MONTPELIER - The Vermont walleye fishing season will open on Saturday, May 2, marking the return of some of the best walleye fishing in New England.
Revered by many as one of the best tasting fish in freshwater, the walleye is Vermont's official warmwater fish. The state offers excellent spring walleye fishing opportunities in several lakes and rivers across the state. Opportunities include Lake Champlain and its tributaries - the Missisquoi, Lamoille and Winooski rivers and Otter Creek. In the Northeast Kingdom, Salem Lake and Island Pond also have walleye populations that are on the rebound thanks to stocking by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
A trio of additional waters - Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River - also offer quality walleye fishing.
Veteran walleye anglers employ a variety of techniques, but one of the simplest and most effective methods is to slowly troll a nightcrawler harness near the bottom. Most nightcrawler harnesses include a rotating blade ahead of two hooks, where the worm is secured. The blade produces a fish-attracting flash and vibration. Shore-based anglers can catch walleyes on nightcrawlers or live minnows or by casting crankbaits or hard jerk baits. Walleyes are generally more active at night, so fishing in the dark is often more effective.
As a reminder to anglers, there is no open season on sauger, a close cousin to the walleye. Once abundant in southern Lake Champlain, sauger still appear there rarely. If caught while fishing for other fish, sauger must be immediately released.
Anglers can read about current fishing regulations in the 2020 Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations, available free from Vermont license agents. To purchase a fishing license or learn more about fishing in Vermont, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
Vermonters are encouraged to get outside to enjoy fishing provided they can do so while meeting social distancing and other guidelines. In addition, to the greatest extent possible, outdoor activities should take place as close to home as possible to minimize travel and potential risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Please use good judgement to keep yourself and others safe and reduce the spread of the coronavirus:
Refrain from carpooling. Drive to your fishing spots only with your immediate family members and only if everyone is feeling well.
When fishing from shore, keep a distance of at least six feet between you and your companions.
Don't share fishing gear with others. Each angler should have their own fishing gear (rod and reels, bait, lures, towels, pliers, and other personal items).
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Clean your gear well after using it.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after fishing.
For information about staying safe while enjoying outdoor activities, check here: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19
For more info on COVID-19 and health guidelines, visit: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus