On December 28, 2022

Chittenden Reservoir Walleye fishing restrictions revised starting Jan. 1

Sunday, Jan. 1 — RUTLAND — Walleye fishing restrictions on Chittenden Reservoir have been modified to help improve fishing opportunities and natural reproduction of the walleye population, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Starting Jan. 1, walleye fishing on Chittenden Reservoir will be as follows:

  • Legal Length Limit: 18 to 20 inches. All walleye under 18 and over 20 inches must be released.
  • Daily Limit: 1 walleye.
  • Open Season: June 1 through March 15.

The “Test Water Designation” changes were made due to concerns over declining walleye size in the reservoir and the discovery by fisheries biologists in November that walleyes are now reproducing at the reservoir.

“We have been stocking walleyes into Chittenden Reservoir since 1993 and on an every-other-year basis since 2001, said Vermont Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist Shawn Good. “Past fisheries surveys concluded that walleyes were not successfully reproducing. All walleyes collected and analyzed since stocking began in 1993 were hatchery fish, based on marks we apply to the fish in the hatchery for later identification.”

“However, in early November of 2022, we spent two nights electrofishing around the shoreline and collected 327 walleyes that were between 5 inches and 7 inches long. Walleyes this size in late fall would have hatched in the spring of 2022. We did not stock walleyes in 2022.  The last year the Reservoir was stocked with hatchery fish was 2021.”

“These 5- to 7-inch walleyes were wild, naturally produced fish from the reservoir. Also, the 327 young walleyes is nearly three times as many as we would collect in the fall during a normal stocking year when up to 45,000 walleyes were stocked.”

“One of the objectives of the new test water designation,” Good added, “is to protect prime spawning-sized walleyes, but also to allow some harvest of the most abundant sized walleyes at 18-20 inches. Restricting the harvest of walleyes over 20 inches will help rebuild the number of those larger fish and ensure they will continue spawning.  We will monitor this emerging wild spawning success on the reservoir over time and determine if it continues, if it is consistent and if it is able to sustain the population and fishing pressure.”

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