On February 14, 2023

Three record-setting fish caught in Vermont in 2022

Three fish caught in 2022 were certified as new state records.

In February, Swanton angler Matt Gingras landed a new Vermont record burbot while fishing on northern Lake Champlain in the West Swanton area. The burbot, caught on a live golden shiner set under a tip-up, weighed 10.9 pounds and measured 32 ½ inches long with a 17-inch girth.  It beat the previous state record burbot caught in 2012 by 2.1 pounds.

 Unfortunately for Gingras, his reign as the state record burbot holder lasted just two months.  In early April while open water bass fishing on Lake Champlain around South Hero, Stephen Estes of Auburn, New Hampshire, caught an 11.0 pound burbot casting a Ned Rig.  The fish measured 34 inches in length and had a 17 ½-inch girth.

 In May of 2022, North Hero angler Jacob Kinney was out bowfishing at night for carp on Lake Champlain and took a fish that weighed an incredible 63.4 pounds.  This monster carp smashed the previous record set just last year by Bradley DiSorda – a fish that weighed 44 pounds 11 ounces, also taken on Lake Champlain by bow.  Kinney’s new record measured 39 ¼ inches in length while its girth was an immense 37 ¼-inches.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist Shawn Good, who administers the state’s Record Fish Program, says Kinney’s carp is the heaviest fish ever entered in the program.

 “The department started tracking state record fish in 1969, and this 63 pound carp is far and away the largest fish ever entered,” said Good.  “As a matter of fact, looking through the more than 1,200 entries received over the last 53 years, seven of the ten biggest fish on the list are carp.  The other three fish in the Top 10 are a muskellunge, a lake trout and a channel catfish.”

 Good says with the increased interest in carp fishing in North American waters in the last 10-20 years, Kinney’s giant really shines a light on the potential Lake Champlain has as a world class carp fishing destination.

 “Bradley’s record carp last year was no slouch at nearly 45 pounds,” said Good.  “But then Jacob’s fish beating it by nearly 20 pounds is really just mind blowing.”

 Good says that at 265,000 acres and 120-miles long, Lake Champlain offers a nearly untapped carp population that receives very little attention.

 “I think that die-hard carpers, whether they fish European style, or go after them with fly gear, would be floored at what Champlain has to offer.  The lake not only produces trophy sized fish but it also provides consistent action for carp in the 15 to 20 pound range.  It truly is a carp angler’s dream paradise.”

 Good says that for anglers looking for new challenges and adventures, Vermont provides many overlooked fishing opportunities. 

 “Vermont has an abundance of waters with a wide diversity of fish species that can be targeted and caught by hook-and-line, which speaks to both the variety and quality of sport fishing opportunities supported by healthy waters and good aquatic habitat,” said Good.

 A great example of that, according to Good, is seeing the burbot record broken three times in the last 10 years, and twice last year in just a two-month span.

 “While fishing remains excellent for more traditional species such as bass, trout, salmon, and pike, there are so many other fish out there that can provide amazing action with real trophy potential.  Fish like burbot, bowfin, drum, gar, fallfish, suckers — the opportunities are endless,” said Good. 

 “The three records set in 2022 just reinforce the notion that Vermont anglers are expanding their fishing pursuits and having a great time while doing it.” 

For more information on Vermont’s fishing opportunities, Record Fish Program and more, visit Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s Fish page at  Vtfishandwildlife.com/fish.

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