The Best Catfish Fishing Locations in Rhode Island

Are you an avid fisher living in Rhode Island? If so, nothing beats a good day of catfish fishing—but do you know where to find them? Rhode Island has numerous rivers and lakes, providing ample opportunity for anglers looking to snag the perfect catch. Whether it’s casting a line from your dock or hitting up some of the popular spots around the state, we have compiled a list of our favorite locations tailored explicitly for catching those big catfish. So, let’s dive deeply into some exciting catfishing hotspots without further ado!

Best Catfish Fishing Locations in Rhode Island

Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, offers a variety of fishing opportunities for anglers. Among these opportunities is catfish fishing, which can be exciting and rewarding. Here are some of the best catfish fishing locations in Rhode Island, with details on each location’s dimensions, historical information, and fish species.

1. Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods State Park

Located within the 627-acre Lincoln Woods State Park, Olney Pond is a popular spot for catfish fishing. The pond covers 128 acres and has an average depth of 7 feet, with a maximum depth of 15 feet. It is easily accessible to fishermen, with several fishing piers, shoreline access points, and ample parking. The park also offers other recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and picnicking, making it an ideal destination for a family fishing trip.

Fish Species Found at Olney Pond:

2. Tiogue Lake

Tiogue Lake, also known as the Arnold Mills Reservoir, is a 182-acre impoundment located in Coventry. The lake has an average depth of 6 feet and a maximum depth of 13 feet. A public boat ramp is available for anglers, making it easy to launch boats for fishing. The surrounding area includes wooded trails and picnic areas, providing a relaxing environment for a day of fishing. Additionally, Tiogue Lake is stocked annually with channel catfish by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Fish Species Found at Tiogue Lake:

3. Meshanticut Lake

Meshanticut Lake, situated in Cranston, is a 35-acre lake with an average depth of 4 feet and a maximum depth of 7 feet. The lake is surrounded by Meshanticut State Park, which provides ample space for shoreline fishing, picnicking, and walking trails. The park is known for its picturesque scenery, with the lake being a focal point for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Meshanticut Lake is also stocked with channel catfish by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Fish Species Found at Meshanticut Lake:

4. Pawtuxet River

The Pawtuxet River is a 12.3-mile long river that flows through the towns of Coventry and West Warwick before emptying into Narragansett Bay. The river has a variety of fishing spots, including areas with deeper pools and shallow riffles. There are several access points along its length, making it easy for anglers to find a suitable location. The river is also home to several historic mill sites, providing a glimpse into Rhode Island’s industrial past.

Fish Species Found at Pawtuxet River:

  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Yellow Perch
  • White Sucker

5. Blackstone River

Stretching over 48 miles, the Blackstone River flows from Worcester, Massachusetts, through Rhode Island, and into the Seekonk River. The river offers numerous fishing opportunities, with several dams and small impoundments providing deeper water for catfish. The river can be accessed at various points along its length, including public parks and boat ramps. The Blackstone River Valley is a designated National Heritage Corridor, with many historical sites and museums along the river providing insight into the region’s rich history.

Fish Species Found at Blackstone River:

  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Yellow Perch
  • Northern Pike

6. Silver Spring Lake

Silver Spring Lake is a 122-acre lake located in North Kingstown. It has an average depth of 5 feet and a maximum depth of 10 feet. The shoreline offers several access points for anglers and a public boat ramp for those who prefer fishing from a boat. The lake is surrounded by a mix of residential properties and wooded areas, providing a serene atmosphere for a day of fishing.

Fish Species Found at Silver Spring Lake:

  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Chain Pickerel

7. Watchaug Pond

Watchaug Pond is a 573-acre natural kettlehole pond located in Burlingame State Park, Charlestown. With an average depth of 12 feet and a maximum depth of 36 feet, this pond offers a variety of habitats for different fish species. Anglers can access the pond from a boat ramp within the state park. The park also provides numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, and bird watching.

Fish Species Found at Watchaug Pond:

  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Yellow Perch
  • Brown Bullhead

8. Stump Pond

Stump Pond is a 300-acre pond situated in Smithfield. It has an average depth of 5 feet and a maximum depth of 9 feet. The pond is known for its abundant submerged stumps and vegetation, which provide excellent hiding spots for catfish and other species. There is a public boat ramp available for anglers, as well as shoreline access points. The surrounding area features a mix of residential properties and undeveloped land, offering a peaceful setting for fishing.

Fish Species Found at Stump Pond:

  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Chain Pickerel

9. Pascoag Reservoir

Pascoag Reservoir, or Echo Lake, is a 344-acre reservoir in Burrillville. With an average depth of 7 feet and a maximum depth of 25 feet, this reservoir offers diverse fishing opportunities. Anglers can access the water from a public boat ramp and several shoreline access points. The surrounding area is primarily residential, with some wooded areas providing a scenic backdrop for fishing.

Fish Species Found at Pascoag Reservoir:

  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • White Perch
  • Black Crappie

10. Woonasquatucket River

The Woonasquatucket River is a 15.8-mile long river that flows through Providence and North Providence before joining the Moshassuck River to form the Providence River. The river has several deep pools and slow-moving sections that are ideal for catfish fishing. The river can be accessed at various points along its length, including parks and public access points. The river is also part of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway, which features walking and biking trails along the riverbank.

