Parasites are organisms that live off other living things. Fleas on a dog or ticks on a deer are common examples. Parasites are among the most successful animals on earth, and many have fascinating life cycles where they change form and move from one animal host to another. If you have ever fished for northern pike, bass, or panfish, chances are you have encountered a parasite known as black spot disease.
During the Dog Days of summer, when rising water temperatures make trout sluggish and hard to catch, many fly fishermen hang up their rods. But for a growing number of anglers, hot, sunny days are the perfect excuse to target other species. Longnose gar are just one of several fish in Lake Champlain that thrive in warm water. And for at least one angler, fly fishing for these ancient predators is the perfect way to spend a summer day.
If you’re looking for a summer camp experience that’s more than just a playground for your children. Then the green Mountain Conservation Camps might be for you. Back in the 1960’s former Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner, Ed Kehoe, developed a new summer camp experience for Vermont youngsters. He included traditional outdoor activities, but by integrating a strong conservation message and hands on experience with everything from firearms to bluebird boxes, Kehoe’s design offered a whole lot more. Now named in his honor, Camp Kehoe on Lake Bomoseen is a great way to introduce any child to the outdoors.
The National Audubon Important Bird Area program is part of a global effort to identify critical sites for birds all over the planet. Located in northwestern Vermont, the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of bird species and is one of the largest wetland ecosystems on Lake Champlain. The refuge is considered an Important Bird Area because of the number of endangered, threatened and priority bird species that can be found on the refuge. Two bird species that depend on the refuge are osprey and great blue herons as seen in this next segment produced by Audubon Vermont and Peregrine Productions.
Only a few decades ago, Vermont's largest native game fish was widely considered extinct in state waters. It was thought that the last, remnant population of muskellunge in the Lake Champlain basin was wiped out by a chemical spill in the 1970s. But to the delight of anglers and fisheries managers, a small but steady number of these huge, toothy fish have been caught in recent years, which has both rekindled interest in fishing for muskie and sparked renewed efforts to restore these spectacular predators in Lake Champlain.
If you want to have the lights, computer and other household appliances come on at the flip of a switch, you need to have reliable energy. Generating and transmitting electricity has never been synonymous with wildlife conservation, but today one Vermont power company is leading the way in integrating wildlife management into its mission of providing safe, dependable energy to its customers. The Vermont Electric Power Company, or VELCO, manages 635 miles of power line right-of-ways, which collectively cover almost 13,000 acres across Vermont. For years management objectives were simply to keep the power line corridor free of high-growing vegetation to prevent potential power outages. With minor changes to its management practices, VELCO is now playing an important role in providing habitat for a variety of wildlife species.
The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife’s mission is “the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.” This includes everything from moose to turtles. As more and more nesting habitat for turtles disappears due to lake shore development, Steve Perrin, the coordinator of the non-game and natural heritage program, has been researching ways to protect nesting habitat for several turtle species.
When cold December nights begin to freeze local ponds and lakes, most waterfowl hunters are packing away their guns and digging out the ice augers. But there are a few hardy souls that brave the bitter temperatures in pursuit of goldeneyes. Also known as whistlers or ice ducks, these rugged diving ducks are the often the last migratory birds found on Lake Champlain as fall gives way to winter, and they offer some of the hottest hunting of the year.
When it comes to fishing in New England it’s tough to beat the opportunities that are offered by Lake Champlain. But when the ice goes out early and you’re still looking to catch fish you don’t have to wait long or look very far. On Vermont’s east coast the Connecticut River offers some of the best walleye fishing in the northeast and in the spring the fish start biting in mid March. The walleye fishery is so good on the Connecticut that even if you miss the peak by a day or two you’re still going to get into fish especially if you’re with someone who knows where to find them.