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Vermont walleye season opens Saturday, May 1

Saturday, May 1 — The Vermont walleye fishing season opens on Saturday, May 1, marking the return of some of the best walleye fishing in New England.

Courtesy of VTF&W

Chase Stokes of Ferrisburgh caught this nice one last year on May 21 while fishing at Otter Creek.

Excellent spring walleye fishing can be found in several Vermont lakes and rivers, including Lake Champlain and its tributaries — the Missisquoi, Lamoille and Winooski rivers and Otter Creek. In the Northeast Kingdom, Salem Lake and Island Pond also have walleye populations that are on the rebound thanks to stocking by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept.

Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, also offer quality walleye fishing.

Veteran walleye anglers use a variety of techniques, but one of the simplest and most effective is to slowly troll a nightcrawler harness near the bottom. Most nightcrawler harnesses include a rotating blade ahead of two hooks, where the worm is secured. The blade produces a fish-attracting flash and vibration. Shore-based anglers can catch walleyes on nightcrawlers or live minnows or by casting crankbaits or hard jerk baits. Walleyes are generally more active at night, so fishing in the dark is often more effective.

As a reminder to anglers, there is no open season on sauger, a close cousin to the walleye. Once abundant in southern Lake Champlain, sauger still appear there rarely. If caught while fishing for other fish, sauger must be immediately released.

For more information or to purchase a fishing license, visit: vtfishandwildlife.com.

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