Guide To Popular Ice Fishing Lakes In Vermont
Favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.
The best ice fishing lakes in VT include Lake Champlain, Lake Dunmore and Lake St Catherine. The most popular species through the ice, across the state, include bass, trout and perch. See a list of lakes and species below.
Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.
Vermont's winter season transforms its water bodies into a frozen wonderland, perfect for ice fishing. During this time, anglers can target a variety of fish species that thrive in the cold waters. Popular fish species to catch through the ice in Vermont include yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, northern pike, and chain pickerel. These fish are known for their aggressive feeding behavior in colder temperatures, making them prime targets for ice anglers.
Ice fishing in Vermont involves drilling holes in the ice, typically with an auger, to access the water beneath. Once the hole is ready, anglers set up their fishing equipment and use specialized ice fishing gear, such as ice fishing rods, tip-ups, and jigs, to entice the fish to bite. Live bait, such as worms, minnows, or waxworms, is commonly used to attract fish to the fishing spot.
Safety is paramount when engaging in ice fishing. Ice thickness can vary, and it's crucial for anglers to check the ice conditions before venturing out. Ice should be at least four inches thick for foot traffic and at least six to eight inches thick for snowmobiles or ATVs. Wearing proper clothing, including insulated layers, waterproof boots, and warm gloves, is essential to stay comfortable and safe in the cold weather. It is also recommended to fish with a buddy and carry safety equipment like ice picks, a throwable flotation device, and a first aid kit.
Ice fishing in Vermont not only offers a unique angling experience but also provides an opportunity to enjoy the serene winter landscape and the camaraderie of fellow ice fishing enthusiasts. With proper preparation, equipment, and safety measures, ice fishing can be a rewarding and enjoyable winter activity in the Green Mountain State.
Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species
There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.
Click the images for species details.
This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.
Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques Video
Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.
Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish
Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.
Best ice fishing method for trout
Trout focus on small forage fish in winter, so baits that flash silver - jigs or spoons, do well in attracting trout. Dual rods, where legal, are very effective. One rod with a jig/live bait set up on a tip-up, the second with a spoon fished up and down pretty aggressively. See more detail about ice fishing for trout.
Best ice fishing method for bass
Bass are often found closer to the shoreline than schooling fish. Fish the same as other species, using a bit larger baits and slightly heavier line. Be prepared to battle using your drag if you hook a big one. Additional information about ice fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Best ice fishing method for pike and musky
Live bait, shiners and sunfish, are a great way to attract these big fellahs, assuming local law allows their use. Heavier line, steel leaders, bigger hooks and stronger tip-ups are in order. See more information on ice fishing for pike and musky.
Click here for a Vermont Fishing License.
States with notable ice fishing.