MONTPELIER, Vt. – Late February and early March are prime time for ice fishing, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
“The warmer days and cold nights we normally have in late February and early March offer some of our best ice fishing of the year,” said Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “For safety reasons, you need to watch ice conditions as we get closer to spring, but this is prime time to enjoy the great ice fishing we have on many Vermont lakes.”
Lake Champlain offers lots of high quality ice fishing opportunities. According to Porter, ice anglers can find good fishing for a variety of species on this 120-mile long lake, including landlocked salmon, lake trout, northern pike, yellow perch, white perch, walleye, and crappie.
Northern pike hotspots include Lake Champlain's Kelley Bay, Missisquoi Bay, Dillenbeck Bay, Carry Bay, Keeler Bay, St. Albans Bay, the shallow flats south of the Sandbar Causeway between Milton and South Hero, and the area south of the Champlain Bridge from Addison to Benson.
Landlocked salmon can be caught in the Inland Sea north of the Sandbar Causeway. There is no closed season for trout and salmon on Lake Champlain.
Lake trout are found off the west shore of Grand Isle and North Hero, as well as in Outer Mallets Bay, Shelburne Bay, and Button Bay south to the Champlain Bridge. While walleyes can show up anywhere in Lake Champlain, the most consistent winter action can be found in the southern end of the lake off Benson and Orwell, as well as the northern end in Swanton and Alburgh.
Yellow perch and other panfish are being caught throughout Lake Champlain in the bays and shallows as well as on many other Vermont waters.
Vermont’s ice fishing season for trout, salmon and bass starts January 20 and continues through March 15 on 41 other large Vermont lakes. For a list of those lakes, go to page 36 of the “2018 Vermont Fishing Guide and Regulations” available where licenses are sold and digitally on Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).
To locate places to stay and get help on the latest fishing activity, go to the Vermont Outdoor Guides Association website (www.voga.org) and click on "ice fishing."
Baitfish information and a list of Vermont approved bait dealers are available on VTF&W’s website here: http://vtfishandwildlife.com/cms/one.aspx?portalid=73163&pageid=132485.
And Fish & Wildlife provides these important safety tips: https://www.takemefishing.org/ice-fishing/ice-fishing-basics/ice-fishing-safety/