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Vermont

Fishing

Fishing is for Everyone

By Ali Thomas, Corey Hart and Shawn Good
Photo of girls fishing in Vermont
Photo by Dan Lovell


Everyone deserves the opportunity to access wild places that help them recharge, connect with family and friends, and engage with Vermont’s natural landscape. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department fosters these opportunities through various fishing programs available for people who have different levels of experience, starting with beginners to the most avid of anglers. Connecting with nature is for everyone regardless of language spoken, age, gender, race, access to transportation and gear, and previous experience. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is here to help make an authentic connection for anyone interested in engaging, and our fishing programs are a great place to start!

Let’s Go Fishing

The Let’s Go Fishing program reaches 9,000 Vermonters annually through the help of a network of certified volunteer instructors. Historically the program focused on introducing children to fishing. Over the past several years that mission has expanded to included advanced programing that helps experienced anglers expand their skills and reignite the passion they felt when they first started fishing.

Year-round programs for all levels of experience

Just as our instructors come from a wide range of backgrounds our programs are also very diverse! Programs take place year-round and include shore fishing opportunities in the summer, ice fishing programs in the winter, as well as species-specific programs for experienced anglers looking to hone their skills.

Photo of friends fly fishing in Vermont
Photo by Dan Lovell


Embracing the local food movement

It’s no secret that the local food movement is alive and well in Vermont and the Let’s Go Fishing Program offers programs to help anglers get their catch to the table. There are many varieties of fish in Vermont that are delicious to eat. However, cooking and processing those fish can be a hurdle for a new angler. To help bridge that gap a variety of programs are offered.

  • Fish Processing Clinics – These hands-on courses give participants the opportunity to fillet or clean a fish and then cook and eat it! They are a great way to get anglers excited about catching their own meals and gives them an incentive to get out and fish.
  • VT Wild Kitchen – Initiated during the early days of COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of the Vermont Wild Kitchen has made it a fixture on the department’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Using Facebook Live, the department and our partners share delicious recipes, showing wild game and fish processing techniques and pairing them with farm fresh or wild edibles. The shows are perfect for people unable to attend an in-person event while providing an excellent video to reference.

Becoming a Let's Go Fishing instructor

If you are passionate about the outdoors and teaching others, then becoming an instructor may be a good fit.

If you’re an educator, becoming an instructor is a great resource that enables you to teach core concepts through experiential, place-based activities. Topics you can teach include aquatic ecology, fish anatomy/physiology and other biological concepts.

Plus as an instructor, all gear is provided at no cost, meaning you never have to apply for a grant. Teachers can even receive one graduate level credit when they take the certification course!

Master Angler Program

The Master Angler Program is a fun and challenging program that sets length-based targets for 33 eligible fish species. You can enter your fish into either an adult or youth category and if you enter five species within a calendar year, you will become a master angler and receive a pin unique to that year.

This program encourages anglers to target species that have not traditionally been considered sport fish. You can also browse the master angler entries (anrweb.vt.gov/FWD/FW/MasterAnglerSearch.aspx) to learn more about where some of these large fish are being caught throughout the state.

Photo of Master Angler pins