Best Fishing Spots in Vermont

A serene lake surrounded by lush greenery, with a fishing rod and tackle box set up on the shore. A few ripples in the water indicate potential fish activity
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Vermont offers a serene backdrop for both avid and recreational anglers seeking to cast their lines into some of the best freshwater fishing spots in the country. With its abundant lakes, rivers, and streams, the Green Mountain State is home to an array of fish species, including trout, bass, and northern pike. Whether you’re looking to hook a trophy fish or simply enjoy a peaceful day on the water, Vermont’s diverse aquatic environments provide the perfect setting.

Half Moon Pond in Castleton is just one of the many idyllic locations where the combination of excellent fishing and picturesque scenery comes to life. Here, you can enjoy a family-friendly atmosphere with facilities such as boat rentals and a swimming area. Moving on, the White River boasts annual stocking of rainbow, brown, and brook trout, offering you a rewarding fishing experience heightened by the chance of encountering wild brook trout in its waters.

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain ranks as a prime fishing destination in Vermont, boasting a rich array of fish species and an expansive area for anglers to explore. Your experience is set against a backdrop of scenic beauty, stretching an impressive 120 miles in length.

Key statistics of Lake Champlain:

  • Shoreline: 500 miles
  • Depth: Up to 400 feet
  • Fish Species: Over 80

When you fish in Lake Champlain, you have the opportunity to catch a diverse range of fish. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are particularly popular targets, but the lake is also home to trout, pike, and panfish.

Popular Fish in Lake Champlain:

You can also appreciate the accessibility of numerous fishing spots along the shoreline or venture out into deeper waters for a more challenging trip. Given the size of the lake, you will find areas that suit various fishing techniques, from casting to deep-water trolling.

With a depth reaching 400 feet in certain areas, the lake’s main section begins near the Champlain Bridge and extends northward past Burlington and up to Plattsburgh. Despite the overall depth, the most successful bass fishing locations are often found in shallower regions.

Connecticut River

Calm waters of the Connecticut River, casting a golden glow on the lush green banks and the perfect fishing spots in Vermont

The Connecticut River presents a premier fishing destination in Vermont, offering you a chance to reel in various fish species. Flowing from the Canadian border through New Hampshire to Long Island Sound, this river spans an impressive landscape.

Species You Can Catch:

  • Trout: The cold, clear waters are ideal for trout, especially in the upper reaches.
  • Bass: Further downstream, you’ll find smallmouth and largemouth bass.

The river varies in depth, providing diverse habitats for fish. For instance, you might find shallower areas near parks such as Wilgus State Park, while the river reaches depths of up to 130 feet at Gill, MA.

Fishing Techniques:

  • Spin Fishing: Effective for bass and adaptable to a variety of water conditions.

Notable Locations:

  • Upper Connecticut River: Known for being a standout fishery in New England.
  • Wilgus State Park Area: This segment of the river promises a serene fishing environment.

Lake Memphremagog

Location: Straddling between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec, Canada, Lake Memphremagog is a freshwater glacial lake accessible for your fishing ventures.

Target Species:

Why Fish Here: Your experience at Lake Memphremagog is enhanced by the serene environment coupled with the likelihood of a good catch. The lake’s position amidst the Green Mountains offers a picturesque setting for both fly fishing and traditional angling.

Best Fishing Spots:

  • Gardner Memorial Park: Situated at the Clyde River mouth. Ideal for shore fishing.
  • Southern Stretches: Closer to Newport. Renowned for excellent bass fishing.

Access Point:

  • Gardner Memorial Park: From Interstate-91, EXIT 27 towards VT-191 about 2 miles. Turn towards Gardner Park Rd.

Fishing Tips:

  • Consider venturing out during early morning or late evening for the best results.
  • Utilize local bait and lures, as they are often tailored to the species in the lake.

Lake Bomoseen

When you explore Lake Bomoseen, you’ll find yourself at Vermont’s largest lake entirely within the state, boasting a vast expanse of 2,400 acres. With a maximum depth of 65 feet, the lake presents a diverse fishing experience. You can access the lake easily via Lake Bomoseen State Park at 22 Cedar Mountain Rd, Fair Haven, VT.

Fish Species:

Given the rich variety of species, you’ll find ample opportunity to engage in both leisurely fishing and more strategic angling. For bass enthusiasts, Lake Bomoseen thrives with both largemouth and smallmouth bass, providing an exciting challenge for anglers.

Fishing Tips:
To maximize your chances of a fruitful catch:

  • For bass, focus on areas with aquatic structures or vegetated edges during warmer months.
  • Morning or later afternoon hours can be particularly rewarding for various species.

Missisquoi River

Regarded as a premier destination for anglers, the Missisquoi River in Vermont offers you excellent trout fishing opportunities. The river stretches nearly 80 miles, winding through the scenic Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge before joining Lake Champlain’s northern basin. Here you can enjoy fishing against the backdrop of the area’s natural beauty.

Species: The Missisquoi River is teeming with trout, predominantly brook and rainbow trout, which are the stars of this fishing area.

Fishing Access Points:

  • Maquam Bay
  • Gardner Park
  • Louie’s Landing
  • Mac’s Bend

During your visit, you’ll find the river is suited to both spin fishing and traditional angling techniques. Spring and early summer usually mark the best seasons for stocked trout, as the fish are more plentiful following their release.

Recommended Baits and Tackles:

  • For traditional fishing: Spinners, and live bait.

