Once you’ve learned the fishing regulations and have a fishing license you need to know when you are allowed to fish and for what species! 81 fish species have been identified in Lake Champlain, and more than 20 are fish sought after by anglers. Some of these species have particular seasons.
In New York, the last full weekend in June is designated as Free Fishing Days. “During those two days, anyone can fish New York State waters, and no fishing license is required” (NYDEC). Also be sure to check for any other free fishing events across the state.
For many fish species in the lake including Northern Pike, Salmon, Pickerel, and Trout (just to name a few) it is open season for anglers all year-long. For many species you must follow a catch-and-release policy if the fish does not reach a minimum length. This helps with fish conservation.
Some species have limited/shorter seasons! For example the following have designated seasons of:
- Walleye & Sauger (1st Sat. in May – March 15)
- Black Bass (2nd Sat. in June – Nov. 30). Only catch & release fishing (December 1 thru the Friday preceding the 2nd Saturday in June)
There are several methods to choose from in how you fish, and that’s not going into the many bait and tackle options available.
If you want to fish out on Lake Champlain but don’t have a boat, then check out available charter fishing services! Here are a few that I found:
- Lake Champlain Angler Charters
- Old Dock Charters
- Relax-N-Reel Fishing Adventures
- CJ Outdoors
- Champlain Valley Traditions
- Trolling Tina Fishing Charters
If you prefer to stay on the shore you may be interested to learn about Public Fishing Rights (PFR’s). These exist to give angler’s more access to what would be private waters.
Check out some suggested Essex County fishing locations for a good spot to get started!