If you are an angler who enjoys exciting fishing opportunities even in cool weather, give Lake Champlain or its tributaries a try for late season trout and salmon action.
Lake anglers will need a boat that can take rough conditions that sometimes develop quickly, but the high quality landlocked salmon fishing makes it a worthwhile venture right until the lake ices up. There also are good chances of hooking lake trout, as well as bonus brown trout or steelhead rainbow trout. Late season tributary fishing is often overlooked and can produce salmon and steelhead through the month of November, as well as continued steelhead fishing right through the winter as river conditions allow.
The salmon population in particular is showing continued growth this year based on monitoring done each fall by state fisheries biologists.
“We are winding down our fall salmon assessment sampling on Lake Champlain,” said State Fisheries Biologist Brian Chipman, “and preliminary results indicate continuing improvements in the Lake Champlain salmon fishery as a result of the annual sea lamprey control program.”
“This fall, we are finding good numbers of salmon in the tributaries, with a sizeable abundance of older, larger fish. We have handled a lot of salmon in the 4 to 6-pound range, and several in the 8 to 10-pound range. This suggests that more salmon are surviving beyond their second year in the lake after being stocked as 7-inch yearlings.”
Fishing for salmon and trout on Lake Champlain this time of year is much like fishing for them in early spring. Deep trolling equipment is not necessary, but it sometimes can be used to advantage. The fish will sometimes be cruising and feeding near the surface, where the action can be spectacular when trolling streamers with a fly rod or spoons with spinning tackle. However, veteran late season anglers have found salmon at various depths using downriggers, lead core line or in-line diver rigs.
Anglers interested in tributary fishing for salmon should try the Lamoille River below Peterson Dam and the “Salmon Hole” area of the Winooski River. The Winooski also offers good fall steelhead fishing, as does Lewis Creek in Ferrisburgh and Mill River in Georgia.
Image courtesy Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department