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.
Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is known for many things. Two of which are Yankee ingenuity and great trout and salmon fishing. The two came together when we fished gorgeous Lake Willoughby with fishing tackle innovator, Keith Chamberlain.
Vermont is home to many productive trout streams, but none as famous as the Batten Kill. For more than 150 years, the river's reputation for producing big brown trout and beautiful native brook trout has lured anglers from across the country to southwest Vermont. Starting in the 1970s, the Batten Kill was managed strictly as a wild trout stream, initially with great success. But in the mid-90s a dramatic decline in the number of yearling trout had state biologists, anglers and others scrambling for answers. Thanks to a lot of hard work from a variety of groups, efforts are now underway to restore the Batten Kill as one of New England’s premier wild trout waters.
If you're looking for big steelhead trout in Vermont, you'll find no finer spot to cast than the eleven-mile stretch of the Willoughby River between Lake Willoughby and the Barton River. Every spring people come from miles around not only to fish, but watch them jumping upstream to reach spawning grounds. The falls at Orleans presents one of the best fish watching opportunities in Vermont if not all New England. Host Lawrence Pyne, and angler Michael Hahn, tackle the Willoughby in search of two feet of steelhead.
The backwoods ponds and mountain streams of Vermont can be the perfect place to fish for native trout. They may require a little effort to get there, but compared to the larger lakes and rivers these bodies of water can provide a relatively untapped resource for anglers. Host Lawrence Pyne and author Peter Shea hike the Long Trail to get to Little Rock Pond in search of "brookies."
- The Fly Rod Shop
- GORP - Fishing Page
- The Green Mountain Club
- Orvis Endorsed Fishing Trips
- Orvis Fly Fishing School
When many people think of ice fishing they think perch, crappie and other panfish that are popular with winter anglers. But from the third Saturday in January to the second Saturday in March on Lake Whiloughby in the Northeast Kingdom, fishermen turn their attention to bigger game under the ice. That's when lake trout season has anglers dreaming of twenty-pound-plus lunkers being pulled through the ice. The lake is famous for producing some of the largest trout in New England. A good-size laker trout in Whiloughby is between eight and ten pounds. But in 1986, Barry Cahoon of Danville went into the record books by pulling a twenty-six pounder out of the lake. Going after trout in January isn't for everyone. You have to be willing to dig through two feet of ice and put in some long hours watching your tip-ups in cold conditions. But for many New Englanders a day on the lake is more than just fishing. It's a chance to catch up with old friends, experience nature in the winter and, for a moment, dream a little of a big one on the end of your line. Host Lawrence Pyne joins Barry on a brisk February morning of fishing for big lake trout on Lake Whiloughby.
When the first settlers arrived in Vermont, Lake Champlain teemed with lake trout and land-locked Atlantic salmon. But by the early 1900s, over-fishing, sea lampreys and degraded spawning habitat had wiped out the lake's once great trout and salmon fishery. Thanks to a 30-year cooperative program involving the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, New York DEC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the big lake's trout and salmon have come back in a big way. Today, Lake Champlain is one of the country's top producers of lunker lakers and trophy landlocks. Of the two, lake trout are particularly abundant, and they provide a high-quality, year-round fishery. Host Lawrence Pyne heads out onto Lake Champlain with Captain Dick Greenough of Sure Strike Charters in search of lakers. Dick is also the creator of the Hot Item Lure, which can be found at your local bait and tackle shops in the Champlain Valley.
Vermont's Northeast Kingdom abounds with brook trout, in large part because of the helping hand played by a local sportsman's club. Volunteers with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Conservation Group refurbished the former state fish hatchery in Morgan, where they now annually raise thousands of brook trout fry. They oversee an annual program called "The Morgan Hatchery Project" that involves getting members of the community to fan out across the Northeast Kingdom on cross-country skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles to stock local beaver ponds and other remote waters with these colorful, native fish. On a good day volunteers can distribute 60,000 fry to throughout the Northeast Kingdom. Though the stocking benefits the fishing community, the real satisfaction comes from practicing responsible habitat stewardship, and giving back to nature. We follow the brook trout journey from incubation to release on a wintry spring day in Morgan.
For information about volunteering for the Morgan Hatchery Project or for stocking location information, contact Byron Fish at (802) 723-6385.
The Rapid River in Western Maine is 3.2 miles long. Forming an outlet of the Rangeley chain of lakes, it begins at Lower Richardson. From Middle Dam to Lake Umbagog, it drops about 180 feet, making it one of the fastest falling rivers east of the Mississippi. It flows constantly, and with the help of the cool, oxygen-filled water released by Middle Dam, it creates the perfect habitat for trout — big trout. Three- to six-pound native brook trout can be found on the Rapid River along with landlocked salmon that were introduced in the late 19th century. It's a difficult river to get to, but for New Englanders used to pulling in ten-inch "brookies," the Rapid presents a rare opportunity to catch the trophy-sized fish of their dreams. From opening day in May until the end of the season in September, Aldro French of Rapid River Fly-Fishing guides trips on the river. The trout fishing on the Rapid is legendary and, being a guide, French is always asked the same questions: "What's the best week in May? What's the best week in June? What's the best week in July?" According to French, "It's the best week when you hit it and … you're in hog heaven when you hit it because you can catch 40 or 50 fish and half of them would be big fish." French lives and works out of his summer home, Forest Lodge, located near the Lower Dam. It's one of two sporting camps on the Rapid River and is the former home of Louise Dickinson Rich. It was there that the Maine author wrote her bestseller We Took to the Woods in 1942. In this segment, host Lawrence Pyne joins Aldro French on the Rapid River in search of trophy brook trout.