Vermont Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing in Vermont

Ice fishing is popular and a lot of fun. Each winter thousands of anglers venture onto Vermontís frozen lakes seeking pan fish for the dinner table as well as trophy-size lake trout and northern pike. And, each winter, there are ice-related accidents often caused by poor judgment or poor decisions based on inadequate information.

Ice fishing for all ages in Vermont

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Vermont Ice Fishing on Lake Champlain

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Rack N' Reel
is a store specializing in sporting goods, archery, guns, ammunition, outdoors, work and technical apparel, camping, kayaking and other outdoor ventures.

Yankee Sportsman's Classic
In January, come Celebrate with over 175 exhibitors Outfitters, Hunting and Fishing Supplies Boats, RVís, ATVs, Snowmobiles and much more!


Vermont Ice Fishing Shanties


Hunting & Fishing Supplies



Big River Bait and Tackle
Hinesburg, VT






Ice Fishing is Good But Be Cautious

Lake Ice Safety


3rd Alarm Charters
Lake Champlain Trolling Charters & Casting trips, they also offer Lake Ontario & Hudson River charters as well as Salmon River Drift boat trips.
Matthew Trombley- U.S.C.G Master Captain
51 West St., Proctor, VT 05765
Phone: 802-345-7949
Third Alarm Charters offers Trolling Charters & Drift Boat trips for Lakes Champlain and Ontario King Salmon, Trout, Salmon, Bass & Pike and Hudson River Stripers! We carry all of the required Coast Guard compliant equipment to make your trip a safe & pleasurable one! We offer nothing but the best Rods, Reels, Lures & tackle, to make sure we put the best effort forward in your quest for the trophy of a life time or a cooler full of filets to take home with you! We can put you on some the best Trout, Salmon & Striped Bass fishing found anywhere in the Northeast! Drift Boat or Canoe trips are for one or two people fishing the many bays of Lake Champlain & the Lakes & Ponds of Addison & Rutland counties in Vermont for Bass, Pike & Walleye. Give us a call as prime dates are sure to book fast! We specialize in unique "Cast & Blast" Trips, offering morning waterfowl or upland birds, with afternoons spent in our drift boat chasing Bass & Pike.


Fish Hounds Outdoors
Ice Fishing
Lake Champlain, Central to Northern Vermont
James Vladyka

5113 Stage Road, Benson, VT. 05743
Phone: 802-774-8042
Exciting fishing action and beautiful New England scenery is what you can expect on your fully outfitted guided fishing adventure! James Vladyka is owner and operator of Fish Hounds Outdoors in Benson Vermont and has been fishing the North East area his entire life. Since 2000 he has been specializing in guided fishing trips targeting White and Black Crappie, Yellow Perch, Sunfish, Pike, Bass and Walleye. In the North East he helps educate customers and promotes the great sport of fishing by hosting seminars and free youth clinics. Fishing is where his skills excel, his goal is to help you learn as much as possible. Spend time with him and you will leave the lake with a better understanding of how to catch more fish! James also runs a tournament series called the Vermont Sportsmans Hardwater Tournament Series which has been growing rapidly. In addition to being an Ice Team Pro he is also a Pro Staff member for Clam, Vexilar, Solar Sportsman, Navionics, Lowrance, HT, Hydro Glow Fishing lights, Mr.Heater, FishGillz and Maki Plastic.


Fly Rod Shop & Fly Fish Vermont
Stowe/ Smugglers Notch

Ice Fishing, Guided Fly Fishing and Retail Outlet, Drift Boat
Bob Shannon
2703 Waterbury Road, Rt. 100, Stowe, VT. 05672
Phone 802-253-3964
A year-round, full service fly shop and guide service just south of the village of Stowe. The Fly Rod Shop Is nestled in a perfect area to plan your next fishing trip! Offering both fly and spin fishing trips on Vermontís streams and lakes in boats and wading. Sign up for one of our FREE casting clinics run every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning from May 1st-Sept. 30th. Up in Vermont in the winter? Join us for one of our Half-day Ice fishing tours!


Pickett Hill Guide Service
Southern Vermont
Big Game Hunting, Ice Fishing, Backcountry Fishing
P. O. Box 396 Bennington VT. 05201
Phone: 802-442-2317

Ice fishing services at many locations in southern Vermont, some with permanent and/or portable shanties, and some only what we can pull on a sled/snowshoe/pack-in.


RPM Outdoors
North Central Vermont

Ice Fishing, Charter Fishing
Miles McCue and Reilly McCue
P.O. Box 135 Washington VT 05675
Phone: 802-233-6621


This is for the real fishing enthusiast who just canít stop fishing regardless of what time of the year it is. Despite the cold temperatures both above and below the ice, winter fishing can be a very productive way to catch Vermont fish. Just let us know what species you would like to catch and weíll match you up with a waterway that holds the fish that you are after. Enjoy a winter
sunrise or sunset on one of Vermontís lakes, ponds, or river set backs for the species of your choice. Or, spend a full day packing
in as much winter fishing as you can. *All equipment and food needed for the day will be provided. Full day trips will include a shanty or vehicle  on the ice.


