Trout fishing season in Vermont opens April 13

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MONTPELIER — Vermont's traditional trout fishing season is set to open Saturday, April 13, and despite recent cold weather and lingering snow cover across the state, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife says anglers can still have fun and be successful early in the season.

"Just like any other time of year, anglers fishing early in the spring should adjust their tactics based on conditions," said State Fisheries Biologist Bret Ladago. "Given the recent cold weather and deep snow pack, conditions may be challenging, but if you can find a good location and present your bait or lure without spooking the trout, you could have the catch of a lifetime before the snow even melts!"

"Finding a small to medium low-elevation river or stream that is clear of ice and not too murky from spring runoff can be key. Trout are coldblooded and may be slow to bite especially if water temperatures linger around freezing, so it's important that they can also see your bait, lure or fly."

Larger baits can often be effective for enticing early-season trout into biting. Spin-anglers should try nightcrawlers, egg imitations, or bright colored spoons and spinners. Fly anglers may find success in the early season by drifting large, more visible flies such as wooly buggers, streamers, or San Juan worms along the bottom in slower pools and runs.

Trout will often hold close to the bottom in the deeper areas of streams during high flow conditions to conserve energy. Choose locations and tactics that allow you to fish using a slow retrieval right along the bottom. Focus on deep holes behind current breaks created by big boulders, downed trees or log-jams where trout may be resting. If possible, approach the hole from downstream as trout will often orient themselves facing the current.

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While Vermont offers excellent and diverse fishing opportunities for wild trout, stocking also occurs in many streams and rivers where wild trout populations are low or absent. This generally happens between May and June each year following spring runoff. Check Vermont Fish and Wildlife's website for a regularly updated stocking schedule.

"Angling success may be improved by focusing on waters known to hold wild trout," said Ladago. "Despite unpredictable weather during early spring, each year anglers report catching impressive trout during opening weekend."

Anglers who like to fish and release their catch don't need to wait for opening day. There are year-round catch-and-release fishing opportunities for trout and bass in Vermont. See pages 35-36 of the 2019 Vermont Fishing Guide and Regulations for a list of rivers open to year-round trout fishing.

The Guide is a helpful tool for planning a fishing trip as it includes maps showing rivers and lakes, as well as fishing access areas and public lands for fishing and hunting. It also lists the fish species found in each body of water. Copies are available free where fishing licenses are sold or by calling the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department at 802-828-1190.

A digital version is available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife's website vtfishandwildlife.com.


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