One of the best things about the Warren River is that it gives the angler immediate access to upper Narragansett Bay. However, don’t overlook the often outstanding action that occurs right inside the river, especially in May and June. Big stripers arrive in mid-May, chasing herring deep into the Palmer and Barringon Rivers. In June these fish wait for post-spawn herring to filter out of the upriver areas, and offer light-tackle anglers the shot at a big fish in very protected waters. Like striper fishing everywhere, you’d be well advised to fish at night or at dawn, especially during the summer.
The big news in the last few years has been the presence of adult bunker (menhaden) in the upper bay.
The protected backwaters of the Palmer, Kickiamuit and Barrington Rivers also teem with smaller bass throughout the season. Anglers in small boats and kayaks can score consistently by working flies, poppers and soft-plastic shads and jerkbaits (eg, Slug-Gos, Fin-S Fish, Hogies) next to the marsh banks and points, as well as around the mouths of feeder creeks where baitfish gather. Farther downriver, more good striper spots include Jacobs Point, Allens Rock, Smith Cove and Rumstick Ledge.
The big news in the last few years has been the presence of adult bunker (menhaden) in the upper bay. These baits, fished live or chunked, have accounted for some outstanding catches of huge stripers well into July. Pods of bunker can be found in many of the bay’s coves and harbors, as well as throughout the Providence River. The easiest way to score is to snag a bunker and live-line it around the school. Local sharpies also fish bunker around such proven striper spots as Jacobs Point, Conimicut Light, Ohio Ledge, Popasquash Point, the Mount Hope Bridge or the cut between Patience and Prudence Islands.
Bluefish are the true crowd-pleasers of Narragansett Bay. Fish from 5 to 10 pounds usually invade the upper bay in late May, chasing squid and herring, and can often be taken on a variety of topwater plugs throughout the day off Barrington Beach and Rumstick Point, as well as along the rocky shore of Colt Sate Park in Bristol. The same areas can produce spectacular action on summer and fall evenings if big schools of small baitfish are present (although the last four or five years has seen lackluster action). If the fish aren’t showing on top, slow-trolling a tube-and-worm combo or deep-diving plug on leadcore line along the edges of Ohio Ledge, around Conimicut Light, off Popasquash Point or through the lower Warren River can be a good way to score.
Tautog make their way deep inside the bay in early spring and again in late fall, taking up residence around bottom structure in 10 to 20 feet of water. Proven ‘tog spots include the pilings of the Wharf Tavern, the riprap around Allen Rock and Conimicut Light and the rocky parts of Ohio Ledge. Top baits are green crabs fished on three-way rigs. The same spots also produce scup, a species that is guaranteed to keep kids happy.
Bait & Tackle:
- Capt. Brian Patterson, Patterson Guide Service (908-303-1770)
- Capt. Billy Silvia, Can’t Imagine Sport Fishing Charters (401-253-2924)
- Striper Marina (401-245-6121)
- Neil Vitullo (401-451-2198)