Fish & Wildlife Recreation

fishing from a canoe


Lake Champlain is a world-class fishing destination. In recent years, it has become very popular for fishing derbies, many of which provide a valuable economic benefit to lakeshore communities. Of the Lake’s 81 fish species, about twenty are sought by anglers, including large and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, channel catfish, yellow perch, lake trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, steelhead trout, brown trout, and rainbow smelt.

In 2004, a reciprocal fishing license between New York and Vermont was adopted. This initiative was spearheaded in part by the local anglers and the Lake Champlain Citizen Advisory Committees. In order to fish on Lake Champlain, it is necessary to purchase a state permit. These permits help fund many activities vital to fisheries, such as fish hatchery programs and fisheries research.

Birding and Wildlife Viewing

The Champlain Valley is a major corridor of the Atlantic Flyway, the route taken by migratory birds each year in the spring and fall. The Lake Champlain Birding Trail connects about 90 birding sites along Lake Champlain’s shoreline and uplands in Vermont and New York. The Champlain loop is the nation’s first bi-state birding trail. Organizers hope to include future locations in Québec as well.

Great birding spots include:

  • Point au Roche State Park in Beekmantown, NY – (518) 563-6444
  • AuSable Wildlife Management Areas in Peru, NY – (518) 897-1200
  • Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, VT – (802) 868-2352
  • Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison, VT on Route 17 (802) 241-3700

These and other spots throughout the Basin also plenty of opportunities to see other wildlife, including moose, white tail deer, black bear, river otters, and lynx.