Vermont trout season opens April 8

Officials recommend fishing low and slow, among other tips

Trout Fishing
Dave Kraus of Rutland with an early spring brook trout he caught and released while fishing on the Second Branch of the White River. Photo Provided by VT Fish & Wildlife

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont’s traditional trout fishing season is set to open on Saturday, April 8. Despite extended cold weather across the state in recent weeks, officials from Vermont Fish & Wildlife say anglers can be successful early in the season by following a few basic tips.

“Just like any other time of the year, anglers fishing early in the spring should adjust their tactics based on the conditions,” said Brett Ladago, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Given the cold weather and runoff from recent storms and snow melt, water levels will be high, flows will be faster than normal, and water temperatures will be cold.

“As a result, anglers may want to target small to medium, low-elevation rivers and streams where flows slow and waters warm more quickly,” added Ladago. “Finding water that isn’t too muddy can be key, and slowing your lure or bait retrieval will help tempt sluggish trout into biting.”

Ladago also said that fishing slowly with worms or spinners through deep holes behind current breaks created by big boulders, downed trees or log-jams can be productive for early season trout.

Vermont is known for its excellent and diverse fishing opportunities for wild trout. Trout stocking in streams and rivers generally occurs in May following spring runoff; therefore most early season fishing is entirely supported by wild trout.

“Angling success may be improved by focusing on waters known to hold wild fish,” said Ladago. “Despite unpredictable and often extreme 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 2017 Vermont Fishing Guide and Regulations Digest for a list of rivers open to year-round trout fishing.

The digest 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. It also lists the fish species found in each body of water. Copies of the digest are available where fishing licenses are sold, by calling the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department at 802-828-1000, or visiting

To purchase a fishing license, view department trout stocking schedules, or learn more about fishing in Vermont, visit

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