Champlain's Bass Fishery
By Wayne LaRoche

It has been a nice spring so far. I picked night crawlers on the lawn in front of the Agency of Natural Resources' Center Building and went fishing last month. Yes, I actually did get out "bullpout" fishing a couple of times in early May. It seems that I spend plenty of time thinking about fish and fishing and not enough time casting a line.

The first night Colonel Rooks and I went was a little too close to ice out. The water was a bit cold, and the moon was bright. The only thing we saw swimming on Charcoal Creek that night was a dozen or so muskrats.

It was warmer on my next outing. The fish bit best for an hour or so before dark. I got a chance to visit with folks and caught a five gallon bucket full in a few hours. Now I have fish in my freezer for a change.

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Fishing kicks into high gear in June with the opening of bass season on the 14th. This year, both the opening of bass season and beginning of the LCI Fishing Tournament fall on Free Fishing Day.

Free Fishing Day is a great time to expose your children to fishing. Anyone may go fishing on Free Fishing Day without a license. You can just take your kids out "on your own hook." Or, you can take them to one of the children's fishing events that will be taking place on June 14th. The "Grand Isle Fishing Festival" at the Fish Hatchery offers a great opportunity for your kids to tie into some whopping big, trophy size trout in the hatchery pond. Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department staff and volunteers will be there to give you and your children fishing-related instruction on everything from casting a line through knot tying and dressing the fish the kids catch.

The Grand Isle Fishing Festival is always well attended and a big hit with the kids even if it rains. Hundreds of people enjoy this event every year. Let's Go Fishing instructors also will hold a special fishing education session at Lake St. Catherine State Park in Poultney from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Don't miss these opportunities on Free Fishing Day, June 14th.

As for bass, Vermont has some of the best bass fishing in the country. Lake Champlain is recognized nationwide as having a superb bass fishery. But, Lake Champlain is not the only place to fish for bass in Vermont. Good bass fishing can also be found in Lakes Carmi, Bomoseen, Memphremagog, and St. Catherine as well as many other lakes and ponds scattered across the state.

If you don't have a big boat, you can use a canoe or kayak or even fish bass from the stream bank on many of Vermont's Rivers. The Missisquoi, Lamoille and Winooski Rivers as well as Otter and Lewis Creeks are good places to take some nice bass.

I am hoping for a nice summer. But, any day is a good day to go fishing! Well O.Ků, almost any day.

Don't forget to buy your fishing license. And, don't forget to take the kids with you.

Have a good summer.

Wayne Laroche is Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Commissioner.

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