Fishing the Fifty
My Quest to Fish All 50 States
Vermont has many fishing opportunities, but most seemed to be fly fishing or bass fishing, and I was on the hunt for something different from what I can catch in Virginia. Fortunately, in addition to trophy bass, Lake Champlain holds trophy salmon and lake trout. Anglers seeking to target trophies in these species need look no further than Obe White (cloudninefishing.com) who has won or placed in a number of tournaments and whose trophy fish pictures speak for themselves. I booked a day and a half with Obe because my Connecticut trip ended up being during the third day of the trip, instead of the night of the second day, as I had originally planned. I am very happy about that switch because the fishing in Vermont was fantastic.
Vermont was getting some record heat (93 degrees the first day), although it did not feel very different from the normal humid heat we get all summer in Virginia. The feeding forecast predicted “Poor” prime fishing bites for both days, but, on the contrary, the action was excellent. I caught 20 fish the first day (17 lake trout, three Atlantic salmon) and 20 fish the second day (14 lake trout, five Atlantic salmon, and one cisco [lake herring]). The biggest lake trout was 25 inches, the cisco was 14 inches, and the biggest Atlantic salmon was 24 inches. Both the cisco and the biggest salmon were good enough for Master Angler Awards from Vermont.
Vermont is beautiful and fishing with Obe was amazing. Unfortunately, the population of sea lamprey (an invasive, predatory eel that can eventually kill the fish onto which it is attached) is thriving, with about 50% of the fish we caught having either lamprey marks or lamprey still attached. One 21-inch salmon even had a 16-inch lamprey attached, and one 18-inch lake trout had three lampreys attached. Hopefully, Vermont Fish and Wildlife will be able to exterminate, or at least contain, the lampreys before they destroy this wonderful fishery.
Welcome to Vermont
A beautiful drive through northern Vermont
My first Vermont fish was actually part of a double. This is the first, a four-pound lake trout
Another beautiful 24-inch lake trout, but with a lamprey bite mark
21-inch Atlantic salmon with 16-inch lamprey attached
The second half of the double that started my Vermont trip, a 24-inch lake trout
Champ! The local lake monster
24-inch trophy Atlantic salmon
14-inch trophy cisco (lake herring); had I known this was a trophy-worthy sport fish, I would not have been so nonchalant about the picture