The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife will soon be stocking local rivers, streams and ponds with trout, salmon, walleye, and even muskie. These fish provide fantastic recreational opportunities for anglers, and can also help to restore Vermont’s wild fish populations.
“While our primary goal is to manage for wild fisheries, we also stock fish to support popular recreational fisheries that keep Vermonters connected to these waters” said Rich Kirn, trout project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department. “We work closely with watershed management and angler groups to identify ways we can improve fish habitat and increase fishing opportunities.”
Stocked fish serve several important purposes. They help restore populations of native fish that have declined or disappeared such as the lake trout in Lake Champlain. They improve fisheries in lakes and ponds where spawning habitat may be limited. And stocked fish also provide fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages.
“A good fisheries management plan blends biological and social needs,” said Adam Miller, fish culture operations manager. “We are working to promote healthy wild fish populations, while also providing the opportunity for parents and children to catch a rainbow trout in a small pond near their home and create lasting memories.”
Miller also pointed out that fish stocking provides an economic benefit to Vermonters. “The Department estimates that fish culture activities provided a $32 million economic boost to Vermont in 2012, on a budget of $3.2 million. Our funds come directly from anglers, through license sales and excise taxes on boating and fishing equipment.
“We never forget,” added Miller, “that we are managing fish populations for the people of Vermont, now and for generations to come.”
Trout and salmon fishing season opened on April 13 and runs through October.