Category Archives: News

News and events around the Lake Champlain Valley of northern New York and Vermont and southern Quebec

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Upgrading Fishing Access Areas

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Upgrading Fishing Access Areas

Department Focusing on ADA Accessibility Improvements

 

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Upgrading Fishing Access AreasThe Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is over halfway to completion on a series of fishing access area improvement projects designed to enhance accessibility for anglers and boaters, including those with disabilities.

“We’re working on various improvements to a number of fishing access areas across the state, all with the common goal of making the areas more user-friendly for all boaters and anglers,” said Mike Wichrowski, lands and facilities administrator with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “One key component of the projects is ADA accessibility, including improved docks, access paths and parking spaces.”

This summer, eight new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant docks have been installed at fishing access areas in Rutland, Newport, Orleans, Addison and Essex counties.

New docks can be found at Lake St. Catherine in Wells, Whipple Point and South Bay on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Seymour Lake in Morgan, Crystal Lake in Barton, Island Pond in Brighton, Larrabee’s Point on Lake Champlain in Shoreham, and Benson Landing on Lake Champlain in Benson.

Additional access area upgrades are planned for next summer at Marshfield Reservoir in Cabot, Big Salem Lake in Derby, Chimney Point on Lake Champlain in Addison, and Lake Dunmore in Salisbury. Improvements will include ADA access paths and paved parking areas.

“We are always working to bring more access areas into alignment with the 2010 ADA standards for accessible design, and are proud to offer the public over 20 sites across the state that meet those requirements,” Wichrowski said.

In total, Vermont Fish & Wildlife maintains more than 180 developed fishing access areas that are open to the public, free of charge, year-round.

To find a fishing access area or learn more about Vermont’s access area program, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com. For a complete listing of current ADA accessible access areas, use the “advanced search” option found on the fishing access areas page, and select the “universal access” filter.

Anyone with questions about Vermont’s fishing access areas may contact Mike Wichrowski at 802-917-1347.

 

Two fish certified as new Vermont state records

Two fish caught in Lake Champlain tributaries certified as new Vermont state records

 

Chase Stokes of Ferrisburgh holds the new Vermont state record carp he caught while fishing the Otter Creek in April - one of two new Vermont State records

Chase Stokes set a new state record for carp with this catch, weighing 33.25 pounds and measuring 40 inches in length. The carp was one of two new Vermont State records

 

A new state record carp, weighing 33.25 pounds and measuring 40 inches in length, was caught in Otter Creek by Ferrisburgh angler Chase Stokes in April. Stokes, an accomplished Vermont youth angler, caught the carp in the town of Panton. The fish had a total girth of 26.5 inches at its widest point. The former record carp weighed 33 pounds and measured 35 inches.

A second state record for redhorse sucker has also been certified. In May Mike Elwood of Burlington caught a redhorse sucker in the Winooski River that weighed 9.96 pounds, measured 29 inches in length and had a total girth of 18 inches. Elwood caught the redhorse sucker in the town of Colchester. The previous record redhorse sucker weighed 9 pounds and measured 27.5 inches in length.

 

Mike Elwood of Burlington with the new Vermont state record redhorse sucker he caught while fishing the Winooski River in May - one of two new Vermont State records

Mike Elwood of Burlington landed a redhorse sucker in the Winooski River in May which weighed 9.96 pounds, measured 29 inches in length and had a total girth of 18 inches. It was one of two new Vermont State records

Both of the new Vermont state records were made official this week after a thorough review process by fisheries biologists from Vermont Fish & Wildlife. The records are for the traditional method of angling, as opposed to bowfishing which are also recognized for records for both species.

 

“The two fish add to the remarkable list of record fish being caught in Vermont year in and year out,” said Shawn Good, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “15 state records have been set for individual species of fish since 2010, and that list will likely grow as more and more anglers chase many of Vermont’s lesser-known, non-traditional fish species.

“We currently certify records for 41 different species of fish found in Vermont, so the opportunities for anglers to learn about and target trophy-class fish of a range of species are tremendous,” added Good. “Chase and Mike are both accomplished anglers and long-time participants of our Master Angler program, and their catches are certainly indicative of both their talent and passion for fishing.”

 

Good also noted that the frequency of record fish catches in Vermont in recent years provides added incentive for anglers to get out on the water this summer and fall.

 

“There seems to be some extra buzz in the Vermont angling community right now given the quality of fish being caught regularly across so many different species,” said Good. “It’s always exciting to go fishing, and it makes it that much more exhilarating when you know your very next cast could lead to a new state record.”

 

To learn more about Vermont’s record fish program, fishing in Vermont, or to purchase a fishing license, visit vtfishandwildlife.com.

Fishing Access Areas Are Not Safe for Swimming

Fishing Access Areas Are Not Safe for Swimming

 

Fishing Access Areas Are Not Safe for SwimmingVermont’s Fish & Wildlife Department reminds the public not to swim at fishing access areas due to safety concerns. The primary use for the fishing access areas is to launch and retrieve motorboats.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department maintains over 180 developed fishing access areas on lakes and rivers throughout the state. These areas have permitted uses determined by law, and swimming is not one of them.

Fish & Wildlife regulations prohibit certain uses of fishing access areas including, but not limited to — swimming, littering, camping, picnicking, making a fire, parking of vehicles not related to priority uses, and commercial activity.

