Fishing in Vermont

Last updated on August 2nd, 2021 at 02:13 pm. Originally published on July 19th, 2021

Bordered on the east by the Connecticut River and on the west by Lake Champlain, Vermont has many world-class fishing opportunities. The state has over 800 lakes and ponds as well as 7,000 miles of rivers and streams. The most popular sportfish among Vermont’s anglers are bass, walleye, and wilderness trout. Vermont fishing also offers other types of fish, including unique, powerful species such as carp, longnose gar, freshwater drum, and bowfin. On your way to your destination, you will travel on one of Vermont’s scenic byways featuring stunning views of the Green Mountains. Before you go fishing in Vermont, be sure to get a license; anyone over the age of 15 needs one, and be aware of laws that apply to each species and waterway.

A man and a child standing with nets at a short dock, where a paddle boat and a row boat are docked. The sun rises over trees on the other bank.

Fishing Spots in Vermont

Lake Bomoseen

Lake Bomoseen is in southwestern Vermont near the city of Rutland. The north and south end features excellent shallow-water habitats for panfish and pike. Locals prefer the point at the lake’s southeast corner, where deeper water is within casting distance for bass. Anglers can target smelt in the water around Neshobe Island. The waterbody is in Lake Bomoseen State Park, which has a beach for swimming and offers boat rentals. 

Silver Lake

Silver Lake State Park’s proximity to Woodstock and other central Vermont sightseeing destinations makes it an ideal stop for family vacations. The lake’s submerged vegetation, rocky points, and overhanging trees provide shady ambush points for predatory fish to grab a meal. Locals favor a basic nightcrawler and bobber rig for catching largemouth bass and pike. 

Button Bay

Button Bay is on a bluff in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, along Lake Champlain. The area around the bay features diverse fish habitats ranging from shallow coves to underwater cliffs leading to water depths of several hundred feet. You can hook bass, pike, and panfish from where the shore juts out into the lake across from Button Island. Button Bay State Park features RV sites that overlook Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the west.

Grand Isle State Park

Grand Isle State Park is on South Hero Island in Lake Champlain and accessible by causeways on the north and south ends. Anglers fishing from shore at the inland sea will encounter bass, pike, bowfin, and panfish. Locals prefer a topwater plug to trigger explosive reaction strikes from aggressively feeding fish. Deeper offshore habitats favored by lake trout and salmon are also good fishing spots. Proximity to Burlington and Montreal make Grand Isle popular with people fishing and camping in Vermont.

Wilgus State Park

The Connecticut River habitat around Wilglus State Park consists of underwater logs, bridge pilings, and gravel bars. These cover types provide predatory fish with great places to ambush minnows that come down the river. Locals use the water current to float bait close to fish hideouts to snag dinner. Common catches in this river are bullhead, chain pickerel, bass, and yellow perch. The nearby Pinnacle Trail hike provides a scenic vista of the Connecticut River Valley.

Lake Elmore

Lake Elmore State Park offers shallow water fishing, with gradual slopes into deeper water. The park rents canoes, kayaks, or boats for anglers interested in reaching the deeper waters to seek out northern pike, bass, or bullfish. Yellow perch are particularly abundant in the lake. Elmore Mountain, which rises from the lake’s shore, is a prominent feature in the area. The town of Stowe, the Rockart Brewery, and the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory are all within striking distance of the park.

Gifford Woods

At the base of Mount Killington and Pico Peak, Gifford Woods State Park is a favorite of locals for its streams and the park’s pond. Kent Pond is shallow and clear with a mixed bottom of sand, silt, and broken rock supporting habitat for bass and perch. A fly fishing rig is effective to hook wild trout as they work their way up Kent Brook. The park is a popular destination during the fall foliage season for its dramatic autumn colors and the nearby town of Killington.

Lake St. Catherine

The main lake area in Lake St. Catherine State Park features rocky bluff walls next to deep water creating good fishing spots to target smelt and trophy-sized trout. Locals prefer to use topwater lures to entice crappie and bass in shallower parts of the lake. Devils Bowl Speedway in West Haven is a short ride from the park. 

Where to Fish in Vermont

Trout are the most popular fish among Vermont’s anglers; nearly every small stream throughout the state is excellent habitat for the native species. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department stocks larger streams and ponds with trout each spring. Several of the state’s lakes and their tributaries, including Lake Dunmore, Lake Champlain, and Lake Memphremagog, are good fishing spots for landlocked salmon and walleye. In the spring and early summer, panfish, perch, and bass are active in most bodies of water in the state. Several fish species, such as pickerel and pike, are active under the ice in the winter, so any frozen lake or pond in Vermont can be an excellent destination for ice fishing.

Camping and Fishing in Vermont

Camping and fishing in Vermont is a great way to enjoy the Green Mountains. The fishing spots mentioned above are all in state parks that offer RV sites, so you will not have to travel to get your line wet after setting up camp. Before visiting, you may want to explore the “Let’s Go Fishing Program,” a network of volunteer instructors who teach youth and adults about a variety of topics for anglers organized by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Before fishing camping in Vermont, you should gather the necessities for traversing mountainous terrain when you pack. In the spring, summer, and fall, warm days in Vermont will often turn into chilly nights; bringing clothes appropriate to various temperatures will make your stay more comfortable. For a winter visit, make sure to outfit yourself and your RV for freezing weather. Finally, before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for more tips on fishing.

With an RV rental, your fishing trip will be a little more comfortable! After you’ve spent a long day fishing, grill up your catch right at your campsite. Then, retire inside to enjoy all the comforts of home on board your RV. Plan your perfect fishing getaway with an RV rental from RVshare.

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