The Mountain Times

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Vermont’s spring trout fishing opens April 13

Year-round catch-and-release fishing allowed on nine stream sections

Vermont's traditional trout fishing season opens Saturday, April 13 this year, and anglers are looking forward to spring fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout in the Green Mountain State's lakes and streams. Until then, eager anglers can capitalize on year-round catch-and-release trout fishing opportunities on nine river sections.

Black River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the top of the Lovejoy Dam in Springfield.

Lamoille River - From the Lake Champlain boundary (top of Peterson Dam in Milton) upstream to the top of the hydroelectric Dam at Fairfax Falls.

Lewis Creek - From the Lake Champlain boundary upstream to the State Prison Hollow Road (TH #3) bridge in Starksboro.

Ompompanoosuc River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the Union Village Dam in Thetford.

Otter Creek - From the Lake Champlain boundary upstream to top of Center Rutland Falls in Rutland.

West River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the Townshend Dam (Townshend) to Connecticut River boundary.

White River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the bridge on Route 107 in Bethel.

Williams River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the top of the dam at Brockway Mills Falls in Rockingham.

Winooski River - From the Lake Champlain boundary upstream to the Bolton Dam in Duxbury and Waterbury.

"We know anglers are keen to wet a line as early as possible," said Vermont Director of Fisheries Eric Palmer. "If weather conditions cooperate, these river sections will provide a great opportunity to do some catch-and-release trout fishing with artificials between now and the traditional start of trout season in April."

Vermont is known for excellent fishing opportunities for wild trout, and some of the biggest brown and rainbow trout are caught during early spring in many rivers throughout the state.

"Willoughby River steelhead provide a popular spring fishery in the Northeast Kingdom at the Village of Orleans," said Palmer. 

"These steelhead are on their spring spawning run from Lake Memphremagog, and they always attract a lot of interest, partly because they can be seen jumping the falls in Orleans."

As an added bonus, Vermont's catch-and-release bass fishing season in lakes starts the same day as trout season on April 13 and continues through June 7. Only lures and flies may be used, and bass must be immediately released.

The Fish & Wildlife Department is cautioning anglers that the use of felt-soled boots or waders in Vermont waters is prohibited in order to prevent the spread of the invasive algae called didymo.

Anglers also are reminded to use sinkers that are not made of lead. It is unlawful to use a lead sinker weighing one-half ounce or less while fishing in Vermont. Weighted fly line, lead-core line, downrigger cannonballs, weighted flies, lure, spoons, or jig heads are not prohibited.

Planning a Vermont spring fishing trip is easy.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has a 2013 Vermont Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Laws and Guide that includes maps showing lakes and streams as well as fishing access areas and public lands.  It also lists the fish species found in each body of water and it includes fishing regulations.  Copies are available where fishing licenses are sold, or from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. For more info call 802-241-3700.

Fishing license fees are $25 for adult residents, $8 for residents 15-17 years of age, $50 for adult nonresidents, and $15 for nonresidents 15-17 years old. One, three and seven day fishing licenses also are available for nonresidents. Children under age 15 do not need a fishing license in Vermont. Licenses are quickly and easily available on Fish & Wildlife's website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) and at agents statewide.

Photo by Sandy Macys courtesy of VT Fish & Wildlife