The Lure of Vermont Ice Fishing on Lake Champlain
March 03, 2022
Bruce Batchelder was a child when his parents moved from Island Pond to the Champlain Islands. Vermont ice fishing is a big deal in the islands, where the land is flat and surrounded by Lake Champlain. For Batchelder, ice fishing has been an essential part of his life for as long as he can remember.
A former educator and school administrator, Batchelder and his wife Joanne have owned Holiday Harbor Lodge in North Hero for the past 16 years. The lakeside lodge specializes in ice fishing, summertime fishing, and other outdoor recreational opportunities. The lodge includes direct access to Lake Champlain with a boat launch and a live bait and tackle shop.
On a recent mid-February weekend, Batchelder was particularly busy hosting a group of ice fishing enthusiasts from Massachusetts for the Annual Islands Ice Fishing Derby. He took some time to talk about what he loves most about Vermont ice fishing.
“It’s very mysterious and very primal,” he says. “You’re really in touch with the elements, and you have to protect yourself from the cold and the wind. It’s exciting to catch a fish through a small hole in the ice.”
Vermont Ice Fishing Resources for Lake Champlain
At 120-miles long, Lake Champlain includes everything from landlocked salmon to walleye. According to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, here are fish you can hope to find while ice fishing in Vermont on Lake Champlain.
Hotspots include Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Bay, Dillenbeck Bay, Kelley Bay, Carry Bay, Keeler Bay, St. Albans Bay; south of the Sandbar Causeway between Milton and South Hero; and south of the Champlain Bridge between Addison to Benson.
Trout and Salmon
As the season progresses and more ice forms, landlocked salmon can be caught in the Inland Sea north of the Sandbar Causeway.
If there is ice along the deeper areas of the lake, your best bet is the west shore of Grand Isle and in Outer Mallets Bay, Shelburne Bay, Converse Bay, and Button Bay south to the Champlain Bridge.
A good place to find Walleye is at the southern end of the lake near Benson and Orwell, as well as the northern end of the lake in Swanton and Alburg.
Happy Vermont Podcast: Vermont Ice Fishing
In this podcast episode of Happy Vermont, Bruce Batchelder talks about Vermont ice fishing and why he loves the Champlain Islands. You can listen to this podcast on Podbean, Spotify, or wherever you find podcasts.