The Green Mountain State is the last of New England's North Country trio that is highly susceptible to lingering cold, snow and ice at the end of winter, but by mid-April adventurous anglers can find enough open water to legally drop their favorite species a line. It's likely that the northern portion of the state will be snowbound till late April, but southern portions of the state should be ice-free by then. Here are your top options for spring fishing in Vermont.
With plenty of ice still left on Vermont's northern lakes, there's time to take advantage of Lake Seymour's population of big lake trout. Most fish are taken just off the bottom using live suckers, cut bait or large jigging lures. Patience is the rule because lake trout are slow-moving, cautious and tentative. Specimens weighing 10 or 15 pounds can take a bait and swallow it without tripping the flag! Always assume there's a fish on; take up the slack line till you feel resistance and then give a mighty yank — and don't be surprised to find that you have a fish on!
Green Mountain National Forest
By mid-April most of southern Vermont's best trout streams will be running free and clear, which means trout anglers will be in their glory. Head for the wild trout streams in the Green Mountain National Forest using Manchester Center as a base of operations. Ride the forest roads and trails looking for small streams at bridge and culvert crossings and fish the pools upstream and down using garden worms, nymphs or small wet flies. These clear-water pools can be difficult to fish, but careful anglers should have no problem presenting a bait to fish holding in the deepest, darkest water.
By May most of the water of the state will be clear of ice and snow, which means Lake Champlain's 600-mile shoreline, bays and islands will provide plenty of action for land-based anglers and boaters. The target of choice in spring includes trout and salmon, both species providing plenty of exciting action for trollers using minnow-imitating lures, plugs and streamers. Champlain's trout and salmon are especially active in early spring, so plan to be on the water throughout the day.
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Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
FLEX 'N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex 'N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
MSRP, Jacket $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
ABU GARCIA REVO SX
Abu Garcia's Revo SX baitcasting reel is now 25 percent lighter than before. The SX frame is crafted of a strong alloy while the handle sideplate are built with weight-reducing C6 carbon. Holds 145 yards of 12-pound mono.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.
Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.