Fishing Tiverton, Rhode Island

Legendary guide Charlie Soares with a striper taken on a tune lure near the mouth of the Sakonnet River. Photo Tom Richardson

It seems that every season kicks off in May with reports of tautog being taken off the Stone Bridge jetties between Tiverton and Portsmouth. That should come as no surprise, given that the Sakonnet River features an abundance of fish-holding structure.

‘Tog, scup and black sea bass invade the Sakonnet in mid- to late May and linger through mid-June. You can catch the ‘tog on green crabs fished from an anchored boat over virtually any type of rocky bottom in 10 to 20 feet of water.  These bottom fish spend the summer over deeper structure, but return to the shallows in mid- to late fall (mid-October is prime time). Try the edges of the Stone Bridge jetties, the rocks off Fogland Point, and Gould Island.

Scup and sea bass can be taken over the same type of rocky structure, but your best baits will be seaworms, clams, and squid strips fished on small hooks from an anchored boat. The scup may not be huge, but they are dependable. A good spot to catch them is the rocky bottom off Fogland Point.

Striped bass move into Tiverton waters beginning in late April, with peak fishing running from late May to mid-June. Big fish can be taken around the bridges and well up into Mount Hope Bay and the Taunton River, especially if pogies (menhaden) are present. School bass can also be taken on light spin gear and flies near the Stone Bridge and any around type of rocky structure along the east bank of the Sakonnet River. The rocky structure off Fogland Beach offers prime bass structure, as does Sakonnet Point just south of there. Nanaquacket Pond and its inlet can also produce good fishing for school bass, especially after dark.

If it’s big bass you seek, try slow-trolling a live eel, tube-and-worm combo, or swimming plug deep along the edges of boulders and channel edges in the river. Wire or leadcore line will let you present your offering near the bottom where the bigger fish hang. Drifting or “bump-trolling” live pogies also produces if you can find the bait.

Fluke fishing can be very good inside the Sakonnet River. Its wide, deep mouth offers strong current flow and cooler water through midsummer, which tends to hold big fluke. Drift a jig-and-squid-strip combo or a live bait through deep water (30-plus feet) and along hard-bottom edges if you want to score a doormat.

Come late August, bonito and false albacore often move inside the lower Sakonnet, with the area off Little Compton and Third Beach being a prime spot to find these fish. To catch these fast-moving fish, throw a four-inch white Slug-Go or Zoom Fluke rigged on a plain work hook. Small epoxy jigs and metal spoons work as well.

Late summer to mid-fall often sees action with schools of small bluefish inside the Sakonnet. These fish can be taken on all sorts of flies, jigs and plugs, but small (1/4 ounce) metal spoons are hard to beat, especially since you can fish them near the surface or jig them deep depending on where the fish are holding. Look for diving birds to point you toward the action and be sure to fish the whole water column, especially right along the bottom.

Bait & Tackle

Bucko’s (Fall River) (800-287-9416)


Tiverton Charters (401-864-1388)

State License Requirements and Catch & Size Limits:

State of Rhode Island Requirements