Category Archives: News

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

First 2016 New York State Record Freshwater Drum Caught in Lake Champlain

12-year-old from the Adirondacks Catches Record Freshwater Drum

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that Amelia Whalen of Witherbee caught a record breaking freshwater drum from Lake Champlain in Essex County on June 4, 2016. The fish measured 36.5 inches and weighed 29 pounds 14 ounces, breaking the previous state record set in 2014 by more than 3 pounds.

12-year-old from the Adirondacks Catches Record Freshwater Drum

Amelia Whalen stands with her father who holds the record-breaking fish.

“This state record is just another example of the great fishing opportunities New York has to offer, even for lesser known species such as the freshwater drum,” said Commissioner Seggos. “No matter what time of year, angling possibilities in this state are endless, and I congratulate Amelia on her accomplishment, which is quite a feat for any angler, let alone a 12-year-old.”

Freshwater drum, also referred to as “sheepshead,” primarily dwell in large rivers and lakes. Their pronounced blunt head make them easily identifiable. With numerous small round teeth made for crushing, drum feed mostly on freshwater snails, clams and crayfish. When hooked, drum are known to put up a good fight. For more information on this unique fish species, visit NY DEC’s website.

Amelia, who caught the drum with a Lazer Blade lure, submitted details of her winning catch as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which verifies and tracks state record fish. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch & Release, Annual Award and State Record.

“It was a phenomenal memory that I’ll always have reeling in the monstrous sheepshead that day,” Amelia said. “I was unimaginably surprised when my dad told me that it was definitely going to break the record.”

A photo of the record fish can be found on the New York State Freshwater Fishing Records page on DEC’s website. For more information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, go to DEC’s website. Program details and an official entry form can also be found in DEC’s current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide. For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program call (518) 402-8891 or email .

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Offering Free Fishing Clinics

Fish & Wildlife Offering Free Fishing Clinicsn

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will be hosting two free fishing clinics in September, both of which are open to people of all ages and levels of experience, including those who are completely new to fishing.

The first clinic, “Basics of Fishing,” will be held on Tuesday, September 6, at the Shelburne Bay Fishing Access Area in Shelburne. The clinic will focus on general fishing techniques and equipment, and is tailored toward those who have little to no fishing experience. It will begin at 4:30 p.m. and run until 7:00 p.m.

“The Basics of Fishing program is the perfect opportunity for anyone new to the sport to learn the fundamentals and get started in fishing,” said Corey Hart, Let’s Go Fishing Coordinator with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

A second clinic, “Intro to Trout Fishing,” will take place on Saturday, September 10, at the Waterbury Public Library as well as on the Winooski River in Waterbury. The clinic, which will concentrate specifically on trout fishing tactics, will start at 9:30 a.m. and run until 1:00 p.m.

“For those looking to learn the basics of trout fishing with spinning equipment, this clinic is a great starting place,” said Hart. “We’ll cover a range of topics including habitat, life cycle, regulations, and fishing techniques. The course is designed as an introductory level course and will emphasize basic live bait techniques as well as strategies for using artificial lures.”

The two clinics will be led by staff from Vermont Fish & Wildlife and instructors from the Let’s Go Fishing Program.

Fishing equipment will be available for use, or participants can bring their own.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required for participation in either clinic. Anyone interested can register by emailing, or by calling 802-505-5562.

VT F&W Looking for ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ Instructors

Vermont F&W Seeks ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ Instructors

Vermont F&W Seeks 'Let’s Go Fishing' Instructors

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is seeking volunteers who would like to become ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ instructors so they can pass on Vermont’s fishing tradition to the next generation of Vermonters.

The department will be hosting a one-day training workshop for new instructors on Saturday, September 17, at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Rd. Vergennes, VT 05491.

Instructors in the ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ program organize and instruct clinics in their communities for young people and their families. Participants in the training workshop will learn how to teach a fishing clinic — including fishing ethics, aquatic ecology, fisheries management, habitat conservation, and tackle craft. The class is informal, and it is not necessary to have a high level of fishing expertise to become an instructor.

“Becoming an instructor will give you the opportunity to introduce Vermonters, both young and old, to the joys of fishing while teaching them all they need to know to enjoy a day on the water,” said Corey Hart, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s ‘Lets Go Fishing’ coordinator.

There is no charge for the training, and all curriculum materials and lunch will be provided. The workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Pre-registration is required, and you must be 18 to participate. You can register by September 9, by calling 802-505-5562 or emailing


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August 6 Declared Hatchery Day in Vermont

August 6 Declared Hatchery Day in Vermont

Open houses & activities to be held at fish hatcheries across the state
Governor Peter Shumlin and officials from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department today announced the declaration of August 6, 2016, as “Hatchery Day” in Vermont in recognition of the important role the state’s fish hatcheries play toward benefiting Vermont’s environment and outdoor recreationalists.

“First and foremost, Vermont’s fish hatcheries play an integral role in the successful management of the state’s fisheries,” said Shumlin. “They’re also a symbol of Vermont’s commitment to our natural resources, a tremendous tool for educating the public about the environment, and a significant part of the state’s history. I’m excited to help celebrate the importance and tradition of Vermont’s fish hatcheries through this declaration.”

Hatchery Day, which will be celebrated by open houses and other activities at the state’s hatcheries, will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bennington Fish Culture Station and the 125th anniversary of the Roxbury Fish Culture Station, a facility soon to be rebuilt following impacts from Tropical Storm Irene.

“Much has changed since the state’s first hatchery opened in 1891, but our commitment to raising fish to restore fisheries and provide quality recreational angling opportunities has remained steadfast,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “Hatchery staff work extremely hard, often around-the-clock, to ensure the hatcheries run efficiently and effectively and meet these overarching objectives. Hatchery Day will be a celebration of the past, present and future of the program — one that we’re very proud of.”
The public is invited to attend open houses at all five of the state’s fish hatcheries on Saturday, August 6, beginning at 9 a.m. These hatcheries include: Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle; Roxbury Fish Culture Station in Roxbury; Ball Hill Fish Culture Station in Newark; Salisbury Fish Culture Station in Salisbury; and Bennington Fish Culture Station in Bennington.

“We encourage families and people of all ages to take a tour of our hatcheries, participate in a range of fun activities for the day and learn how we raise fish and why raising them is so important to Vermont,” said Adam Miller, fish culture operations manager with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

Each year Vermont’s hatcheries produce approximately 1.5 million fish for stocking, including a range of species such as brook, brown, rainbow, lake and steelhead trout, as well as walleye and landlocked Atlantic salmon.

Along with their role in fisheries restoration, stocked fish also serve as an economic driver for the state, accounting for roughly $31.6 million annually in angler expenditures added to Vermont’s economy.

To learn more about Hatchery Day in Vermont, Vermont’s fisheries programs, fishing regulations, or to purchase a fishing license, visit