Whitetail Strategies Guide Service
Central, VT
Deer, Turkey and Rabbit Hunting, Ice Fishing
Fred Scott
3118 Stage Rd, Benson, VT, 05743
Phone: 802-537-2393
Whitetail strategies guide Service will be offering guided ice fishing trips on the southern end of Lake Champlain. Fish that are caught include northern pike, walleye, large mouth bass, yellow perch, white & black crappie, channel catfish, and blue catfish. In between catching fish, enjoy the comfort of the wood stove inside the 10x16 ice house with seats and tables. Portable jigging houses available as well.
Safe ice usually starts around the 1st of the year, so book your trip as far in advance as possible, due to limited space. One on one fishing or up to groups of 4. I encourage kids and first timers to the sport of ice fishing. It's a lot of fun, and if you eat fish, it's one of the best times to put some fresh fish on the dinner table.



General Ice Fishing  Information
More Fishing Information
Ice Fishing Rules

Buy Your License

Bait and Tackle Shops
Fish Hatcheries
Fishing Shanty Rentals
Ice Shanty Removal Date

Ice Safety Tips
Ice Fishing Derbies
Lodging for Ice Fishing
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Bait and Tackle Shops


Big River Bait & Tackle
2093 Silver Street,
Hinesburg, VT. 05461

Rack 'N Reel Sporting Goods
5343 Ethan Allen Hwy, New Haven, VT. 05472


Tom's Bait & Tackle
Bomoseen, VT.

Otter Creek Bait Shop
Ferrisburg, VT.

Steve's Bait Shop
N. Hartland, VT.

Complete List of  Dealers




Lodging for Ice Fishing in Vermont


Green Mountain Inn
Stowe, VT

18 Main St. Stowe, VT
Phone: 802-253-7301


Pine Crest Motel and Cabins
Northeast Kingdom

1288 Barton-Orleans Rd. Barton VT. 05822
Phone: 802-525-3472



The Anchorage,
Lake Champlain Islands
South Hero, VT.
Phone: 802-372-6933



The Willough Vale Inn
Northeast Kingdom
Rt. 5A South Westmore, VT 05860
Phone: 802-525-4123


Ice Fishing Rules

Vermont offers great ice fishing in lakes throughout the state, and the action normally is great beginning in mid-January, depending on the weather. At least six inches of solid ice is recommended for safe ice fishing.

Vermontís premier fishing destination, Lake Champlain, offers many ice fishing opportunities. Ice anglers can find quality fishing for many species on this 120-mile long lake, including landlocked salmon, lake trout, northern pike, yellow perch, white perch, walleye, crappie, and smelt. There is no closed season for trout and salmon on Lake Champlain.

Vermontís ice fishing season for trout, salmon and bass starts January 16 and continues through March 15 on 40 other large Vermont lakes. A list of those lakes can be found on page 50 of the Vermont Guide to FishingRegulations.



Ice Shanties Must Be Removed from Ice, before the last Sunday in March
 WATERBURY, VT Ė Cold weather may have extended ice fishing on some Vermont lakes, but a state law requires that ice fishing shanties must be removed from the ice no later than Sunday, March 29th.  The same Vermont law requiring the name and address of the owner be on an ice shanty also requires that the shanty be removed before the ice becomes unsafe or loses its ability to support the shanty out of the water, or before the last Sunday in March (the 27th this year), whichever comes first.  The fine for leaving your ice fishing shanty on the ice can be up to $1,000, and shanties may not be left at state fishing access areas. 


Ice Safety Tips

In Part From the Burlington Free Press
tips, from the U.S. Coast Guard, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, fishing groups and other organizations:

WATERBURY, VT -- Ice fishing is popular and a lot of fun. Each winter thousands of anglers venture onto Vermontís frozen lakes seeking panfish for the dinner table as well as trophy-size lake trout and northern pike. And, each winter, there are ice-related accidents often caused by poor judgment or poor decisions based on inadequate information.

-- Wait to walk on ice until it is a minimum of 2 inches thick. Many people wait until ice is 4 inches thick. Snowy ice is less sturdy than clear, hard ice.

-- Contact local bait shops and resorts for information on known thin ice areas.

-- River ice is always unsafe. Be extremely cautious crossing ice near river mouths, points of land, bridges, islands, and over reefs and springs. Current almost always causes ice to be thinner over these areas.

-- Currents and weak ice are usually under lake bridges.

