Reciprocal Fishing Privileges

On January 1, 2004, an agreement went into effect, which allows anglers with either a New York or Vermont fishing license to fish most of Lake Champlain. The agreement allows reciprocal fishing in the “Main” and “South” portions of the Lake between New York and Vermont. Four bays, lying wholly within their state’s borders, are not included. South Bay in New York is not open to Vermont license holders. New York license holders may not fish in waters on the east side of the railroad fills at Malletts Bay, the Gut, and Pelots Point. (These areas are also known as the Inland Sea). Rivers and streams that flow into Lake Champlain from both states are excluded from the agreement.

The regulations and catch limits of the state fished must be abided, regardless of the state license possessed. Please refer to each state’s fishing regulations for the details of the agreement, which are available by calling: VT Dept. of Fish & Wildlife at (802) 241-3700 or NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation at (518) 897-1333.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources continues to study the mercury concentrations of Lake Champlain’s fish to determine safe fish consumption levels to provide guidance to anglers. There was an uptick in mercury concentrations between 2011-2017, which is being closely researched to discover the cause.

Mercury concentration in Lake Champlain fish tissue.

The LCBP continues to support local efforts to improve and enhance public access to Lake Champlain and its lower tributaries. Projects have included replacing riverbank stairways and installing kayak and canoe slides at the Ethan Allen Homestead and Millyard canoe launches on the Lower Winooski River.

The goal is to provide additional recreational opportunities in ways that do not significantly worsen water quality or degrade the environment that draws visitors to the region.