Vermont's lakes and streams continue to produce amazing numbers
of big fish year after year. In 2012, three new state records
were established for burbot, channel catfish and pumpkinseed
In February 2012, Swanton angler Brian LaBelle started the year
off by catching a new state record through the ice, an 8.81-pound
burbot from Lake Champlain. This is the second year in a row a
new state record has been set for this species, and it is a
testament to the increasing popularity of this tasty fish.
The burbot is the only freshwater member of the Cod family, and
in Vermont they can be found in a number of the deep, cold
Northeast Kingdom lakes such as Willoughby and Memphremagog, as
well as Lake Champlain. Most anglers target burbot after dark
with dead bait set on the bottom in 15 to 30 feet of water in areas
adjacent to deeper water. The previous record burbot caught in
February 2011 weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces.
In June 2012, Robert Scott of Poultney was fishing with a live
golden shiner off his dock on Lake St. Catherine when he hooked
into what proved to be the new state record channel catfish.
The big cat measured 41-inches long and weighed a whopping 35
pounds, 15 ounces, besting the previous record by more than a
A month later, another shore angler fishing from a popular
location on Lake Bomoseen landed a pumpkinseed sunfish measuring
10.5-inches and weighing 1.25-pounds. 14-year-old Logan
Bathalon of Bomoseen was fishing from the Float Bridge with a worm
and a bobber when he hooked the giant panfish, which weighed a full
quarter pound more than the previous record pumpkinseed. As with
LaBelle's burbot, this was the second year in a row that the
pumpkseed record was beaten.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department fisheries biologist Shawn
Good, who coordinates Vermont's Record Fish Program, says it's no
surprise new records continue to be set every year.
"We've had a really good run of record breaking fish catches in
Vermont," said Good, "18 records set since 2001, and eight of them
coming since 2010. No other state in the region can boast
this many new state record fish over the same time period."
What is even more encouraging is that 2012's catches prove
anglers don't need fancy equipment or expensive boats for a chance
at catching a state record fish.
"All three state record catches this year were caught either
from shore or through the ice," added Good. "Anglers just need to
get outdoors with a rod and reel and spend time fishing. You never
know what you'll catch! It's a great family activity and a
great way for kids to decompress from their busy lives."
The Vermont State Record Fish Program was established in 1969
and maintains a list of the largest fish caught from Vermont waters
in the last 44 years. All records are available to the public on
the Fish & Wildlife Department's website. Records can be
searched by waterbody, fish species, or year of entry.
These new state records are a testament to the great quality and
diversity of fishing opportunities that are available to anglers in
Vermont, so get out there and fish with your family and friends.
You never know - you could set the next state record!
For more information on Vermont's state record fish or to download
a record fish entry form, visit
Photo from VT Fish & Wildlife