Despite lingering snow on trails around Vermont, trout season officially opens Saturday.
Officials from Vermont Fish & Wildlife say anglers can be successful this early in the season by following a few basic tips.
“Given the cold weather and runoff from recent storms and snow melt, water levels will be high, flows will be faster than normal, and water temperatures will be cold,” said State Fisheries Biologist Bret Ladago.
Anglers may want to seek out small- to medium low-elevation rivers and streams where water flow is slower and water temperatures may be warmer.
“Finding water that isn’t too muddy can be key, and slowing your lure or bait retrieval will help tempt sluggish trout into biting,” Ladago said.
Trout will often stay close to the bottom in the deeper areas of streams during high-flow conditions to conserve energy.
Ladago said that fishing slowly with worms or spinners through deep holes behind current breaks created by big boulders, downed trees or log-jams can be productive for early season trout.
Ladago said early season can be tricky but opening weekend is usually successful. Trout stocking in streams and rivers generally occurs in May, after spring runoff, so most early season fishing is entirely supported by wild trout.
Those who prefer to catch and release can fish year-round for trout and bass. The 2018 Vermont Fishing Guide and Regulations lists rivers open to year-round trout fishing. The free guide is available where fishing licenses are sold, by calling the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department at 802-828-1000 and online at vtfishandwildlife.com.