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What's New — Regulations Simplification

In Vermont, fishing regulations were updated as of January 1, 2022. These regulations are unchanged for 2023. What does this mean for Vermont’s Anglers?

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department fisheries staff worked extensively to review Vermont’s current fishing regulations with a focus on simplifying regulations and providing high-quality fishing opportunities while still maintaining the biological protections needed to conserve healthy fish populations. In line with these simplifications, this Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations publication, the primary source of Vermont’s fishing regulations for anglers, has also undergone a major revision with an eye towards simplification and ease-of-use (see sidebar).

How will these updates affect your angling adventures?

A significant and exciting update resulting from the recent simplification process is the opportunity to fish most Vermont waters at any time of the year with artificial lures and flies, if the angler practices catch and release (except for a few seasonally closed waters or areas with special regulations). This change increases year-round angling opportunities while maintaining biological protections important to healthy fish populations in the state.

Although there have been some considerable changes, many regulations remain the same. Some regulations have been made more consistent across waterbodies, and some special regulations have been removed. You’ll see some regulations are less restrictive and a few others are more restrictive. While it is always best to reference this Fishing Guide & Regulations magazine for your specific season and waterbody before going fishing, we wanted to highlight the very few regulations that have changed to be more restrictive:

Rivers and Streams:

  • Brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout
    • Daily Limit: Total of brook + brown + rainbow = no more than 8
  • Landlocked Atlantic salmon
    • Length Rule: Minimum length = 17 inches
  • Brownington Branch of the Willoughby River - From its confluence at the Willoughby River extending upstream to the second road crossing on Brownington Chilafoux Road (TH #15).
    • Daily Limit: Total of brown trout + rainbow trout/steelhead = no more than 2
    • Length Rule: Minimum length = 10 inches

Lakes and Ponds:

  • Seasonally Closed Waters – Only open to fishing 2nd Sat in April to Oct. 31.
    • Cary Pond, Walden
    • Lake Pleiad, Hancock
  • Landlocked Atlantic salmon
    • Length Rule: Minimum length = 17 inches
  • Lake Morey, Fairlee
    • Largemouth and smallmouth bass
      • Length Rule: Minimum length = 14 inches

Lake Champlain:

  • Largemouth and smallmouth bass
    • Length Rule: Minimum length = 12 inches.

How to Use This Guide

Step 1- Where are you going to fish?

Step 2 – Check for special regulations on the specific water you want to fish.

Step 3 – For all waters not listed in either index follow Table 1: General Fishing Regulations.

Note that some regulations vary by water type such as rivers/streams vs lakes/ponds. Daily limits are not additive across water types.


Trophy Trout Streams

Vermont offers some of the best trout fishing in the Northeast with wild brookies, rainbows and browns found in many streams having good habitat. But our Trophy Trout Program kicks it up a notch. Anglers looking to hook into a big lunker should give one of our trophy trout streams a try. Thousands of two-year-old brookies, rainbows and browns, some more than 18 inches long, are stocked each spring and are just waiting for your cast.

Here’s where you can find them:

  • Black River along Rt. 131 in Weathersfield and Cavendish — From Downers covered bridge upstream approximately 4 miles to the next bridge (the Howard Hill Bridge) across the river.
  • Deerfield River in Searsburg — From the downstream edge of the East Branch Trailhead Bridge in Searsburg upstream 4 miles to the downstream edge of the bridge on Somerset Road near the junction with Forest Road 71 in Searsburg.
  • East Creek in Rutland City — From the confluence with Otter Creek upstream approximately 2.7 miles to the top of the Patch Dam in Rutland City.
  • Lamoille River in Fairfax — From the downstream edge of the bridge on Route 104 in the Village of Fairfax upstream approximately 1.6 miles to the top of the Fairfax Falls Dam in Fairfax.
  • Little River in Waterbury — From the confluence with Winooski River in Waterbury upstream to the top of the Waterbury Reservoir Dam in Waterbury.
  • Missisquoi River in Enosburg and Sheldon — From the downstream edge of Kane Road (TH-3) bridge upstream approximately 5.7 miles to the top of the Enosburg Falls Dam in Enosburg Falls.
  • Otter Creek in Danby and Mt. Tabor — From the Vermont Railway Bridge north of the fishing access upstream approximately 2 miles to the Danby-Mt. Tabor Forest Rd. Bridge (Forest Road # 10).
  • Passumpsic River in the Village of St. Johnsbury — From the top of the Gage Dam in St. Johnsbury upstream approximately 2.4 miles to the top of the Arnold Falls Dam.
  • Moose River in St. Johnsbury — From the confluence with the Passumpsic River upstream approximately 350 feet to the downstream edge of the Concord Avenue bridge in the Village of St. Johnsbury.
  • Walloomsac River in Shaftsbury and Bennington — From the Vermont/New York border in Shaftsbury upstream to the top of the former Vermont Tissue Plant Dam (downstream of Murphy Road) in Bennington.
  • Winooski River in Duxbury and Waterbury — From the top of the Bolton Dam in Duxbury and Waterbury upstream to the Route 2 Bridge (east side of Waterbury Village).

