• Salmon fishing is fall fun on Champlain
    By Darren Marcy | November 16,2012
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    If you think it’s too cold to be fishing right now, you’re right. And if you think it’s too cold to be going out on Lake Champlain in a boat, you are absolutely right.

    But that’s the best way to put a couple of salmon in your freezer right now before the ice takes over and, well, then it will be really, really cold.

    Might as well go fishing.

    Vermont’s landlocked Atlantic salmon program has been growing and its success continues to pay off with fish in the boat for anglers.

    The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is proud of its success and, in a press release, said it is seeing good results.

    Monitoring of the salmon population is showing continued growth this year.

    The department recently conducted its fall salmon assessment, sampling fish on Lake Champlain and results are looking good.

    “Preliminary results indicate continuing improvements in the Lake Champlain salmon fishery as a result of the annual sea lamprey control program,” said Brian Chipman, a state fisheries biologist.

    The stocking efforts in the state are impressive.

    The department stocked 121,400 yearlings/smolts this year in Champlain and, according to the stocking schedule, a rough estimate of about 190,000 1-year-old, 7- to 8-inch salmon.

    Chipman said the surveys revealed encouraging details about the survival of those trout stocked in past years.

    “This fall, we are finding good numbers of salmon in the tributaries, with a sizeable abundance of older, larger fish,” Chipman said. “We have handled a lot of salmon in the 4- to 6-pound range, and several in the 8- to 10-pound range. This suggests that more salmon are surviving beyond their second year in the lake after being stocked as 7-inch yearlings.”

    While many anglers troll for landlocks on the main body of Champlain, others will try their luck in some of the tributaries of Lake Champlain.

    The department, in its press release, said many anglers overlook the tributaries that can offer great fishing through November and right up until the ice covers the water.

    Anglers should try fishing the Lamoille River below Peterson Dam and the “Salmon Hole” area of the Winooski River, according to the Fish & Wildlife’s press release.

    Anglers who go on the water in a boat need to remember to wear a personal flotation device and dress for extreme conditions.

    Even a day that starts out warm and calm can turn quickly and Champlain is capable of testing a boat when it gets rough.

    Fish & Wildlife recommends a boat capable of handling rough water that can develop quickly and taking precautions. If there is any hint the weather could turn, it’s better to cut your day short and head to shore.

    An advantage of late-season salmon fishing is there’s a chance of also catching rainbow and brown trout as well as lake trout using the same lures and techniques that catch salmon.

    Some anglers troll deep, just as they would in the spring, but that’s not always necessary.

    Salmon are sometimes found shallow and can be caught with spinners, spoons and similar baits, as well as trolling a streamer on a fly rod.

    Most of the serious salmon anglers, however, will try trolling at different depths using downriggers, leadcore line and other devices to get your lure to great depths.

    If you hook into a salmon, hang on. They’re known as strong swimmers and can put up quite a fight.

    If you catch a big one, have it weighed and measured, even if you’re releasing it to fight another day.

    Vermont adult anglers can earn a Master Angler award for catching a 24-inch landlocked salmon, while a youth needs to catch a 20-incher.

    If you really catch a monster, the state record is 12 pounds, 10.4 ounces.

    Contact Darren at darren@darrenmarcy.com or at his website at www.DarrenMarcy.com.
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