MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont walleye fishing season opens Saturday, May 1, marking the return of some of the best walleye fishing in New England.
Excellent spring walleye fishing can be found in several Vermont lakes and rivers, including Lake Champlain and its tributaries – the Missisquoi, Lamoille, and Winooski rivers and Otter Creek. In the Northeast Kingdom, Salem Lake and Island Pond also have walleye populations that are on the rebound thanks to stocking by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
A trio of additional waters – Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, also offer quality walleye fishing.
Veteran walleye anglers use a variety of techniques, but one of the simplest and most effective is to slowly troll a nightcrawler harness near the bottom. Most nightcrawler harnesses include a rotating blade ahead of two hooks, where the worm is secured. The blade produces a fish-attracting flash and vibration. Shore-based anglers can catch walleyes on nightcrawlers or live minnows or by casting crankbaits or hard jerk baits. Walleyes are generally more active at night, so fishing in the dark is often more effective.
As a reminder to anglers, there is no open season on sauger, a close cousin to the walleye. Once abundant in southern Lake Champlain, sauger still appear there rarely. If caught while fishing for other fish, sauger must be immediately released.
Anglers can read about current fishing regulations in the 2021 Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations available free from Vermont license agents. To purchase a fishing license or learn more about fishing in Vermont, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
Vermonters are encouraged to get outside to enjoy fishing, provided they follow Covid-19 guidelines available from the Vermont Department of Health at www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus.