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The Vermont Fishing Experience

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Good fishing comes naturally in Vermont

More kinds of fish… more kinds of water… more kinds of great surroundings… plus other family activities… all within comfortable cruising range.

Big lakes, remote ponds, mountain brooks, grand rivers. Great fishing for the favorites: trout, landlocked salmon, bass, walleye, pike, perch. Untapped opportunities to catch fish that maybe you haven’t even heard of…whitefish, musky, bowfin, burbot, shad, drum…to name a few. All in postcard scenery. All true.

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.

Vermont’s many lakes and streams are home to 33 species of sportfish for anglers of all tastes and experience levels. From fishing off a guided charter boat for trophy lake trout, salmon, walleye, and bass on Lake Champlain, to hiking in to a remote stream in the Green Mountain National Forest to fish for wild brook trout, Vermont offers a broad range of fishing opportunities.

Vermont has long been famous for its “cold-water” fishing. Innumerable icy rivulets seep down off the Green Mountains and feed hundreds of streams, lakes and ponds. These waters, along with the state’s deeper lakes, whose depths never warm, are home to cold-water loving native brook trout, lake trout, rainbow smelt and landlocked salmon, as well as introduced rainbow, steelhead and brown trout. Lakes Seymour, Willoughby, and Caspian, among others, are renowned for their trout and salmon fishing, while rivers such the Batten Kill, Mettawee, White, and Dog deserve to be included among America’s great trout streams.

Yet Vermont also has excellent “warm-water” fishing. Because Vermont encompasses parts of both the Great Lakes and North Atlantic drainages, it is home to a wide array of warm-water species that tolerate warmer water temperatures than trout and salmon. These species include such favorites as largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, channel catfish, chain pickerel, American shad, yellow perch, white perch, black crappie, rock bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and bullhead, as well as such unusual species as bowfin, longnosed gar, freshwater drum, burbot, cisco, and whitefish.

Vermont’s bass fishing in particular is superb, yet until recently it attracted little attention. But word is spreading about the fabulous largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing available on Lake Champlain, and lakes St. Catherine, Morey, Bomoseen, Hortonia, and Seymour among many others. Northern pike, too, provide an excellent fishery, and the large, toothy fish are distributed in numerous ponds and low-lying rivers across the state.

Many Vermont waters also offer the best of both worlds, being “two-tiered” fisheries that support both cold-water and warm-water species, with trout and salmon occupying the deeper, colder reaches, and bass and northern pike the shallower, warmer bays. Harriman Reservoir and lakes Champlain, Bomoseen, and Memphremagog are the four largest examples of such mixed-bag fisheries.

Whatever direction one’s angling tastes run, the best thing about Vermont is that good fishing is always close at hand, and exploring Vermont’s scenic countryside is rewarding even when the fish are not biting. Fishing also goes hand in hand with many other outdoor activities for which Vermont is noted, especially camping, hiking, canoeing, and boating. So, it’s easy to make fishing part of a family outing or vacation. Create a memory that will last a lifetime for your kids – and yourself!

To learn more about Vermont fishing, check our website ( under “Fishing” or call us at (802) 241-3700. The “Fishing Access Areas” section has information for each lake with directions, regulations, fish species, and depth charts. For locations across the state where kids can take their parents fishing and have an excellent chance of catching some fish using simple techniques, visit our “Family Fishing Hot Spots” page. And don’t miss our “Vermont Master Angler Program,” also on our website. You won’t believe the photos!

Planning your trip to a new fishing area and finding a place to stay is easy at Additional information about lodging and guides is available from the Vermont Outdoor Guides Association at and at 1-800-425-8747.

Fishing licenses can be purchased online through our website and from license agents statewide.


Photo: Sandy Macys


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