VT Fish & Wildlife photo
Ice fishing in Vermont can produce big fish like this northern
pike as well as fun-filled memories to last a lifetime.
Vermont offers great ice fishing on lakes throughout the state
when ice conditions are safe. Vermont Fish & Wildlife
recommends at least six inches of solid ice for safe ice
Vermont's premier fishing destination, Lake Champlain, offers
many ice fishing opportunities. According to the Vermont Fish
& Wildlife Department, ice anglers can find quality fishing for
many species on this 120-mile long lake, including landlocked
salmon, lake trout, northern pike, yellow perch, white perch,
walleye, crappie, and smelt.
"Lake Champlain attracts twice as much fishing activity during
the winter as during the summer, particularly in the northern third
of the lake," said State Fisheries Biologist Brian Chipman.
"The plentiful yellow perch is the mainstay of the winter fishery,
but many ice anglers also find good fishing for other species."
Traditional northern pike hotspots include Lake Champlain's
Kelley Bay, Missisquoi Bay, Dillenbeck Bay, Carry Bay, Keeler Bay,
St. Albans Bay, the shallow flats south of the Sandbar Causeway
between Milton and South Hero, and the area south of the Champlain
Bridge from Addison to Benson.
Later, as more ice forms, landlocked salmon and smelt can be
caught in the Inland Sea north of the Sandbar Causeway. There is no
closed season for trout and salmon on Lake Champlain.
If cold weather provides good ice on the deep-water areas of the
lake, lake trout will be found off the west shore of Grand Isle and
in Outer Mallets Bay, Shelburne Bay, Converse Bay, and Button Bay
south to the Champlain Bridge. Smelt can be caught in several
of these areas, as well as at other sites between Thompsons Point
and Button Bay. While walleyes can show up anywhere in Lake
Champlain, the most consistent winter action can be found in the
southern end of the lake off Benson and Orwell, as well as the
northern end in Swanton and Alburg.
Yellow perch and other panfish are being caught at sheltered
Lake Champlain bays and shallows as well as on some other Vermont
Vermont's ice fishing season for trout, salmon and bass starts
January 19 and continues through March 15 on 40 large Vermont
lakes. For a list of those lakes, go to page 55 of the 2013
Vermont Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping, available where
licenses are sold and at www.vtfishandwildlife.com.