Autumn provides some of the year’s best fishing opportunities in Vermont’s streams, rivers, and lakes, and you may just have the water all to yourself.
Hot temperatures in July and August can make fishing difficult for many species like trout, salmon, pike and walleye. But once the water starts to cool down in the fall, these fish start biting again.
“River temperatures are hovering around the mid-50’s, which is the optimal temperature for fishing for rainbows, browns, and brookies,” said Jud Kratzer, fisheries biologist for the Fish & Wildlife Department. “Anglers who troll for rainbow trout and salmon are usually successful right until the season closes.”
Many Vermont waters also receive much less fishing pressure during the fall with summer vacations over and kids back in school. “Fall is the perfect time for anglers who enjoy solitude to get out and fish,” said Kratzer.
Fall fishing hotspots include fishing for walleye on the Connecticut River and fishing for landlocked salmon on the Clyde River. Several stretches of rivers in Vermont have recently been opened for year round catch and release fishing opportunities. The Lake Champlain region is also a great destination for late-fall fishing, as the water cools down more slowly than in other areas of the state.
The high quality landlocked salmon fishing on Lake Champlain makes getting out in cooler fall weather a worthwhile venture. Late season tributary fishing is often overlooked and can produce salmon and steelhead through late fall, as well as continued steelhead fishing right through the winter as river conditions and regulations allow.
Fishing for salmon and trout on Lake Champlain in the late fall is much like fishing for them in early spring. “Deep trolling equipment is not necessary, but can sometimes be used to anglers’ advantage,” said Kratzer. “The fish will sometimes feed near the surface, where the action can be spectacular when trolling streamers with a fly rod or spoons with spinning tackle.”
Anglers interested in tributary fishing for salmon should try the lower sections of the Lamoille and Winooski Rivers. For specific regulations on different waterways and more information on fishing in Vermont, see the Fish and Wildlife Law Digest and Guide at vt.fishandwildlife.com.