Category Archives: News

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

Baby turtles released into Lake Champlain

Nearly 20 baby spiny softshell turtles were recently released into Lake Champlain. For about 10 years, Vermont Fish and Wildlife has captured the babies in the fall, kept them safe through the winter and then released them again in the summer.

Experts believe there are about 300 of the turtles in the lake, but because the babies are easy prey, they’re considered a threatened species.

Many of the turtles were sponsored by families who get to play a crucial role in the release.

Here’s a species that’s probably been here for 10,000 years. It’s been in Lake Champlain since it’s been the current Lake Champlain,” said Steve Parrin, of Vermont Fish and Wildlife. ” We would try to raise turtles in captivity, give them a head start so that they would be bigger and more resistant to predation where they would be larger, maybe quicker, and have a better chance at survival.

The release attracted the attention of Massachusetts native Michael Henry who made a special trip. “Big turtle fans, definitely. It’s not too far, three and a half hours, but definitely worth it,” Henry said.


“I’m hoping that’s a memory that’s going to stick with them and that they’re going to catch fire in the belly and they’re going to really care about what a tremendous place Vermont is,” Parrin said.



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Fishing Clinics – Introduction to Fly Fishing

Introduction to Fly Fishing Clinic


Introduction to Fly Fishing ClinicDate and Time: Saturday, July 8;  9:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Location: Grand Isle Fish Hatchery, Grand Isle, Vermont

Description: Introduction to Fly Fishing Clinic

Learn something new at this free fishing clinic. It’s  open to people of all ages and levels of experience, including those completely new to fishing.

This is a crash course on fly fishing and will cover the basics of casting, knot tying, ecology and much more. All equipment will be provided.

Registration is required and can be completed by emailing or calling 802-265-2279. The course will be taught by a certified Let’s Go Fishing Instructor.

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New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week July 9 – 17

New York Invasive Species Awareness Week July 9-17

New York DEC Encourages Partner Organizations to Host Events for the Week

Event Submissions Accepted through June 26

New York Invasive Species Awareness Week July 9-17

Ariana London, Lake Champlain Steward, completes a boater survey on her tablet computer at the Great Chazy boat launch, (photo by Meg Phillips, State Parks.)


New York’s fourth annual Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) will be July 9-15. The annual educational campaign aims to educate New Yorkers about the negative impacts invasive species can have on our environment, economy, and health and empower residents to take action to stop the spread of these destructive pests. DEC is encouraging organizations to partner in hosting an event as part of New York’s ISAW.

“Preventing the spread of invasive species is the most effective way to fight and address the damage these species can cause to our natural resources,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Invasive Species Awareness Week is a great opportunity to highlight some of the environmental and economic threats these species can pose and raises awareness of the many ways that all New Yorkers can help protect against unwelcome species in their communities.”

During ISAW, the eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs), DEC, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and other state and local partners will host events to teach citizens how to identify, survey, manage, and map invasive species. Through these events, participants will gain the skills to participate in early detection and rapid response efforts in the places where they live, work, and play.

Natural resource managers depend on the public’s help now more than ever in combatting invasive species in New York. Although there has been significant strides toward controlling populations of giant hogweed, purple loosestrife, and other invaders, the eyes on the ground to detect new infestations as early as possible are essential.

The invasive fungus that causes oak wilt can spread rapidly and kill some types of oak trees in as little as two to six weeks. The aggressive submerged aquatic plant Hydrilla was recently found at a second Finger Lakes location, near the northeastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Promoting awareness of how everyday activities (pruning trees, recreational boating, gardening, camping, etc.) can facilitate the spread of invasive species will help to curb the problem.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Communities across the State have been instrumental in helping the State keep a watchful eye out for invasive species of all kinds. With their assistance, we have been able to better monitor and, as a result, slow the spread of these invasives that can damage our trees, plants and aquatic habitats, and negatively impact our State’s economy. We encourage citizens to join us during Invasive Species Awareness Week and take part in some of the activities planned to continue to educate New Yorkers on how to spot, identify and protect against these non-native species.”

Last year, partner organizations hosted more than 120 ISAW events in New York State and engaged more than 2,500 participants. These events included guided hikes and paddling events, documentary film screenings, presentations and community discussions, invasive species control projects, and others. If your organization is interested in hosting an ISAW event this summer, visit DEC’s Invasive Species Awareness Week web page to learn everything that you’ll need to know to plan a successful, well-attended event. PRISM coordinators will be accepting event submissions through June 26.

One example of an ISAW event is the iMap Invasives team teaming up with DEC and Finger Lakes Institute staff to host the second annual statewide Water Chestnut Chasers Challenge. The aim of the friendly competition is to fill in data gaps in the state’s invasive species database while teaching citizens how to survey for and report one of our most recognizable aquatic invasive species. If infestations are found early enough, there’s a good chance that a well-organized crew of volunteers can keep their favorite swimming holes and boat launches clear of this invasive floating plant. Prizes will be awarded to the individual who reports the greatest number of observations (including negative observations, i.e. no water chestnut) as well as the PRISM region with the most observations reported during the search window of July 5 through July 19.

The Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), Coordinator in the Lake Champlain Basin is:

Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, Brenden Quirion,, (518) 576-2082


Find more about Lake Champlain’s invasive species at Lake Champlain Invasives

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Vermont Fish Biologists Recapture Lake Sturgeon First Caught in 1998

Biologists recapture lake sturgeon first studied in 1998, study and re-release it 19 years later


Vermont Fish Biologists Recapture Lake Sturgeon First Caught in 1998


Vermont Fish & Wildlife staffers received a pleasant surprise recently while performing survey work on Lake Champlain when they recaptured a 48-year old lake sturgeon that biologists first studied and tagged nearly two decades ago.

The male sturgeon weighed 69 pounds and measured 66.1 inches when it was first caught and tagged in 1998. This May it weighed in at 78 pounds and had a total length of 67.5 inches at the time of the most recent capture.

“We first saw this fish in 1998 when it was roughly 29 years old,” said Chet MacKenzie, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “It’s a really interesting story to see this fish 19 years later, and another great example of the incredible longevity that the species is known for. We recaptured this fish several times between 1998 and 2002, This year we implanted an acoustic tag which will allow us to follow its movements for up to 10 years.”

Vermont Fish & Wildlife sturgeon monitoring activities are part of the Department’s Lake Champlain Sturgeon Recovery Plan – enacted in 2016. The plan includes efforts to reduce mortality of lake sturgeon, improve spawning and nursery habitat and continue population assessment work.


Biologists Remind Anglers That Lake Sturgeon are Protected

Vermont Fish Biologists Recapture Lake Sturgeon First Caught in 1998Lake sturgeon are an endangered species in the State of Vermont and are protected from harvest. In Vermont lake sturgeon are only found in Lake Champlain and the lower reaches of the Winooski, Lamoille and Missisquoi rivers, and Otter Creek. Lake Champlain has the only lake sturgeon population in New England.

The fish were once more common in Lake Champlain, but declined rapidly in the 20th century due to over fishing, the loss of spawning and nursery habitat caused by the construction of dams and sea lamprey predation. They are a unique, ancient form of fish that were first given complete protection by law in 1967. (Read more about the lake sturgeon at: A Dinosaur Among Us- The Lake Sturgeon and Lake Sturgeon Thunder)

“We’d like to remind anglers that sturgeon are fully protected by Vermont law and any sturgeon caught must be released immediately,” said MacKenzie. “Harvesting a lake sturgeon would result in the loss of an angler’s fish and wildlife licenses in Vermont and most other states for up to three years, in addition to various potential fines.”

MacKenzie encouraged anglers to help with the Lake Champlain sturgeon restoration effort by minimizing injuries to any accidentally caught sturgeon.

“If by chance an angler catches a sturgeon, we ask that they leave the sturgeon in the water and remove the hook if the fish is hooked in the mouth, but cut the line and leave the hook in place if the hook is swallowed. Anglers can also help by choosing to change fishing locations or using a different bait in the event that they catch multiple sturgeon in a particular area.”

Vermont Fish & Wildlife urges anglers to help population recovery efforts by reporting any sturgeon they catch to the Department at 802-878-1564, or by contacting their local fish and game warden or district office. Information obtained about sturgeon catches can be valuable to the Department’s sampling efforts and to monitoring the trend in sturgeon abundance over time.

Anglers and members of the public are also asked to report illegal sturgeon harvest to law enforcement immediately by calling their local warden, a state police dispatch center or Operation Game Thief at 1-800-752-5378.

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


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Vermont Free Fishing Day 2017

Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival

Vermont Free Fishing Day 2017

Give fishing a try during Vermont’s Free Fishing Day 2017 at the Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival!

Saturday, June 10, 2017
9:00am to 3:00pm
Ed Weed Fish Culture Station,
14 Bell Hill Rd, Grand Isle, VT

Give fishing a try during Vermont’s Free Fishing Day 2017 at the Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival!

Vermont Free Fishing Day 2017 lets both resident and nonresident anglers fish in Vermont for the day without a license.

The Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival is designed for young anglers and families offering basic fishing instruction and the chance for kids to catch big trout in the hatchery pond. The festival is free, open to the public and no fishing experience or equipment is needed.

Saturday, June 10, 2017
9:00am to 3:00pm
Ed Weed Fish Culture Station,
14 Bell Hill Rd, Grand Isle, VT

The event features a series of fishing skills learning stations, including knot-tying, fish identification, line casting, hook setting, fish cleaning, and more. After kids and families complete several stations they will be issued a loaner fishing rod and bait and given a chance to practice their skills by fishing the hatchery pond, stocked with some very impressive trout.

For more information contact the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station at 802-372-3171

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