Courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Kelly Brooks of Waterbury with a lake trout she caught recently while ice fishing on Lake Champlain in Colchester.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will be wrapping up its Lake Champlain winter angler survey in the coming weeks. The department thanks and commends anglers for their cooperation during the assessment.
“We’d like to extend our appreciation to the many anglers we’ve spoken with over the last few months during this survey,” said Louis Porter, commissioner of Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “The information provided by anglers about their ice fishing experiences is tremendously helpful to our biologists as they develop future fishery management plans for Lake Champlain.”
The survey, which began in January and sampled both the southern and northern sections of the lake, included visual counts of anglers fishing in different areas, interviews of anglers to obtain information about fishing effort and catch and harvest rates, and measurements of fish for biological data.
The key areas sampled during the survey included waters south of the Champlain Bridge, as well as Missisquoi Bay, Kelly Bay, Dillenbeck Bay, Carry Bay and LaMotte Passage at the northern end of the lake.
“Anglers at both ends of the lake–even those we surveyed several times–were very helpful with the assessment and many were glad to see the department out on the ice doing this work,” said Bernie Pientka, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “We often interviewed the same angler or anglers multiple times because of the inherent variability that comes with fishing. Some days are good, while other days aren’t as productive, and having a lot of contacts is key to obtaining quality data.”
The Lake Champlain winter angler survey will be followed by an open water angler survey later this year, as well as another winter survey in 2016.
“As a result of anglers’ cooperation this winter, we’ll be able to compare current data to previous survey results to better understand what trends may exist around angling pressure, catch rates and fish sizes in Lake Champlain. Combined, this information will allow us to continue to manage Lake Champlain fisheries in a way that is both good for the lake and good for anglers,” Pientka said.