Pictured above: Scott Massie of Rutland holds two bass he caught and released while fishing on Lake Champlain last week. Cooling water temperatures across Vermont are triggering increased fish feeding activity, bringing some of the best fishing action of the year.
Vermont Fish An Wildlife lists hot fall fishing opportunities throughout the state
A recent mix of cool nights and unseasonably warm days has created optimal conditions for fall fishing, and anglers throughout Vermont are reporting that the action is beginning to pick up for both warm and cold-water fish species.
“Summertime conditions seemed to delay the fall bite a little bit, but cooler nights in the past few weeks have started to lower water temperatures and jumpstart feeding activity,” said Chris Adams, information specialist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “I’ve personally experienced tremendous bass and pike fishing in recent days, and have heard reports that the trout bite is also heating up on both the streams and lakes.”
With the onset of fall and cooling water temperatures, many of Vermont’s fish species begin to feed heavily. From cold water species like trout and salmon, to warm water species such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and walleye, fish become more active as they feed to boost their energy reserves to sustain themselves during the winter.
“Fall truly is an incredible time to be on the water in Vermont, and anglers who keep their rods and tackle out a little longer are often rewarded with some of the best fishing action of the year,” said Adams. “Not only can the fishing be red-hot, but angling pressure and boat traffic also declines on Vermont waters, meaning you may have your favorite fishing spot all to yourself.”
Vermont Fish & Wildlife is reminding anglers of key upcoming season dates relating to fall fishing:
- October 31: Trout & Salmon Season Closes (all waters except Lake Champlain)
- November 1: Trout Catch & Release Angling Opens on Select Waters
- November 30: Bass Season Closes
- December 1: Bass Catch & Release Angling Opens on Select Waters
The department has also compiled a few popular Vermont fall fishing opportunities, including locations and tactics, that anglers might consider.
Smallmouth Bass – Northern Lake Champlain – Target smallmouth on rocky points and shorelines with scattered vegetation in 2 to 15 feet of water around the areas of North Hero, Alburg, Isle La Motte, West Swanton and St. Albans. Moving baits such as spinnerbaits, stickbaits and top-water lures can be very productive, as can finesse presentations such as drop-shotting plastics or dragging jigs on the bottom.
Brook Trout – Job’s Pond – Job’s Pond is home to some of the largest brook trout in Vermont and they can be caught by casting or trolling streamer flies, spoons or spinners in less than 10 feet of water. Anglers should note the special size and harvest restrictions for Job’s Pond.
Rainbow and Brown Trout – Passumpsic River – Try targeting browns and rainbows with spoons, spinners or stickbaits below any of the seven hydropower dams on the river. Deep, slow pools can also be productive. The Passumpsic is home to some true trophies, including stocked trout.
Landlocked Atlantic Salmon – Clyde River – The Clyde River hosts a fall spawning run of landlocked Atlantic salmon from Lake Memphremagog. Try fishing from the Clyde Street bridge upstream to the Great Bay Hydro Station. Streamers or small nymphs can trick some of the wiser fish in this stretch. In October, the use of live bait is prohibited and all salmon must be released.
Smallmouth Bass – Lake Fairlee, Lake Morey, Waterbury Reservoir, Wrightsville Reservoir– Aggressive, feeding smallmouths can be caught using spinnerbaits, stickbaits, crankbaits and top-water plugs. Smallies can also be caught with finesse presentations such as drop-shotting plastics or dragging jigs on the bottom.
Brook Trout – The Central Vermont area features countless tributaries above 1,000 feet in elevation which are home to healthy populations of vibrantly-colored native brook trout that can be a blast to pursue and delicious on the table for those who wish to keep them.
Rainbow Trout – White River – Try fishing with spinners, flies or bait in deep pools and slow-moving riffles.
Brown Trout – Lake Fairlee, Miller Pond, Peacham Pond and Nelson Pond – Try fishing for brown trout by slowly trolling a spoon or spinner 10 to 15 feet below the water’s surface.
Brook and Brown Trout – Battenkill River and larger tributaries including West and East Branches, Roaring Branch and Green River – Due to significant cold groundwater input, these streams hold up well during the summer and offer great fishing opportunities for brook and brown trout through the fall. A range of fly fishing and spin casting tactics can be effective.
Bass and Panfish – Connecticut River (including setbacks), Gale Meadows Pond, Lake Raponda, the Plymouth Lakes, Lowell Lake and Lake Sadawga – A mix of artificial lures and live bait presentations can trick both bass and panfish throughout these waterbodies. Grubs, spinners, bottom jigs, drop-shot rigs and a standard worm and bobber setup can all be effective. Use smaller offerings for panfish, and experiment with both smaller and larger selections for bass.