The joys of spring fishing in Vermont

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MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says as temperatures warm, songbirds return and the ice recedes, a shift in fish behavior also occurs. Many fish species commonly found in lakes and ponds throughout Vermont become more active, feed more regularly and provide a great opportunity to catch fish with relatively little effort.

"While some anglers focus on the challenge of catching trout during early spring, there are other ways to enjoy fishing without having to wade through ice cold water," State Fisheries Biologist Bret Ladago said in a release. "Species such as bluegill, pumpkinseed, crappie, rock bass, and yellow perch are common in many of our waters and become more active during this time of year as they prepare for spawning. These fish can be easily accessed from shore, making them ideal for a wide variety of anglers looking to enjoy spring fishing in Vermont. Using only a hook, worm and bobber, you can catch fish, have fun and relax."

The fish and wildlife department recommends the following:

Rig your bobber at least 1 to 2 feet above the hook. Most fish will not be right at the surface, so the deeper you can get your bait the better. If the bobber is too far from the hook, it will be difficult to cast and may become tangled. Bait the hook with a worm, or any other tasty fish treats you have. If you do not want to venture to a store, bait like worms and grubs can be found in many backyard places, such as gardens, compost piles and under logs and rocks. Cast your bait out at least 10 feet and wait. Sit back and enjoy being surrounded by nature but keep an eye on your bobber. Once you see the bobber move, wait a few more seconds, set the hook and then reel in your catch.

Try to match the size of your hook to the fish you are catching. If the hook is too small, it will be easier for a larger fish to swallow. If it's too large, they may not be able to get it in their mouth. Consider pinching the barb on the hook if you do not intend to keep your catch.

"For folks who want to eat their catch, there's nothing better than a fresh meal of perch, crappie or bluegill caught in our local waters," Ladago said. "They make for an excellent, healthy, locally-sourced meal for your family."

For more information is available at https://vtfishandwildlife.com/fish/fishing-regulations

The Fish and Wildlife Department urges anglers to use good judgement to keep everyone safe and reduce the spread of the coronavirus:

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- Fish within 10 miles of your home to minimize travel

- Refrain from carpooling. Drive to your local fishing spots with only 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. A good way to measure this is with your fishing pole! Hold the pole straight out in front you. If you can turn in a circle without hitting anyone, that is a safe distance.

- 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


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