Dog River

When you’re exploring Vermont’s lush landscapes for a premium fly fishing experience, the Dog River should capture your attention. Located near Montpelier, it’s a spring-fed river known for its dynamic brown trout population. As you prepare your equipment, know that the Dog River winds gracefully through forested areas and picturesque farmland, providing serene and fertile fishing grounds.

The appeal of the Dog River lies in its peaceful seclusion and the challenge it offers:

  • Flow: The river meanders through wooded hills, giving you a diverse range of spots to find the perfect cast.
  • Species: While renowned for brown trout, you may also encounter rainbow and brook trout.
  • Access: There are several points along the river where you can gain access, making it convenient for a day trip.

While the river can offer days where trout seem eager to strike, patience is key to your success. The tranquil environment will allow you to refine your technique in a quintessentially Vermont setting.

Otter Creek

Otter Creek is Vermont’s longest river, offering a mixed fishery flowing through Rutland, Middlebury, and Vergennes. Here, you have the opportunity to catch a variety of species:

Warm Water Species (Mainly Lower Otter Creek):

Cold Water Species (Including Winter):

  • Trout (notably in winter)

For a unique experience, visit the Otter Creek Trophy Section near Danby, where annual stocking enhances your chances of catching larger fish:

  • Rainbows and brown trout (500 of each two-year-old fish annually stocked)
  • Wild brook trout also thrive here, some reaching impressive sizes

Areas of Interest Along Otter Creek:

  • Lower Section: Accessible for warm water fishing, known for pike and bass
  • Otter Creek Trophy Section: Stocked with larger trout, appealing to those looking for a bigger challenge
  • Big Branch: Feeding into Otter Creek with pristine pools, also a destination for swimmers in summer

Before planning your fishing excursion, always check the latest fishing conditions and regulations to ensure compliance and maximize your experience.

Fishing Tips:

  • Winter Trout: Check for special regulations during winter months when trout fishing can be at its best.
  • Gear Selection: Equip yourself with diverse gear to match the mixed fishery of Otter Creek.

Your fishing journey in Vermont isn’t complete without exploring the diverse and bountiful waters of Otter Creek. Whether seeking the tranquility of a secluded pool or the excitement of landing a trophy catch, Otter Creek serves as an angler’s delight throughout the year.

Lake Willoughby

Boats line the shore of Lake Willoughby

When you’re in Vermont and looking to cast your line into deep, clear waters, Lake Willoughby is your go-to destination. Nestled in the town of Westmore, this glacial lake is noted for its depth, reaching over 300 feet in certain areas, which makes it the deepest lake entirely contained within the state.

What You Can Catch:

  • Landlocked Salmon: Thriving in the lake’s deep waters.
  • Trout: Including rainbow and brook varieties.

Best Fishing Spots:

  • Southern End: Surrounded by Willoughby State Forest, offering serene fishing.
  • Mount Pisgah Side: Features a gradual drop-off, prime for shore fishing.
  • Mount Hor: Known for its sharply descending cliffs, creating deep waters closer to shore.

When to Fish:

For the optimal catch, timing is crucial. Aim for:

  • Spring: When the trout and salmon are particularly active.
  • Fall: Especially for brook trout as they prepare to spawn.

In addition to angling, Lake Willoughby is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, with cliffs and forests framing its shores, making it a pleasing spot for boating and camping activities.

Winooski River

The Winooski River stands out for its accessibility and diverse fishing opportunities. Salmon Hole, just minutes from downtown Burlington, offers you a rich fishing experience with various fish species on the hook.

Key Fishing Spots on the Winooski River:

  • Salmon Hole: Known for its easy access and variety of fish, you might catch steelhead rainbow trout and smallmouth bass among others.
  • Colchester Point Access Area: Set out here for a chance to catch fish after a short drive from the city.

When planning your fishing trip, ensure you are equipped with a valid fishing license and understand the local regulations by visiting the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website. Here, you can find detailed guidelines on season dates and regulated fishing times.

Recommended Fishing Techniques:

  • Casting from the shores of Salmon Hole.
  • Exploring access areas at Colchester Point for a tranquil fishing setting.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to the sport, the Winooski River is a prominent place in Vermont to engage in fishing. Remember to respect the area’s natural beauty and preserve its health by following catch-and-release practices where appropriate.

Lake St. Catherine

Three small boats sitting on the shore of Lake St. Catherine.

Nestled within the picturesque Lake St. Catherine State Park in Poultney, Vermont, Lake St. Catherine stands out as a prime fishing destination. This 852-acre lake, with a maximum depth of 68 feet, is a sanctuary for various fish species that might attract your interest.

Here’s what you can expect to catch:

  • Bass: Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are found here, offering a satisfying challenge.
  • Northern Pike: Renowned for their size, northern pike in this lake can offer a memorable fishing experience.
  • Panfish: Bluegill, pumpkinseed, and black crappie provide plenty of action for anglers preferring a more consistent catch rate.

For your convenience, reference the key details below:

Location3034 VT-30, Poultney, VT
Lake Area852 acres
Maximum Depth68 feet
Common SpeciesBass, Northern Pike, Panfish, etc.

Angling in Lake St. Catherine is a year-round activity, with ice fishing as a popular winter pursuit. Ensure you’re familiar with Vermont Fish & Wildlife regulations to maintain sustainable fishing practices. Access to the lake is facilitated by the state park, which offers amenities and boat launches to enhance your fishing trip. Whether you enjoy casting from the shore or venturing out on a boat, Lake St. Catherine’s serene waters and lush surroundings provide both a scenic and fruitful fishing expedition.

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