The access areas were purchased and are maintained with funds from the sale of fishing licenses and motorboat registrations, as well as a federal excise tax on fishing equipment, fishing tackle, and gasoline for motorboats. These funding sources explicitly prohibit activities that are in conflict with fishing and boating.

“It’s great that people want to get out in the water, but a boat ramp is not the right place to go swimming,” said Mike Wichrowski who oversees the Fishing Access Area Program. “There’s a reason motorboats aren’t allowed in swimming areas, and swimming isn’t allowed at fishing access areas — it’s simply not safe.”

In recent weeks Vermont game wardens have responded to several incidents involving people swimming at fishing access areas. In some cases people, including children, were swimming right at the boat ramps while boats were being launched, risking injury or preventing the launching of boats.Fish and wildlife access sign Fishing Access Areas Are Not Safe for Swimming

“We understand that people want to go swimming, especially during hot weather, but we are urging folks to swim at locally approved swimming areas,” said Colonel Jason Batchelder. “Finding a safe swimming area is easy in most communities. Just ask at a general store or other place where people gather.”

The fine for swimming at an access area is $162.


Reel Fun Fishing Program Expands at Vermont State Parks

 

Reel Fun Fishing program expands at Vermont state parks

Reel Fun Fishing program expands at Vermont state parks

Reel Fun Fishing Program Expands at Vermont State Parks

Vermont State Parks and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department have expanded the popular Reel Fun Vermont program for 2017. Eighteen Vermont State Parks now offer free loaner fishing equipment to park visitors, along with a mix of educational resources focused on the sport of fishing.

“We’re excited to offer Reel Fun at six more state parks this summer, making fishing easy and accessible to even more park campers and day visitors,” said Chris Adams, information specialist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Many Vermont State Parks offer tremendous fishing opportunities and we’ve made it our objective to help folks enjoy the sport by offering them the resources to wet a line during their park visit.”

The following state parks will participate this season: Grand Isle, Button Bay and Burton Island on Lake Champlain; Bomoseen on Lake Bomoseen; Branbury on Lake Dunmore; Brighton on Spectacle Pond; Camp Plymouth on Echo Lake; Elmore on Lake Elmore; Emerald Lake on Emerald Lake; Gifford Woods on Kent Pond; Half Moon on Half Moon Pond; Lake Carmi on Lake Carmi; Lake St. Catherine on Lake St. Catherine; Little River on Waterbury Reservoir; Silver Lake on Silver Lake; Stillwater on Groton Lake; Wilgus on the Connecticut River; and Woodford on Adams Reservoir.

 

Reel Fun Fishing program expands at Vermont state parks

 

In addition to rods, reels, fishing line and an assortment of lures, park visitors will have access to a fishing guide publication for the various Reel Fun parks, developed by Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

The guides include information about each waterbody, including a lake, pond or river map, a list of fish species present, fishing tips and techniques applicable to the waterbody, and information about obtaining a Vermont fishing license.

Introductory fishing clinics coordinated through the Let’s Go Fishing program will also be held at many of the parks during the summer, helping people new to the sport learn the basics of fishing. Lastly, a full Reel Fun Week will be held from July 10-17.

“State parks and fishing fun go hand in hand,” said Adams. “Whether you want to fish from shore or take out a canoe, kayak or paddleboat, all of the Reel Fun parks are great spots to enjoy the sport of fishing with family and friends. Not to mention, the variety of fish species found at many of the parks is remarkable. You just never know what you might catch!”


Melosira: Educational Boat Trips Teach Public About Lake Champlain

Melosira: Educational Boat Trips Teach Public About Lake Champlain

University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, Lake Champlain Sea Grant and ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain will host three Summer on the Lake educational boat cruises in July and August.

Melosira: Educational Boat Trips Teach Public About Lake Champlain

UVM’s R.V. Melosira launching a remotely operated vehicle

The public is invited aboard the UVM research and education vessel, the R/V Melosira, to learn about Lake Champlain and its watershed’s geologic, cultural and historical aspects. Trips will focus on one of two themes, Stories of Lake Champlain (July 17, 9:30-11:30 a.m.) or Life Underwater (Aug. 17, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and Aug. 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m.).

Trips depart from the south side of the Rubenstein Lab/Echo Building at 3 College St. in Burlington. The cost is $25 per person. Participants must be at the boat 15 minutes prior to departure time. The minimum age to participate is eight-years-old. For more information and to register, visit www.uvm.edu/seagrant/events.

Both trips will begin with an interactive introduction to the geology of Lake Champlain and its watershed. From there, the two themes diverge.

Stories of Lake Champlain

Stories of Lake Champlain will provide a cultural and historical view of Vermont’s largest lake. Chief Don Stevens of the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe will share the history of native tribes in the area and their relationship with water. Later in the trip, participants will learn about the lake’s naval history following European settlement.

Rock Dunder

Stops and sights will include Red Rocks Park, Lone Rock Point, Rock Dunder (of historic significance to the Abenakis) and the Horse Ferry shipwreck. The trip will conclude with an optional hands-on sediment assessment session to look for signs of historical land uses and practices on the lake.

 

Participants on the Life Underwater

Participants on the Life Underwater trips will try their hand at being limnologists, scientists who study lakes. They will collect biological, chemical and physical measurements to assess the lake’s health and current conditions by towing for and identifying plankton, sampling sediment and monitoring water clarity, among other activities.

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in any of these programs, please contact Kris Stepenuck at (802) 656-8504 or kris.stepenuck@uvm.edu no later than three weeks prior to the trip.

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