Fishing in Vermont
This small, cold-running brook is down West Wheelock Street and across the Ledyard Bridge in Vermont. A Vermont license is needed. Take the left onto Museum Road, about a quarter-mile after crossing the bridge. Walk down to the mouth of the brook just before the entrance gate to the Montshire Museum. Here you will find some rocky pools that hold trout and bass. The often-flooded mouth holds a variety of finny fare, so try a cast or two while there.
Upstream (west) from I-91, there are pools and riffles which can hold trout stocked by the state in the spring. This nice brook meanders through the village of Norwich, but like Mink Brook, it too abuts private property. This kind of fishing requires lightweight, short rods because the brook is narrow. Use light tackle: flies, small lures, or worms.
After heading out of Hanover toward Vermont, take your first right after crossing the Ledyard Bridge, and proceed about 5 miles. Just past the railroad trestle, make a left turn onto Route 132, and then take an immediate left to the boat launch. Every fish that the main river holds is found here. Should you choose to continue straight on Route 132, the river narrows quickly and becomes good for wading after the first bridge. The river meanders on the right side of the road. Roadside pull-offs are clues as to where one can best reach the river without crossing private or posted land. The road eventually intersects Union Village Road. Route 132 forks left up a steep hill toward Strafford. Stay on it. The stream shows up again on the right and is fishable all the way to the village of Strafford. The rusty color of the stream bottom is the result of leaching from inactive copper mines in the area.
This trip might be saved for that day when you feel like seeing some Vermont countryside.
From Hanover, take I-91 North to Exit 16 and Bradford. The Waits River flows parallel to Route 25. My fishing jaunts have been from the dam in the town of Bradford and Route 5, west toward the towns of Waits River and West Topham. I explored this section with a friend a few years back and caught some nice Browns and Rainbows. Except for recreational swimmers, we had most of the river to ourselves. As we returned to the interstate heading for Hanover and home, we agreed to come back but never got the chance.
Beginning from Hanover again, cross the Ledyard Bridge and get on I-91 North. Drive about thirty miles to exit 17 and the town of Wells River. As you exit and join Route 302, the Wells River is dead ahead. It parallels 302 all the way to Groton and offers some interesting fishing. It has been some time since I have been up there, so I will not suggest any specific spots. But, because of its potential, it is worth a trip.
From Hanover, take I-91 South to Exit 10 North, and get on I-89 North. Get off at Exit 2 for Woodstock, VT. This fine stream runs through Woodstock all the way to Killington. Drive through the village of Woodstock on Route 4 toward Bridgewater. The river parallels Route 4 and is easy to reach and fish. A wonderful fly-fishing area. There is a well-supplied sporting goods store in Woodstock right on Main Street.
After heading south on I-91, get off at Exit 7. Driving toward Springfield, Vermont, one finds the Black River on the north side of Route 11. The first place to fish is within a mile of the exit, on the right. The river continues through the city of Springfield past a mill, and then toward North Springfield. Follow Route 108 straight ahead at the lights to a shopping mall. Do not turn left here.
Stop at a Lumber Yard about three miles further on, and ask if you can park and fish the river. It is few hundred yards behind the development, on the south side.
After driving south on I-91 to Exit 6, leave the interstate and drive toward Bartonsville and Chester Depot. I had the greatest time catching smallmouth from this river at every safe pull out I could find. I used streamer flies and a lightweight spin rod with Mepps lures.
After this outing, you have gotten as far as Chester Depot. Take Route 11 north back to Springfield. Follow the signs to I-91 North for the return to Hanover. There are some nice eating spots in this scenic area so take a break before heading home.
Somehow, I seem to have saved the choicest river in the vicinity for last. One reaches this renowned river by heading out of Hanover on Route 10 South. Make a right turn at the first set of lights after Wilder Dam. Cross the Connecticut River into the town of White River Junction. Continue straight ahead through two sets of streetlights, toward and through the town of Hartford. Just past the village, following Route 14, the White becomes obvious on your left. Follow this road and the river will be with you all the way to Sharon and beyond. There are at least three major branches.
