Vermont draws in crowds for its foliage, but anglers are more likely to be interested in Lake Champlain and other waterways. With great options for trout, bass, and more, and some of the cleanest waters in the country, Vermont is a good choice for the traveling angler.
Fly fishing in Vermont does not get much better than the Willoughby River. Here steelhead leap from the water, so much so that the show is known to attract non-fishermen. Black River is another good spot for steelhead, without the traffic of the Willoughby.
Winooski River is a larger river but also yields great fly fishing. The Winooski is home to brook, brown, and rainbow trout. For a more challenging fly fishing experience you are sure to prove your skills at Battenkill River. Brook trout flow freely in the Battenkill River, but it is the brown trout that are known for being difficult to hook.
Vermont has very good bass fishing. A popular bass lake is Lake St. Catherine, which also provides a chance for sizable catfish. Lake Memphremagog is a paradise for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Though its bass are the most sought after, Lake Dunmore is also a habitat for lake trout, pike, and catfish. There are many smaller streams and ponds suited to bass in addition to the larger waterways as well.
Lake Champlain is a veritable paradise for fish, and if Champ exists then he eats quite well! Lake Champlain is a huge waterbody full of perch, bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, pike, walleye, salmon, and catfish. Additionally, Vermont has added muskellunge to its stocking program to revive the muskellunge population in Lake Champlain.
Given its large size, hot spots for catchable species varies. The most dispersed species are bass and trout, usually smallmouth, largemouth, and lake trout. Lake Champlain is arguably the best bass fishery within Vermont. Meanwhile, walleye are the more elusive than most species on Champlain.
If you think Lake Champlain is just for bass, think again! Champlain holds the state record for bluegill, gar, Atlantic salmon, sauger, sheepshead, rock bass, whitefish, yellow perch, and walleye! So, when in search of a trophy in Vermont, visit Lake Champlain!
Family fishing trips do well at Harriman Reservoir. Rainbow trout, perch, and bass are popular fish for all skill levels. This reservoir is also the state record holder in chain pickerel. Harriman Reservoir has ample shoreline, a picnic area, and hiking trails.
Anyone over the age of fifteen interested in Vermont’s waters will need a recreational fishing license. Licenses can be purchased from authorized agents statewide, by mailing in forms, or online. Non-resident military personnel stationed in Vermont may apply for a residential license, while residential personnel may apply to the Montpelier Fish and Wildlife office for a free license.
Recreational fishing licenses for both residents and non-residents come in three day, annual, youth annual, and five year. Non-residents may opt for one day or one week fishing for vacations. Non-resident prices are double that of residents, so you may want to wait and take advantage of Vermont’s free fishing day instead.
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.