The Winooski River system is home to several varieties of freshwater fish. They are generally found in two distinct types of fisheries: cold water and warm water. Cold water fisheries are typified by fast-moving water and rapids, which includes the headwaters of rivers that originate high in the mountains. (The Winooski starts east of the Green Mountains, not in the mountains). They are also found below functioning dams if the dams are of the type that releases water from the bottom of a large, deep pool. Fish in these areas include rainbow trout, brook trout, or squaretail, and brown trout--all species which are known for the exciting fight they give fishermen.
Warm water fisheries are found in placid and slow running water, as well as in wider and deeper stretches where the sun increases the temperature of the water. They contain small mouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, and rock bass. Chain pickerel are found in some of the ponds formed by dams along the river and largemouth bass, northern pike, brown bullhead and channel catfish are found below the Salmon Hole.
Regions along the Winooski offer opportunities to catch both types of fish. Near the mouth of the river, at Lake Champlain, walleye, landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, and occasionally lake trout make their way up the river to spawn. The Salmon Hole just downstream of the Winooski-Burlington bridge, is posted by the State as closed to fishing during the early spring to protect spawning walleyes.
Currently, one species of fish in the Winooski River, the Eastern Sand Darter, is listed as a threatened species. This member of the perch family is quite small and true to its name as it hides in the sand.
For additional information regarding fishing rules and regulations, consult the Vermont Hunting and Fishing Handbook, which is available at any establishment where fishing licenses are sold.