Few experiences are more enjoyable than spending a summer afternoon fishing for bass on a lake or casting for trout on a mountain stream in the early morning light. Fishing is a great way to connect with nature and is a fun activity to share with friends and family. Vermont is bordered on the west by Lake Champlain, the “Sixth Great Lake,” and on the east by the Connecticut River, the longest river in New England. Between the two are 808 lakes and ponds and more than 7,000 miles of rivers and brooks. Plenty of opportunity to angle for fish!
What a Deal!
A fishing license costs only half as much as a tank of gas or a couple of movie tickets, but unlike gas or movie tickets, your fishing license lets you fish for a whole year with just a single purchase. And children under 15 can fish for free. Fishing licenses are available at any Fish & Wildlife district office, through authorized agents in stores throughout the state or even more conveniently on our website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). Your fishing license helps to fund the management and conservation of Vermont’s excellent fisheries resources.
Vermont has four species of trout — lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and the state’s signature native fish, the brook trout. Trout are considered “coldwater” fish. They can only survive and reproduce naturally in steams with cold, clean water and diverse habitat. Trout are also stocked in some of the larger streams and rivers in Vermont that become too warm in the summer to support wild trout. The best fishing for stocked trout is shortly after the fish have been stocked in May before water temperatures increase in the summer. In contrast, wild trout in Vermont’s cold streams and rivers can be caught all summer long and even into the fall. Regardless of the season, trout fishing is usually best around dawn or dusk, when trout are most active.
Vermont lakes such as Champlain, Seymour, Willoughby and Caspian are renowned for their trout and landlocked salmon fishing, while rivers such the Batten Kill, Mettawee, White, and Dog deserve to be included among America’s great trout streams.
Panfish = Summertime Fun
Perch, crappie, sunfish, rock bass, and bullhead are easy to catch, abundant, and taste delicious, making them a good choice for the frying pan. Many lakes and ponds in Vermont host one or all of these species and they can be targeted from boats, bridges or shore. Fishing is best late in the ice fishing season, just before iceout, and in the first few months of spring through May and June. However, panfish are warmwater species so fishing can be good all summer. They can be caught at any time of the day, but morning and evening are often best. The most productive way to catch panfish is usually to fish a worm on or near the bottom or suspended under a bobber.
Bucketmouths and gators
Bass, pike and pickerel have been growing in popularity with Vermont’s anglers. Like panfish, these species prefer warmwater in lakes and larger rivers, so they can be caught all summer long; Fishing is often best at dawn and dusk. These fish can be caught using worms or live minnows, but they also respond well to artificial lures such as crankbaits, spoons, and spinners.
There are also several lakes and reservoirs where anglers can target both warmwater and coldwater fish, including Waterbury Reservoir and Lakes Champlain, Bomoseen and Memphremagog.
Learn more by visiting the “Where the Fish Are” tables: Champlain Valley, Northeast Kingdom, Central Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region. Boats are available for rent through Vermont State Parks.
Try This for Something Different
Do you want to catch something out of the ordinary? An ancient dinosaur? A saber-toothed fish? A giant bottom sucking fish vacuum? Vermont has many fish species most anglers have never heard of, and fewer have targeted. These include longnose gar, bowfin, carp and freshwater drum.
Lake Champlain, home to over 90 different species of fish, is a truly unique destination for these unusual but plentiful oddballs of the fish world , and it is quickly becoming a world destination for anglers seeking something out of the ordinary.
These fish can often be caught with simple techniques that anyone can master. Check out Vermont’s Master Angler Program to see the full line-up of extraordinary species!
Regulations in red are new this year.
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