Courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Matt Lavallee of Winooski holds up a brown trout he caught in the Winooski River during a recent Vermont trout season. Trout stocking is underway across the state of Vermont, meaning increased opportunities for anglers.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife to stock over one million fish in 2015
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has started its annual fish stocking work, an effort that will ultimately put over 1,000,000 adult fish, fry and fingerlings–including over 18,000 trophy trout—into Vermont waters in 2015.
“Our fish culture and stocking program is designed to help maintain and restore fisheries, while also increasing angling opportunities,” said Adam Miller, fish culture operations manager with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “The entire effort is critical to supporting local fisheries and to promoting the sport of fishing in Vermont.”
Trophy trout initiative
A key component of the program is the trophy trout initiative, which has been fully restored for 2015 with the reestablishment of the trophy brook trout program.
“We’ll be stocking nearly 18,500 large, two-year old trout across Vermont, and anglers will have the opportunity to fish over 34 miles of rivers and 28 lakes and ponds that are designated as trophy water,” said Miller. “This means excellent fishing opportunities and an even better chance for anglers to catch the fish of a lifetime.”
“Vermont is fortunate to have many rivers, lakes and ponds which support naturally reproducing trout populations, including everything from small upland streams and beaver ponds that support abundant wild brook trout to larger rivers which hold wild brown and rainbow trout, as well as large cold-water lakes with wild lake trout” said Rich Kirn, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.
“That being said, where habitat conditions have limited the ability of a water body to sustain wild trout, hatchery-reared fish can be used to support popular fisheries in select waters,” said Kirn. “In determining stocking locations, trout species and densities, our biologists consider the existing fish community, angler use and public access to ensure we are making effective use of these fish while minimizing competition with wild populations.”
Landlocked Atlantic salmon, trout will be stocked
In addition to the trophy trout, Lake Champlain is scheduled to be stocked with over 434,000 landlocked Atlantic salmon, steelhead rainbow trout, brown trout and lake trout–including fry and fingerlings.
Over 230,000 yearling landlocked Atlantic salmon and brook, brown, rainbow and lake trout, as well as steelhead rainbow trout, will be stocked into Vermont streams, lakes and ponds other than Lake Champlain.
Lake and pond stocking will begin as soon as ice starts to clear, while river and stream stocking generally occurs in late April and May, after spring flows have receded and temperatures are more conducive to fishing.
However, anglers are advised to keep in mind that stocking dates may be subject to change based on weather and water conditions.
Trout fishing pays dividends
“Together, cultured and wild trout are critical pieces of our fisheries management plan, but they also provide immense recreational benefit,” said Miller. “Both stocked and wild fish create quality experiences for various anglers, including children, which helps to support outdoor activity and promote a greater connection to our natural resources.”
Miller also noted the role trout have in the substantial economic impact of fishing in Vermont. “Collectively, wild and hatchery-reared trout provide a diverse recreational trout fishery and make a significant contribution to the $131 million expended annually on fishing in Vermont,” said Miller. “Stocked fish alone generate roughly $31.6 million annually for Vermont’s economy through angler expenditures, while costing only $3.3 million to raise. Fishing really is a vital component of Vermont from a variety of angles.
For a complete 2015 stocking schedule, to purchase a fishing license or for more information on fishing in Vermont, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
The following streams will be stocked with trophy trout, starting in late April:
Black River, Cavendish-Weathersfield
East Creek, Rutland
Lamoille River, Fairfax
Mississquoi River, Enosburg
Otter Creek, Danby-Mt. Tabor
Passumpsic River, St. Johnsbury
Winooski River, Waterbury-Duxbury
Stocking of trophy trout in the following lakes and ponds is in progress:
Adams Reservoir, Woodford
Amherst Lake, Plymouth
Black Pond, Hubbardton
Colby Pond, Plymouth
Colton Pond, Killington
Echo Lake, Plymouth
Goshen Dam, Goshen
Harriman Reservoir, Wilmington-Whitingham
Holland Pond, Holland
Kent Pond, Killington
Knapp Pond No. 1, Reading-Cavendish
Knapp Pond No. 2, Reading-Cavendish
Lake Paran, Bennington-Shaftsbury
Lake Raponda, Wilmington
Lake Rescue, Ludlow
Lake Shaftsbury, Shaftsbury
Lefferts Pond, Chittenden
May Pond, Barton
McIntosh Pond, Royalton
Mill Pond, Windsor
Miller Pond, Stafford
Osmore Pond, Peacham
Rood Pond, Williamstown-Brookfield
Searsburg Reservoir, Searsburg
Smith Pond, Pittsford
Stoughton Pond, Weathersfield
Sunset Lake, Brookfield
Zack Woods-Perch Ponds, Hyde Park-Wolcott