Vermont’s Spring Trout Fishing Opens April 14th

Catch & Release Fishing allowed on nine stream sections now

Vermont’s traditional trout fishing season opens Saturday, April 14 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.

The following Vermont river sections are open for year-round trout fishing using artificial lures or flies. All trout caught must be immediately released where they are caught.

  • 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.

“With the incredible weather we’ve seen this spring we know anglers are keen to wet a line,” said Vermont Director of Fisheries Eric Palmer. “Considering water levels and temperatures, these river sections are very fishable 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.”

Vermont’s 2012 stocking schedule is available on the Fish & Wildlife website under the “Fishing” category. The site is interactive, so you can enter the body of water, town or species of fish and see what fish will be stocked. Lakes and ponds are first to receive fish in the spring, while rivers are stocked later after the high water run-off has passed.

As an added bonus, Vermont’s catch-and-release bass fishing season in lakes starts the same day as trout season on April 14 and continues through June 8. 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 2012 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. Tel. 802-241-3700. You also can download sections of the publication from their website.

The Vermont Outdoor Guides’ Association offers help in locating fishing guides and some overnight facilities on their website. Additional help in finding a place to stay overnight can be found at (

Fishing license fees are $22.00 for adult residents, $8.00 for residents 15-17 years of age, $45.00 for adult nonresidents, and $15.00 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 available at agents statewide and from Fish & Wildlife’s website.

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