Fishing and Hunting In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Photo of smiling girl after catching a nice fat bass in Wallace Pond located in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom (NEK)

Vermont Catch-and-Release Spring Bass Season

Fun for All Ages

Spring fishing on Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom lakes is always fun!  Throughout the long winter, fish live deep in the frigid waters of these frozen lakes.  Their metabolisms slow to barely surviving, and they eat just enough to stay alive.

However, the onset of warm spring weather and “ice-out” bring new life to these northern Vermont fish.  Not only does their metabolism increase, but they become INCREDIBLY HUNGRY!!!  They also have a “need to feed” to strengthen themselves for the upcoming spawning season.  Fish, which by nature are usually cautious feeders, throw caution to the wind, and just want to EATEAT, and EAT some more!!!  Ladies and gentlemen…  Boys and girls…  Welcome to the “Pre-spawn.”

One of Vermont’s best kept secrets occurs during this pre-spawn season.  Vermont allows fishermen to take advantage of the aggressive feeding nature of pre-spawn bass during its Spring Catch-and-Release Bass Fishing Season.  In 2014, this season runs from Saturday, April 12, through Friday, June 13.

Fishing during this season is fun and rewarding.  Fishing is with artificial lures only (live bait may not be used).  You can catch these aggressive hungry fish, take a quick photo for bragging rights back home, and release the bass back into the lake so they may continue to feed, reproduce, and live some more!

Kids Under 15 Fish FREE in Vermont

kid catches nice lake wallace bassAnyone with a Vermont Fishing License (and remember, children under 15 years of age fish FREE!) can catch lots of fish during the pre-spawn.  Because it’s “catch-and-release,” there is no “limit” on how many fish you can catch each day.  You don’t need a fancy bass boat or expensive equipment, either.  Since the bass move from the deep cold water of the lake into the shallow, warmer water near shore at this time of year, you can cast from our sandy beach, or fish from a canoe, one of our rowboats, or our dock.  Since these bass are so HUNGRY, they will attack almost any lure!

Create Lasting Memories

The Vermont Catch-and-Release Bass Season is a GREAT way to introduce youngsters to the sport of fishing.  Young first-time anglers have fun catching fish, and the fond memories created make them want to come back for more!

On the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website there is a short, informative, and very well-written article which includes tips, techniques, and artificial lure suggestions to help you catch these pre-spawn bass.

One of their suggestions is to fish near large rocks or ledge which absorb the sun’s rays, thereby warming the water nearby.  They also suggest using “slow, wide-wobbling diving crankbaits, slow-rolled spinnerbaits, or jerkbaits.”  They have pictures of these lures and describe how to best use them to help you catch lots of pre-spawn bass!  To learn more, click here to open a new browser window to read the entire article.

Pre-spawn Bass Fishing at Jackson’s Lodge and Log Cabins

Here at Jackson’s, there is a rocky point that juts into the lake from our sandy beach which provides a good home for crayfish, one of the prime food sources targeted by these aggressive pre-spawn bass.  Lures which mimic crayfish would be one obvious option when fishing near this point, or from our dock which extends into the lake beyond.  Keep in mind, as you work your crayfish-like lure, that crayfish can move fairly quickly over short distances, but they don’t move very far each time.  Also keep in mind that the lake’s water is still relatively cold in the spring, so the bass are not at their quickest.  Whatever lure you use, remember to work it s-l-o-w-l-y to give the hungry bass time to attack.

On left Chris Matlack with a fat small mouth bass taken on Lake Wallace (Wallace Pond) in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom; On right, this big bass was caught at Wallace Pond in June of 2013

For more detailed hints, techniques, and lure suggestions, search for “pre-spawn bass fishing” in your favorite internet search engine.  Also, websites that sell fishing lures ( for example) tell you what conditions each lure is best for, how to best use it, and also include customer reviews and ratings of the different lures.  So… do a little homework while the ice is still covering Lake Wallace, and hopefully we’ll see you and yours in one of Jackson’s lakeside cabins this spring for Vermont’s fun and exciting Spring Bass Catch-and-Release Season!

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Trout Fishing in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Vermont’s 2014 trout season runs from April 12 to October 31.

Springtime Trout Are Hungry Trout

Although not as voracious spring feeders as pre-spawn bass (above), trout which inhabit the waters of Vermont’s northern lakes and ponds are also quite active in the spring of the year. Like bass, these trout can also be found in the more shallow areas of any given body of water at this time of year.

family trophy trout

Trout Hang Out In Their Comfort Zone

Trout tend to favor water that ranges between about 40 and 52 degrees fahrenheit. This is an important fact to remember throughout the fishing season. Being aware of this fact will help you locate trout at different times of the year. In early spring, the water in this temperature range is found between the surface and about 15 feet. As the season progresses and surface water warms in mid-spring, trout can be found between about 30 to 50 feet deep. Into the heat of summer, trout have to move even deeper to find their comfort zone. This can be as deep as 50 feet or more! However, remember that in spring-fed lakes (like Lake Wallace/Wallace Pond), trout can be found at any level if there is a cold spring beneath them providing a cozy area of 40 to 52 degree comfort.

Fishing for trout at different times of the year also requires different tactics. In early spring, a novice angler with basic equipment can have great luck fishing from shore or a dock. Of course, as the season progresses and the trout move into deeper water, you’ll need to get your lure or bait down to where the fish are.

