ORLEANS — Trout fishing and bass catch and release seasons open tomorrow, and anglers are looking forward to fishing the local lakes and streams.
The Willoughby River in the Village of Orleans is a popular spot for spring fishing. The Willoughby flows north from Lake Willoughby to Lake Memphremagog, and rainbow trout and landlocked salmon can be seen jumping the falls on their spring spawning run. The trout swim up river for about 15 miles from Lake Memphremagog, where they spawn in the rocky shale of the river just out from Lake Willoughby.
The Willoughby River is also relatively unpolluted and rich in oxygen, which make ideal water conditions for trout.
Brook trout are a native species, as well as being Vermont’s official coldwater fish. Wild brook trout in the smaller streams are often eager to feed, but fishing smaller streams can be challenging because they can be easily spooked. When fishing these waters keep a low profile so they don’t see you.
Casting can also be a real challenge in smaller streams. Use a short rod or make short, underhand tosses. Worms are the bait of choice in small streams because there is usually not enough room to effectively fish an artificial lure.
Tomorrow also starts bass catch and release season. Bass have been growing in popularity with Vermont’s anglers, and the Northeast Kingdom boasts many great options for catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Gardner Park, located on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, is a good spot for bass fishing. Much of the Gardner Park waterfront can be fished easily. A good location is where the Clyde River enters the lake. A footbridge just to the west of the US-5 bridge is another spot that you might want to try.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department officials are reminding anglers that felt-soled boots or waders are prohibited to curb the spread of invasive algae.
The official season dates are:
Bass Catch & Release Season (Apr 12 2014 – Jun 13 2014)
Trout & Landlocked Salmon (Apr 12 2014 – Oct 31 2014)
Have fun, and stay safe. If you want to share any of your photos from this season, post them to our Facebook wall, or else use the hashtag #newportdispatch on Instagram.