-- Carry a pair of ice picks tied together with strong cord and wear them around your neck. You can use the picks to hoist yourself up if you fall through the ice. Holding one in each hand, you can alternately punch them into the ice and pull yourself up and out. You can make these at home, using large nails, or you can purchase good ones at stores that sell fishing supplies.

-- Avoid alcohol at all costs. It weakens judgment and enhances hypothermia.

-- Avoid driving on ice, but if you do, some safety experts suggest unbuckling your seatbelt and have a plan of action if the vehicle breaks through. Some also suggest driving with windows down and doors ajar for an easy escape. Move your car frequently because parking in one spot for a long time weakens ice. Leave your car or truck on shore. Every year several motor vehicles go through the ice on Vermont lakes, and many people have drowned as a result.

-- Let people know when and where you are going out on the ice. Leave information about your plans with someone -- where you intend to fish and when you expect to return.

-- When going out on the ice, probe ahead with an ice chisel. If the chisel goes through, gingerly turn around and retrace your steps off the ice.

-- Heated fishing shanties must have good ventilation to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Open a window or the door part way to allow in fresh air.

-- Wear a personal floatation device and don't fish alone.

-- Avoid going onto the ice if it has melted away from the shore. This indicates melting is underway, and ice can shift position as wind direction changes.

-- Waves from open water can quickly break up large areas of ice. If you can see open water in the lake and the wind picks up, get off!

-- Carry a safety line that can be thrown to someone who has gone through the ice.


New Rule to Help Prevent Spread of Fish Disease

Emergency Regulation on Baitfish to Help Prevent Spread of Deadly Fish Virus

 Waterbury, VT Ė The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board has enacted a new Emergency Rule in response to a deadly new fish disease known as Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) that is rapidly spreading through the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.  The new rule affects baitfish use in Vermont and is designed to proactively head off the spread of VHS and other fish diseases to the stateís waters.
VHS is a serious fish disease recently discovered in the Great Lakes
The disease causes the hemorrhaging of fish tissues and internal organs and can kill tens of thousands of fish in a single event.  The disease is currently known to affect 37 species of fish. Since there is no vaccination or cure, the disease cannot be controlled, only contained.
The Emergency Rule, signed into law on October 23, 2007 will be effective for 120 days, expiring on February 19, 2008.  The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board has also begun the process of reviewing a permanent regulation change that would take the place of the emergency rule after it expires.  Hearings to gather public input and comment will be held throughout the state prior to adopting the permanent rule.

 A summary of the emergency regulation is provided below.  The complete text of the regulation is available at

 Personal Bait Use Restrictions

The personal harvest and use of wild fish as bait is prohibited, with the exception of yellow perch and rainbow smelt, which only can be used on the waters from which they were caught.
A person may buy, possess, transport, and use only Vermont approved species of baitfish.
Anyone purchasing baitfish must keep and show upon request a receipt for purchases of baitfish from a state-approved commercial bait dealer. Purchased baitfish can only be used on a single waterbody, and cannot be transported to other waters for use. Receipts are valid for 48 hours from time and date of sale. After this, the baitfish may not be used and must be destroyed and disposed of properly.
Anglers must not depart waters of the state with baitfish in their possession.

Commercial Bait Dealers - Permitted Activities and Restrictions

 The commercial harvest, sale, and use of wild fish as bait are prohibited, except for those commercial dealers who will be designated as Lake Champlain Zone baitshops who then may only harvest wild bait from Lake Champlain, and only sell bait for use on Lake Champlain. Any other baitfish sold commercially must originate from a fish hatchery approved by the Commissioner.
A Commercial Bait Dealer may buy, possess, transport, and use only approved species of baitfish.
A Commercial Bait Dealer must provide each customer with a copy of a receipt containing the following information: 1) A unique receipt identification number, 2) The name of the bait dealer, 3) time and date of sale, 4) species purchased, 5) quantity purchased, 6) waterbody (limited to one) on which the bait will be used, 7) signature of purchaser.
Receipt forms will be provided to Commercial Bait Dealers by the Fish & Wildlife Department.
Commercial Bait Dealers must keep receipts and records of each individual lot of baitfish introduced into their shop for sale. The records must include the name of seller, address and telephone number of seller, date received, species identification, and number purchased. The permit holder shall retain the original receipts for at least one year after the date of sale. 

Disposal of water.

  Upon being removed from the water, all watercraft, watercraft trailers, boating or fishing equipment, including water in any bilge, ballast tank, bait bucket, and live well must be immediately emptied and drained of all water.
This does not apply to tanks or containers of potable drinking water or other beverages meant for human consumption.
  For more detailed information on the VHS fish disease and how these regulations may apply to you, and how to help prevent the introduction and spread of VHS, visit


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Vermont Outdoor Guide Association
P.O. Box 10
North Ferrisburg, VT. 05473
1 800-425-8747  (802) 425-6211