With more than 400 square miles of surface area, 70 islands, and 120 miles of trolling possibilities, anglers visiting the Lake Champlain Region will never get bored with the possibilities. Not only do they have to grapple with which section of water they want to hit, they also have to decide which species to target; the options are never-ending. Flanked to the west by the Adirondack Mountains of New York and to the east by the Green Mountains of Vermont, Lake Champlain holds numerous state records for many species. Thanks to a reciprocal license agreement between the states, anglers needn't worry about state lines beneath the waves in the main or south regions of the lake, which are below the Lake Champlain Bridge.
Lake Champlain is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the U.S. Pick up a copy of the latest NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Official Regulations Guide at the Lake Champlain Visitors Center, or where you purchase your New York state fishing license.
First class for bass
The Bassmaster Tournament Series consistently ranks Lake Champlain in its top 100 bass fisheries, where quantity, quality, and even scenery are important factors. In fact, Lake Champlain has ranked in the top 25 several times, and was even awarded the number 5 rank in 2012. But if you speak with any of the pro-anglers, you may find an even higher ranking.
Whether it is smallmouth or largemouth bass you are after, Lake Champlain has an abundance of both. The bass fishing here is excellent!
The Bassmaster Tournament Series hosts several Pro/Am events on Lake Champlain throughout the year, but casual fishermen and women also have ample opportunity to reel in their fair share of largemouth and smallmouth bass — along with 75 other fish variations — by land or by boat.
Lure you in
The central and southern portions of Lake Champlain are known as bass country. That's why you can’t gaze across the water without noticing the generous peppering of bass boats during tournaments. Pro anglers recognize that the dense weed beds and rocky drop-offs here are the perfect habitat for the coveted fish.
More than a dozen state or municipally owned boat launches are ready and waiting to get you in the water and provide ample parking for your vehicle. Hard surface boat ramps make for easy lake access for your rig. If you want to give bass fishing a try, experienced guides are available to introduce you to techniques and provide all of the appropriate tackle.
How about those trout
Lake Champlain boasts excellent lake trout and landlocked salmon fishing. With cooler water temperatures in early spring and late fall, you may find them anywhere in the main lake, from Plattsburgh south to Port Henry. Shoreline, dock, and pier fishermen often have success in very early spring after the ice is out. During warm-water summer months, experts recommend you find them below 35 feet down and most often north of Westport, where the water is deeper.
If you are more of a stream fisherman looking for the other trout species, the region's numerous streams are stocked with brook, brown, and rainbow trout by both the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Essex County Fish Hatchery. Many waterways in the region also hold wild trout, adding to the challenge.
While Lake Champlain jumps off of the map, be sure not to overlook other hot spots like the Boquet River, the LaChute River, Putt’s Creek, the Ausable River, and Ensign and Bartlett ponds in Moriah, among others.
Take time to explore
Put it all together and it's no surprise that fishermen and women flock to the Lake Champlain Region each year. You'll want to spend more than a day checking out our wide variety and first-class fishing sites, and we have plenty of places to hang your fishing hat at the end of the day, grab a great meal, and recharge for the next morning.
Our local bait and tackle shops are ready and willing to help you see the action. Stop by and discuss your target species for the insider’s scoop, the best bait or lure, and some target locations for that particular fish. Here you may find many local sport fishermen sharing stories and acting as ambassadors of the sport. Or, if you really want to accelerate the learning curve, you can hire one of our experienced fishing guides. They'll point you to the right spots, tell you which lure or bait to use, and you'll have great fishing your entire stay. So mark your calendars now, book a reservation at one of our numerous lodging or camping spots along the lake, and get ready to land the big one.
Leave No Trace
The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.