Rhode Island anglers are being allowed to get an early start on the trout fishing season this year, and it's all because of the coronavirus, state environmental officials say.
Trout stocked lakes, ponds, rivers and streams across the state will open for fishing at 6 a.m. on April 7, the state Department of Environmental Management said in a statement.
The goal of the early start date is to reduce large opening-day crowds and prevent the spread of the virus, officials said.
The season traditionally starts at 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of April, drawing thousands of anglers. This year, anglers should only fish alone or with members of their immediate household. Fishing licenses are required.
"If you arrive at a favorite fishing spot and find that crowds are forming, please leave and choose a different location or return at another time or day,'' the agency said.
The state Division of Fish and Wildlife is stocking more than 60,000 hatchery-raised rainbow, brook, golden rainbow and brown trout in more than 100 waterways across the state.