Located in Oswego County, New York, the Salmon River stretches 17 miles from the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir in Altmar to where it empties into Lake Ontario. At a time of year when a lot of anglers have put their tackle away for the winter there is some world class fishing just a short drive from Vermont. And once you’ve hooked a stealhead in the Salmon River you’ll want to come back.
We hit the water with Jimmy Kennedy, an angler who’s enjoying his dream job. Bass fishing, cooking and promoting some really good cheese are all part of a day’s work for this lucky Vermonter.
While many anglers practice catch and release fishing it's a Vermont tradition to keep some for the table. That's why there's a new effort underway hoping people take the bait on trying the fresh flavors of fish from Lake Champlain.
One of the hottest trends in fishing are special kayaks built from the keel up just for anglers. And there’s no better spot to do some kayak fishing than on the Connecticut River. Wilgus State Park Ranger Eric Hanson guides us as we test drive a couple of these fishing kayaks while fishing for small mouth bass.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has been collecting data from 11 Lake Champlain Fish Community Monitoring Stations. Every summer, two 125-foot long nets are set out at each location for a 24 hour period. The focus is on capturing yellow perch, white perch, pumpkin seed, rock bass and other fish species found in the warm water communities of the lake. This allows them to keep tabs on the population and to measure the impacts of invasive species and fishing pressure over a period of time.
When it comes to learning the traditional skills of hunting and fishing it can be an intimidating experience for some women. But thanks to a backcountry retreat called Doe Camp, adventurous women 18 years or older are introduced to a wide variety of outdoor activities by passionate and experienced instructors.
Vermont offers an abundance of fishing opportunities year round. But as New England's only land-locked state, anglers in pursuit of saltwater species need to make a long trip to the coast. If you're looking to hook into some striped bass, however, there's a great opportunity that's closer to home. A growing number of Vermonters are heading to nearby New York each spring as hundreds of thousands of sea-run stripers make their way up the Hudson River during there annual spawning run.
When it comes to bass fishing, catch and release has become the norm. This has helped produce excellent angling on many waters, but on some it’s also resulted in an overabundance of stunted bass. To correct this problem the Fish and Wildlife Department has set special fishing regulations on certain ponds and rivers to encourage anglers to keep at least some of their catch. Waters with liberal regulations can still offer great fishing, and there’s no better way to end a successful day than with a good old-fashioned fish fry. Especially when you know it’s helping the fishery.
Vermont Fisheries Biologist Shawn Good demonstrates how to cut a completely boneless fillet from a freshly caught bass. This technique applies to yellow perch, crappie and other popular fish.
Pan-Fried Bass Fillets (as shown in the video)
Submitted by Shawn Good
I love to cook, but most of my cooking is done "by eye." Drives my wife crazy because she likes to measure ingredients. But in general, this is what I do:
- 2 parts flour
- 1 part cornmeal
- 1 part Italian bread crumbs
So, for instance, 1 cup of flour, ½ cup cornmeal, and ½ cup bread crumbs. You can adjust as needed depending on the amount of fish you need to bread.
Then I add (to desired taste, you can add or leave out anything you like):
- Red chili flakes
- Dried parsley
- Fresh ground black pepper
Again, I grab each spice bottle and shake away until it "just looks right." But I put only a little red chili flakes, more parsley than anything, and paprika too. The Italian bread crumbs I use already has oregano in it, and I do add more but not too much.
Once the breading is mixed, I put it in a bowl, and crack 1 or 2 eggs into a second bowl with a splash of milk and beat them (like you would for scrambled eggs). I then take my fish fillet, dip it in the egg wash, then dredge it in the breading mixture, put it on the plate and keep going until all fillets are breaded. I do this while the oil is heating up.
Add the fillets to the pan of oil leaving some space between each fillet. Cook them until they are golden brown, about two minutes per side. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. And then serve.
Fish Cakes with Chipotle Mayonnaise
Shawn Good - Vermont Fisheries Biologist
- 1 pound bass or perch filets
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- Peanut oil or other high-smoke point oil, such as canola for frying
- Chipotle mayonnaise
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1/8 tsp. oregano leaves
- 2 chipotle peppers (smoked, canned in adobo sauce) finely chopped
Mix all ingredients except fish and potatoes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about one hour. Boil and mash the potatoes, set aside. Boil the fish until it flakes easily. Drain, then flake with a fork. Be sure to remove all bones.
Mix the flaked fish, potatoes and the rest of the ingredients together by hand. If the mixture is too crumbly, add another egg. If it’s too sticky, add more bread crumbs. Form the mixture into cakes and fry them on medium high heat in a skillet coated with oil. Makes 12 fish cakes.
Every November fisheries biologists and a team of assistants use electrofishing boats at night to capture lake trout on Lake Champlain. Data is collected from upwards of 400 lakers each fall to monitor the health of the fishery and measure impacts of the lamprey control program.
For several years now, the second Saturday in June has been Free Fishing Day in Vermont, where anyone can try out the sport of angling without a license. At the Ed Weed Fish Hatchery the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has hosted the Grand Isle Fishing Festival to educate, inspire and hopefully hook both children and adults to the joys of angling.