Choosing The Right Tools For The Job

Fishermen fishing on Lake Wallace in their boat at Jackson's LodgeFor lake trout in early spring, try injured or dead bait (or lures which mimic injured or dead bait). Even though these “lakers,” “rainbows,” and “browns” are hungry, they are also weak after their long winter. Because of this, they often choose the easy meal over “the chase.”

During summer, when trout are hanging deep, consider trolling using the “3-Way Swivel Technique.” Your line attaches to the top of the 3-way swivel; a 1 or 2 ounce weight at the end of a 3 foot section of line attaches to the bottom of the swivel; and a 3 foot piece of line with a light lure trails behind the swivel as you troll. This gets your gear down to where the trout are. Don’t troll too quickly… just fast enough to allow your lure or bait to do its thing.

As far as gear goes, many experienced anglers recommend “smaller is better.” Very large fish will hit on small lures or bait, but you may be cheating yourself out of a chance to catch more average size fish if your bait or lure is too large.

Another good thing to know is that trout have a keen sense of smell. If you are a smoker, have been handling gas cans, or any unnatural smelling thing, wash your hands well before touching your fishing gear or bait. It is believed that trout actually sniff bait or lures before they bite. Some “old timers” even rub their hands in dirt or weeds before touching their gear or baiting their hook!

Northeast Kingdom Fishing Spots Near Jackson’s Lodge and Log Cabins

Jackson’s is located on the eastern shore of Wallace Pond (Lake Wallace). Wallace is actually an international body of water with the majority of it in Canada. The good news is that anyone with a Vermont fishing license (or under the age of 15) can fish the entire lake. (Don’t touch down on the Canadian shore however… That would be considered an illegal entry into Canada which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police definitely frown upon.)

About 5 miles west of Jackson’s lie Forest Pond (Forest Lake), Great Averill Lake (Big Averill), and Little Averill Lake. Big Averill and Little Averill each have spots that are over 100 feet deep! Little Averill also has the distinction of being designated a “Trophy Lake” by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Lake trout must be a minimum of 20 inches long to be considered “a keeper.”

About 5 miles east of Jackson’s you’ll find the Connecticut River, which forms the border between northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Holders of Vermont fishing licences (or under the age of 15) may legally fish the Connecticut. The Connecticut is a favorite destination of fly-fishing enthusiasts, and it’s also a beautiful place to cast a lure or live bait. We can even fix you up with a professional guide for a Connecticut River “float” fishing excursion!

Check out the local map (below) to see how a fishing cabin rental at Jackson’s Lodge and Log Cabins puts you right in the middle of some of the best fishing spots in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom !

Local map showing great Northeast Kingdom fishing spots including: Wallace Pond (Lake Wallace), Forest Lake, Little Averill Lake, Great Averill Lake (Big Averill), and the Connecticut River.

Sound like it might be fun??? Contact us today using our easy-to-use online form to reserve your very own family-friendly and pet-friendly lakeside Northeast Kingdom fishing cabin! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Vermont Moose Hunting Season Lodging in Vermont Fish & Wildlife Management Unit E1

During the fall of the year, if you’re lucky enough to score a moose hunting permit in Vermont’s annual Moose Lottery, consider a lakeside cabin rental at Jackson’s as your very own moose hunting camp.  Many hunters who have stayed at Jackson’s have had successful hunts and now have freezers full of Vermont moose meat to show for their efforts! Jackson’s is conveniently located in Vermont Fish & Wildlife “Wildlife Management Unit E1.”  The majority of moose hunting permits in Vermont are issued for Wildlife Management Unit E1 (WMU E1).  Geographically, WMU E1 is located in the northeast corner of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and is home to the best moose hunting in Vermont.

A happy and successful moose hunter who stayed at Jackson's Lodge poses with her uncle and an albino moose in Vermont Wildlife Management Unit E1 during the Vermont 2010 moose season .

-A Note From Jackson’s-

This page will be an ongoing effort to share fishing and hunting information and photos with you.

We enjoy receiving and posting pictures of successful fishermen (fisherwomen???) and hunters who have stayed at Jackson’s or fished or hunted in the Northeast Kingdom. We’re hoping for everything from a toddler who caught a crayfish with a string and a piece of hot dog… to the big one that didn’t get away!

If you have any digital photos you’d like to see here, please attach them to an email and send them to Gloria at

If you have good old paper photos you’d like to see here, please mail them to Gloria using the address below. We’ll scan them and get them right back to you.

With any photo you send, please include any identifying information you might like to see included with the picture when it is posted here.

Thanks for visiting!!!

If you’re looking for more useful links, please look at the ones listed below!

New Hampshire Fish & Game New Hampshire Fish & Game

Osprey Fishing Adventures website.Osprey Fishing Adventures website.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife website.Vermont Fish and Wildlife website.

Vermont Outdoor Guide Association - Vermont's most complete directory of outdoor services and adventure travel resources.

Vermont Outdoor Guide Association – Vermont’s most complete directory of outdoor services and adventure travel resources.

Vermont Outdoors Woman Mission Statement: "To encourage and enhance the participation of women of all ages and abilities in outdoor activities, through hands-on education"Vermont Outdoors Woman Mission Statement: “To encourage and enhance the participation of women of all ages and abilities in outdoor activities, through hands-on education.”

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Jackson's Lodge and Log Cabins
PO Box 384
Canaan, VT 05903
Phone: 802-266-3360