Anglers will have the opportunity to comment on proposed changes to Vermont’s existing baitfish regulation at three Fish and Wildlife Board public hearings in October.
The proposed amendments are intended to minimize risk associated with the use and movement of baitfish while allowing anglers more flexibility with the species they can use as bait and how and where they can transport them.
Shawn Good, the Fish & Wildlife Department fisheries biologist heading the Aquatic Nuisance Species Team, says that while regulations restricting the movement and use of baitfish remain necessary to control the potential introduction of fish diseases and invasive species, the department has been working closely with the Fish and Wildlife Board to implement several changes that may address some of the concerns anglers have with the existing rule.
“Over the last four years, most of our anglers have come to the realization that baitfish regulations are necessary to protect the great fishing we have in Vermont. The complaints from anglers have fallen into two pretty clear categories – the approved list of baitfish and the prohibition on baitfish transport – and we have identified some steps we can take to address those,” explained Good.
The primary changes to the regulation are:
- adding pumpkinseed, bluegill, rock bass, and banded killifish to the statewide approved baitfish list
- creating a list of approved baitfish for Lake Champlain that includes alewife and white perch
- allowing anglers to transport commercially purchased baitfish home after use on a waterbody, and return to the same waterbody within 96 hours to use up that lot of baitfish
“Under the proposed rule, anglers will have four days to move their store-bought baitfish back and forth between their home or camp, and a single lake as indicated on their baitfish receipt when they bought them,” explained Good. “However, if they decide to go to a different lake in that time period, they will have to buy new baitfish and get a new receipt.”
Information on using baitfish in Vermont and a link to the complete text of the proposed regulation is available at: http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/fish_baitfish.cfm.
Public hearings will be held 6:00-8:00 p.m. for each of the following dates and locations:
- Monday, Oct. 22 – Conference Room at the Emory Hebard State Office Building, 100 Main Street, Newport, VT
- Tuesday, Oct. 23 – Kehoe Conservation Camp, Bomoseen, VT
- Wednesday, Oct. 24 – St. Albans Town Education Center Cafeteria, 169 South Main Street, St. Albans, VT
For additional information on the current regulation, please contact Shawn Good, 802-786-3863, or Shawn.Good@state.vt.us.
Logo courtesy Vermont Fish and Wildlife