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The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is proposing to simplify fishing regulations to make them easier to understand and would like your input at virtual public meetings on Oct. 13 and 14.

"We want to have fishing regulations that are easier to comprehend for new anglers and those who would like to fish in unfamiliar lakes or streams," said Commissioner Louis Porter. "Vermont's fishing regulations have become increasingly complex in over the years, and we believe they can be simpler and still protect our fish populations while encouraging people to enjoy Vermont's wealth of fishing opportunities.

"Some regulations are proposed to be eliminated while others would be consolidated. In some cases, for example, length limits and daily creel limits could be standardized for a species in most waters.

"Simplifying the regulations would also make it possible to improve the annual Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations we provide to anglers," Porter added.

The book currently has 11 different regulation tables, while a revised version is proposed to have only three. A reduction in the number of waters with special regulations would shorten the Index of Rivers and Streams and Index of Lakes and Ponds sections.

Anglers would also be able to fish most Vermont waters at any time of year with artificial lures or flies if they practice catch-and-release, while a few seasonally closed waters or areas with special regulations would remain closed.

The department will hold two online public informational meetings to introduce its proposed changes. A presentation will be given at each meeting followed by a question and answer period. The presentation and additional information will also be available on Vermont Fish and Wildlife's website at vtfishandwildlife.com/fishing-regulation-simplification for anglers to review if they are unable to attend one of the meetings.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife will hold its public meetings by Zoom on Oct. 13 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and Oct. 14 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Join a meeting by computer or smartphone at us02web.zoom.us/j/87534865303. Meeting ID: 875 3486 5303.

Join a meeting by telephone by calling 929-436-2866. Meeting ID: 875 3486 5303.

The department will be collecting comments on the proposal through Nov. 18 by email: ANR.fwpubliccomment@vermont.gov, or by regular mail: Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, ATTN: Fishing Regulation Comments, 1 National Life Dr., Montpelier, VT 05620-3702.

These informational meetings are not part of the formal Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board rule making process and will help guide the creation of a formal regulation proposal which will start the rule making process in 2021. Formal public hearings and additional opportunities for public input and comment will occur in 2021, giving residents and anglers a second opportunity to make their voices heard before any changes are made.

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