These stream sections are open to trout harvest from the second Saturday in April through October 31 with a daily limit of 2 trout. Catch and release angling using artificial flies and lures is allowed year-round.

Seasonally Closed Waters

The following lakes and ponds are hereby designated seasonally closed waters and shall be closed to all fishing except between Second Saturday in April through October 31.

Bald Hill Pond, Westmore

Beaver Pond, Holland

Beck Pond, Newark

Beebe Pond, Sunderland

Big Mud Pond, Mt. Tabor

Bourn Pond, Sunderland

Branch Pond, Sunderland

Cary Pond, Walden

Cow Mountain Pond, Granby

Duck Pond, Sutton

Forest Lake, Averill

Griffith Lake, Mt. Tabor

Holland Pond, Holland

Jobs Pond, Westmore

Lake Pleiad, Hancock

Levi Pond, Groton

Lewis Pond, Lewis

Little Rock Pond, Wallingford

Long Pond, Westmore

Marl Pond, Sutton

Martins Pond, Peacham

North Pond, Chittenden

Notch Pond, Ferdinand

Perch Pond (Zack Woods Pond), Hyde Park

Pigeon Pond, Groton

Red Mill Pond, Woodford

Silver Lake, Leicester

South America Pond, Ferdinand

South Pond, Marlboro

Spring Lake, Shrewsbury

Stannard Pond, Stannard

Sterling Pond, Cambridge

Stoughton Pond, Weathersfield

Stratton Pond, Stratton

Unknown Pond, Averys Gore

Unknown Pond, Ferdinand

Vail Pond, Sutton

Vernon Hatchery Pond, Vernon

West Mountain Pond, Maidstone

Wheeler Pond, Barton and Sutton

Zack Woods (Perch Pond), Hyde Park

Rivers and Streams - All rivers and streams are hereby designated seasonally closed waters. For species with defined harvest seasons, targeted catch and release angling with immediate release can occur outside of harvest season, using artificial lures and flies.

Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC) ensures that, in participating states, nonresident violators will receive the same treatment as resident violators. IWVC member states reciprocate in the suspension or revocation of licenses and permits resulting from violation of hunting, fishing, or trapping laws.

If an individual’s license or permit privileges are revoked in one compact member state, they are subject to suspension or revocation in all other member states. For example, if a Vermont resident has their hunting privileges suspended in Minnesota, their privileges may also be suspended in Vermont and in all other compact states. This helps prevent habitual violators from relocating their illegal activities to other member states.

The IWVC also has established procedures that cause a nonresident violator who fails to comply with the terms of a citation issued in a participating state to face the possibility of the suspension of their wildlife license privileges in their home state until the terms of the citation are met. The goal of the IWVC is to facilitate improved enforcement of hunting, fishing, and trapping laws through the cooperation of law enforcement units in member states.

Jeff Parsons

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers - Information for Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species

Before You Back Down the Ramp:

  1. “Load before you launch” — put all gear into your boat while in the parking lot, not on the ramp;
  2. Loosen any tie-downs, insert plug;
  3. Help STOP aquatic hitchhikers: CHECK, DRAIN, DRY. Make it a habit BEFORE launching and BEFORE leaving to carefully inspect and clean your vessel;
  4. Back down ramp, launch and secure your boat to dock or on shore;
  5. Immediately move and park your vehicle in the appropriate location.