MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont’s traditional trout fishing season opens Saturday, April 11, and despite lingering snow cover, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says anglers can still have fun and be successful early in the season while following COVID-19 safety precautions.
“Just like any other time of year, anglers fishing early in the spring should adjust their tactics based on conditions,” said State Fisheries biologist Shawn Good. “Trout will become more active with warmer water temperatures, and despite an early spring, most streams and rivers are still quite cold. But if you can find a good location and present your bait or lure without spooking the trout, you can enjoy getting outside and you have a good chance of catching a few fish.”
Larger baits can often be more effective for enticing early-season trout into biting. 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 logjams where trout may be resting.
“Early in the season, like on opening weekend, you’ll probably have more success if you focus on waters known to hold wild trout,” said Good. “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 the “2020 Vermont Fishing Guide and Regulations” for a list of rivers open to year-round trout fishing. The guide is available on Fish & Wildlife’s website at www.eregulations.com/vermont/fishing.
The Fish and Wildlife Department urges anglers to use good judgment to keep everyone safe and reduce the spread of the coronavirus:
- Refrain from carpooling. Drive to your fishing spots only with 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.
- 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 www.vtfishandwildlife.com/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19. For more information on COVID-19 and health guidelines, visit www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus.