enjoy it, as it’s been a long winter.

© Ray Bondorew 2013


“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”

Chief Sitting Bull – Lakota Sioux