It is virtually impossible to tell you where to begin fishing, though I can give a few suggestions. The river flows west to east; thus, morning or evening fishing is best. I believe it is possible to angle all night in Vermont, so don’t hesitate to stay out after dark. Remember to have a working flashlight and a sturdy staff for crossing the stream. This river runs wide and deep in many places and is generally quite clear. This insures big fish and lots of fishermen. There is also a fair amount of canoe, kayak, and tubing traffic. The best looking pools also hold swimmers during hot weather.
Get out your map of the drainage of this river and note the three branches. One could spend weeks here and still have places to explore. Use any fishing tackle you have and any lure, bait, or fly.
Some Favorite Spots: I usually start at Kelton’s Pool, about one mile out of Hartford, just past the White River Paper Company offices. The pull-off is on the left. Use caution, as this is a busy road. If there is a car parked there, drive on a few hundred yards and park on the right side. There are a series of large and deep pools in this stretch, so fish it in a leisurely fashion. The banks are steep and tricky and the river bottom is slippery. Very large trout and bass have been taken in this stretch of water!
My next stop is about two miles further along, at the Railroad Bridge Pool. The pull-off I use is on the left. The river is wider and shallower here, but don’t be fooled. There are ledges and deep holes up and down stream. If the water is shallow, wade toward the far bank and cast toward the shore. Try upstream, at the bend, in the faster water that flows into a deep pool.
The Falls is a mile past a car dealership, and green bridge in West Hartford. Look for Tigertown Road. As before, the pull-off is on the left. Falls, ledges, and wide pools will challenge you here.
A longer drive of about five miles will bring you to the village of Sharon. Ignore all the other inviting spots you pass. You can come back another day. A great section, Springhole, is located just after the steep hill and before open farmland. There is a wide dirt stretch on the left and very steep banks down to the river. That’s why few angle here. It is a picturesque spot and holds good fish. The water is deep and cold, but good for wading.
If you have any energy left, drive through Sharon, past another green bridge and gas station. The dirt road we want is just past the town shed. Ledges Pool is on the left, an easy walk to the river and nice open water to fish. I’d quit here and eat at one of the establishments in town if they are still open. You don’t have to take Route 14 back to Hanover. The entrance to I-89 is right in the village. This will get us back to our starting point and allows an excellent vista of the White River on the way back.
For our next try on the White, get back on I-89 North, and drive all the way to South Royalton, Exit 3. When you intersect Route 12, turn right and drive up the hill, almost to the State Police barracks on the left. Just before the barracks is the entrance to the state maintenance depot ask if it is acceptable to park inside the gate. I have driven in and hiked to the river for some excellent fishing at Depot Pool. It is a steep downhill walk, so be prepared.
Should the entrance gate be locked, drive further up the hill. Look for a paved road on the left, at the hill’s crest. Turn here and drive down this road, past the factory buildings and across the railroad tracks. Turn left on the dirt road. At the end, you are in the yard of Rood Roofing. I have gotten permission to park and fish as long as my car was out of the way. Walk down to the river to the Old Dam Pool or head downstream on the railroad tracks until you find a suitable spot. The pool at the old dam has held some nice fish, as have the boulders close to the railroad right of way. There is almost a mile of good water in this stretch, so take your time.
If things are slow, I return to Route 12 and drive into and through the town of Bethel. At the intersection in the center of town, take a left to stay with Route 12. Follow the river, now on the right, and visit the Federal Hatchery about three miles out of Bethel. The river comes very close to the road in another two miles and this is one of my favorite spots, Bend Pool, to end the day. Drive all the way into Randolph, or turn around at the next intersection and gas station to retrace your route back to Hanover. You can make the trip back on I-89 South or via Route 14.