Vermont to stock over 750,000 fish in 2016

The Branchaud family of Rutland, pictured here, assists Vermont Fish & Wildlife with trophy trout stocking on East Creek in Rutland late last month. The Department’s annual fish stocking work is in full gear across the state and will result in over 750,000 fish stocked into Vermont waters in 2016.

MONTPELIER — Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s annual fish stocking work is underway and the Department plans to stock over 750,000 fish into Vermont waters in the coming weeks.

Exactly 768,500 trout and salmon will be stocked, including nearly 300,000 that will be catchable-sized fish, as well as almost 20,000 trophy trout.

“The goal of our fish culture and stocking program is to maintain and restore fisheries, while also increasing fishing opportunities for anglers,” said Jeremy Whalen, fish culture specialist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Cultured fish are central to supporting local fisheries and promoting the sport of fishing in Vermont.”

Vermont has a wealth of rivers, lakes and ponds that support naturally reproducing trout populations, including everything from small upland streams and beaver ponds that hold abundant wild brook trout, to bigger rivers which host wild brown and rainbow trout, and large cold water lakes with wild lake trout.

However, not all waters are able to support wild trout populations.

“Where habitat conditions have limited the ability of a waterbody to sustain wild trout, hatchery raised fish can be used to support popular fisheries in select waters,” said Rich Kirn, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “As we select stocking locations, trout species and densities, careful consideration is given to the existing fish community, angler use and public access to ensure we are using cultured fish effectively while also limiting competition with wild trout populations.”

One popular component of the stocking program is the trophy trout initiative, which was fully restored in 2015 with the reestablishment of the trophy brook trout program.

“We’ll be stocking 19,600 large, two-year-old trout across Vermont, and anglers will have the opportunity to fish over 34 miles of rivers and 28 lakes and ponds that are designated as trophy water,” said Whalen. “This means excellent fishing opportunities and an even better chance for anglers to catch the fish of a lifetime.”

The following streams will be stocked with trophy trout:

Black River – Cavendish /Weathersfield
East Creek – Rutland
Otter Creek – Danby / Mt. Tabor
Walloomsac River – Bennington
Winooski River – Waterbury / Duxbury
Lamoille River – Fairfax
Mississquoi River – Enosburg
Passumpsic River – St. Johnsbury

Stocking of trophy trout in the following lakes and ponds is in progress:

Adams Reservoir – Woodford
Amherst Lake – Plymouth
Colby Pond – Plymouth
Echo Lake – Plymouth
Harriman Reservoir – Wilmington / Whitingham
Knapp Pond No. 1 – Reading / Cavendish
Knapp Pond No. 2 – Reading / Cavendish
Mill Pond – Windsor
Lake Raponda – Wilmington
Lake Rescue – Ludlow
Searsburg Reservoir – Searsburg
Lake Shaftsbury – Shaftsbury
Stoughton Pond – Weathersfield
Black Pond – Hubbardton
Goshen Dam – Goshen
Lake Paran – Bennington / Shaftsbury
Lefferts Pond – Chittenden
Smith Pond – Pittsford
Colton Pond – Killington
Kent Pond – Killington
McIntosh Pond – Royalton
Miller Pond – Stafford
Rood Pond – Williamstown / Brookfield
Sunset Lake – Brookfield
May Pond – Barton
Osmore Pond – Peacham
Zack Woods-Perch Ponds – Hyde Park / Wolcott
Holland Pond – Holland

In addition to the trophy trout, over 271,000 yearling landlocked Atlantic salmon, brook, brown, rainbow and lake trout, as well as steelhead rainbow trout, will be stocked into Vermont streams, lakes and ponds other than Lake Champlain.

Lake Champlain is scheduled to be stocked with over 413,000 landlocked Atlantic salmon, steelhead rainbow trout, brown trout and lake trout, including fry and fingerlings.

“Both stocked and wild trout are critical pieces of our fisheries management plan, and play an important role in providing quality recreational experiences to anglers of all ages and abilities throughout Vermont,” said Whalen. “They’re also a key economic driver, contributing to the roughly $130 million in angler expenditures in Vermont each year.”

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