Fish Species Found at Woonasquatucket River:

  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Common Carp

Equipment Needed for Catfish Fishing in Rhode Island

Catfish fishing is a popular activity in Rhode Island, with numerous rivers, lakes, and ponds providing excellent opportunities for anglers to land these hard-fighting fish. You’ll need the right equipment to have a successful catfish fishing experience in Rhode Island. Here’s a list of essential gear to help you catch some catfish in the Ocean State:

  1. Fishing Rod and Reel: A medium to heavy action rod, between 6 and 8 feet long, is ideal for catfish fishing. Pair it with a reliable spinning or baitcasting reel that can handle heavy line and strong catfish fights.
  2. Fishing Line: Catfish are known for their strength and ability to put up a fight, so using a strong and abrasion-resistant line is crucial. Monofilament or braided lines with a minimum of 15-pound test strength are recommended.
  3. Hooks: Circle hooks or J-hooks in sizes 2/0 to 8/0 are suitable for catfish fishing. Circle hooks are preferred because they reduce the risk of gut-hooking the fish, making catch and release easier.
  4. Weights and Sinkers: Using weights or sinkers to keep your bait near the bottom where catfish tend to feed. Egg sinkers, split shot, or no-roll sinkers ranging from 1/2 to 3 ounces are commonly used.
  5. Bait: Live or cut bait is typically most effective for catching catfish. Popular options include nightcrawlers, minnows, shad, herring, and chicken liver. You can also use stink baits or prepared baits designed specifically for catfish.
  6. Bobbers or Floats: Using a bobber or float can help keep your bait off the bottom and make it more visible to catfish. Choose a large, sturdy float that can support the weight of your bait and sinker.
  7. Swivels and Leaders: Swivels help prevent line twist and allow for easy attachment of leaders. A strong monofilament or fluorocarbon leader, 12 to 24 inches long, is useful for preventing line breakage due to abrasion from rocks, debris, or the catfish’s rough mouth.
  8. Pliers and Hook Remover: Long-nose pliers or a hook remover tool will make it easier to unhook a catfish safely, especially if it has swallowed the hook.
  9. Landing Net: A large, sturdy landing net with a long handle helps secure and safely land your catch.
  10. Cooler or Live Well: If you plan on keeping your catch, bring a cooler filled with ice or a live well to keep the fish fresh until you’re ready to clean and cook them.

With the right equipment and some patience, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy a successful day of catfish fishing in Rhode Island. Happy angling!

Rhode Island has various great locations for catfish fishing, from ponds and lakes to ocean shores and rivers. With careful selection of any of them, anglers can enjoy fantastic catfish fishing experiences in no time. And given the state’s small size, you don’t have to travel very far between them either. Whether you’re an experienced angler looking for good spots or a novice just starting out, there’s something here for everyone.

So check out some of what Rhode Island offers for catfish fishing and you won’t be disappointed. And if you’re looking for more amazing tips and tricks about the sport of fishing, keep an eye on our website—there’s so much more information here that could help broaden your skills and allow for some unforgettable natural experiences. Read our other articles—you won’t regret it!


1. What is a Redtail Catfish?

A Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) is a large, tropical freshwater fish native to South America. They are known for their striking appearance, featuring a long, slender body, a prominent red tail, and whisker-like barbels around their mouth.

2. How big do Redtail Catfish grow?

Redtail Catfish can grow up to 3-5 feet in length and can weigh over 100 pounds in the wild. However, in captivity, they usually grow to about 2-3 feet in length, depending on the size of the aquarium and the conditions provided.

3. What is the lifespan of a Redtail Catfish?

The average lifespan of a Redtail Catfish is around 15-20 years with proper care. Providing a clean and spacious environment, a well-balanced diet, and regular health check-ups can help ensure a long and healthy life for your Redtail Catfish.

4. What kind of tank setup is required for Redtail Catfish?

Due to their large size, Redtail Catfish require a spacious aquarium of at least 500-1000 gallons or more. The tank should be equipped with a powerful filtration system to maintain water quality and hiding spots and caves for the fish to feel secure. A sandy or fine gravel substrate is recommended, and the water temperature should be maintained between 68-79°F.

5. What should I feed my Redtail Catfish?

Redtail Catfish are omnivorous and have a varied diet in the wild. In captivity, they can be fed a combination of high-quality pellet food, frozen or live foods such as shrimp, worms, and insects, and occasional vegetables like peas and spinach. It’s crucial to provide a balanced diet to avoid health issues related to overfeeding or malnutrition.

6. Are Redtail Catfish suitable for community tanks?

Due to their large size and predatory nature, Redtail Catfish are not suitable for community tanks with smaller fish, as they may eat their tankmates. However, they can coexist with other similarly-sized, non-aggressive fish species.

7. How do I breed Redtail Catfish?

Breeding Redtail Catfish in a home aquarium is extremely challenging and rarely successful, as they require specific water conditions and a very large space to spawn. Most Redtail Catfish available in the hobby are bred in commercial facilities or caught in the wild.

8. Are there any common health issues with Redtail Catfish?

Redtail Catfish are generally hardy fish, but they can be prone to common freshwater fish diseases such as ich, fungal infections, and bacterial infections if the water quality is poor. Regular water changes, proper filtration, and monitoring of water parameters can help prevent these issues.