Tag Archives: Boating

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.


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.

NYS DEC Alerts Boaters to Low Water Levels at Many Boat Launches

NYS DEC Alerts Boaters to Low Water Levels at Many Boat Launches

NYS DEC Alerts Boaters to Low Water Levels at Many Boat LaunchesDue to the ongoing drought conditions in New York State, many waters are significantly below average water levels for this time of year. While many DEC boat launches are still useable by shallow draft boats, boaters desiring to launch larger, deeper draft waters may have difficulties on many waters. Of particular concern are DEC boat launches on Lake Champlain.

On Lake Champlain, which is a foot below normal water level elevations for this time of year, most launches currently provide 3.0 ft of water depth. Exceptions are the Ticonderoga Launch which is currently below this level at 2 ft.

Boaters, particularly those desiring to launch larger, deeper draft boats, are encouraged to contact the DEC regional office covering the water they desire to launch their boat onto for updated information.


Officials Advise on Spiny Water Fleas

Officials Advise on Spiny Water Fleas

Spiny Water Fleas Spur Reminder to Anglers and Boaters on Preventing Spread of Invasive Species

Spiny Water Fleas Spur Reminder to Anglers and Boaters on Preventing Spread of Invasive Species


Officials advise anglers and boaters to clean, drain and dry

Recent reports of spiny water fleas becoming snagged on fishing gear used on Lake Champlain have prompted officials to urge anglers and boaters to take appropriate steps to prevent the spread of this and other harmful aquatic invasive species.

“Lake Champlain boat launch stewards have been hearing about spiny water flea sightings by anglers over the last month, and last week we removed the first sample off a downrigger cable during a routine courtesy boat inspection at the Shelburne Bay fishing access area,” said Meg Modley, aquatic invasive species management coordinator with the Lake Champlain Basin Program. “The best method for preventing the spread of spiny water fleas is simply letting them dry out, which of course applies to any fishing or boating equipment that they might attach to.”

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department fisheries biologist Shawn Good added it’s critical that anglers thoroughly inspect their boats and gear after a day of fishing.

“Spiny water flea can cling to downrigger cables, fishing line, anchor rope and other things, so the first step is to inspect all your equipment and remove any visible globs of spiny water flea,” said Good. “Letting gear dry completely for several days will also kill all life stages of spiny water flea.”

The spiny water flea, which was first confirmed in Lake Champlain in 2014, is a non-native zooplankton roughly one-half inch in length. Spiny water fleas do not bite and pose no risk to swimmers in Lake Champlain. They prey directly on native zooplankton, and compete with other species for food resources disrupting the native aquatic food chains and changing the native aquatic community.

This invasive species originally appeared in North America in Lake Huron in 1984 and has since spread throughout the Great Lakes and beyond. It was found in both the Lake Champlain Canal near Whitehall, New York and in New York’s Lake George in 2012. It is unknown how spiny water flea entered Lake Champlain, though it may have hitchhiked overland on fishing equipment, a boat or trailer, or come through the Lake Champlain Barge Canal or Lake George’s outlet – the La Chute River – which flows into Lake Champlain in Ticonderoga, New York.

“The main key for anglers and boaters is to remember to clean, drain and dry all boats and equipment after each use,” said Eric Palmer, director of fisheries with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Making sure that your boat and gear is cleaned and dried before launching at another access area is critical to helping to prevent the further spread of any aquatic invasive species, including the spiny water flea.”

Rinsing with 140°F degree water is also believed to be effective in killing spiny water fleas and reducing the risk of spread.

The long tail of the spiny water flea has a number of hook-like barbs which causes it to stick to fishing line and cables trolled through the water when fishing. To reduce the risk of this happening, anglers can use specialty lines designed with specific shape and material characteristics that prevent them from latching onto the line.

For trolling, anglers can spool fishing reels with a heavier weight (larger diameter) main line, and then use a short thin leader to the lure. A heavier main line helps to keep the spiny water fleas from catching the line between their barbs and accumulating, while the smaller diameter leader allows anglers to effectively target line-shy species like trout and salmon.

For more information on preventing the spread of invasive species, visit http://www.lcbp.org/water-environment/aquatic-invasive-species/ or http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/cms/one.aspx?portalid=73163&pageid=195775.

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New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

Available boat slips are at a premium in Burlington harbor.

Burlington’s waterfront could see a change.
To the north of Burlington’s Waterfront Park there’s some mostly city-owned land, that might soon be providing 100+ new boat docking spaces, a public park, a parking lot, and other improvements.

The Burlington City Council’s Board of Finance subcommittee voted unanimously last Monday night to send a development agreement to the full council for a June 27th vote.

Included improvements for the marina project are :

  1. 160 boat docks, with about 60 of them staying open for passing boaters.
  2. Boat launching facility that could double as event space.
  3. A floating breakwater.
  4. A “water taxi” stand.
  5. Fuel docks.
  6. A park that is of “equivalent quality” to Waterfront Park.
  7. A temporary parking plaza.

New Burlington Marina project headed to City Council

The new Burlington Marina project would fall under tax increment financing (TIF), a way for government to incentivize development where the private sector might otherwise avoid spending money. A TIF district would draw money from property taxes.

In this case, four parts of the project are eligible for a slice of the $500,000 the city has set aside for TIF projects. The public park and parking lot both could be funded halfway by TIF money. The parking plaza, along with environmental impact assessments and soil testing, are eligible to be paid for completely by the tax increment financing.

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Lake Champlain is located between New York’s majestic Adirondacks and Vermont’s famed Green Mountains. Yet despite the beauty of this region, it has been the site of dark and mysterious events; it is not surprising that some spirits linger in this otherwise tranquil place. Fort Ticonderoga saw some of early America’s bloodiest battles, and American, French and British ghosts still stand guard.
Champlain’s islands–Stave, Crab, Valcour and Garden–all host otherworldly inhabitants, and unidentified creatures and objects have made appearances on the water, in the sky and in the forests surrounding the lake.
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