Commissioner’s Message

Fishing Regulations Vermont Freshwater Fishing

Long-time Vermonters know that many of the best fishing holes are not next to the road, but require forethought and the willingness to step off the beaten path. In this year’s Fishing Guide & Regulations, one of our great biologists encourages anglers to indulge in some trout fishing accessed by foot.

This year also marks a major change in baitfish regulation. For years, anglers have been asking the department to re-examine the baitfish regulation put in place after a dangerous fish disease, VHS, was discovered in the Great Lakes. The regulation was designed to protect fish populations, but it made fishing with bait cumbersome.

More recent analysis by our biologists led to enacting a new regulation to establish a better balance between protecting fisheries resources and providing angler opportunity. These changes include creating two baitfish zones, east and west, allowing for more transport of baitfish, except from a list of black-listed waters which are at high risk for disease or invasive species. See the article on page 6 and the regulation on pages 25–29 for more information.

This year is a great chance to get off the pavement to find new fishing holes, and it offers more opportunity to use baitfish. I hope you will find time to pick up your rod and get out there to explore Vermont’s waters.

Louis Porter, Commissioner, Vermont Fish & Wildlife