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Fishing Access Areas

Department of Fish and Wildlife Access Area

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department maintains more than 190 developed fishing access areas, providing public access for shore fishing opportunities and launching of water craft.

Department staff are assessing damage from the July 10-11 flooding. At this time we ask that visitors to Access Areas/WMAs stay out of moving water, and turn back at any sign of risk or damaged infrastructure. 

Search for a Fishing Access Area

Search for an access area based on waterbody, county, boat size, or fish species.

View a Statewide Map of Fishing Access Areas

Use the map to locate a place to go fishing or boating.

Seasonal Dock Updates and Access Area Improvement Projects

Check out which docks are are closed due to flood damage and which access areas are scheduled for improvement and the impact of the project on the access area.

Access Areas FAQs

How many access areas are there in Vermont?

The department maintains approximately 196 access areas, all of which are free.

  • 143 access areas have concrete or gravel boat ramps

  • 30 provide non-motorized boat access

  • 23 provide shore fishing access

The department also has assisted in constructing approximately 10 municipal, state, or federal facilities throughout the state.

When are the docks put in and taken out of the water?

Ideally all the docks are in by May 15 and removed after Thanksgiving weekend, but weather conditions and lake levels may cause the dates to vary.

What can I do at an access area?

Access areas are provided for anglers, boaters, hunters, and trappers. Department access area rules help guide users on what activities are allowed.

The rules list authorized uses in order of priority including:

  • angling, launching of boats, hunting and trapping and vehicles associated with those uses

  • launching of non-motorized vessels

  • operation of ATVs and snowmobiles ONLY when used in conjunction with ice fishing

Prohibited activities cover a wide range and it is suggested that you refer to the access area rules Section 5.0 to review the entire list.

What if an activity is neither an authorized nor prohibited use?

If an individual or group wishes to engage in an activity that is not specifically addressed in the access area rules, they can apply for a special use permit requesting permission to conduct that activity. Requests should be made to the department at least 30 days in advance.

Where can I find out about speed or horse power restrictions on a specific water body?

The Department of Environmental Conservation, Watershed Management Division adopts rules regulating, among other things, the use of public waters and lake levels. You can view all public waters rules, which help protect normal uses on all lakes, ponds, and reservoirs.

What are universal shore fishing platforms?

Universal shore fishing platforms are designed to provide shore fishing access to anglers of all ages and those with physical limitations. Additionally, all new docks will be complaint with the 2010 ADA standards for recreational boating facilities. You can find universal access areas using our advanced access area search.

Who pays for the access areas?

Funding for the access areas comes from both state and federal sources in a user-pay system. Fishing license revenues and motorboat registration fees are used to leverage federal money from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal funds are generated through an excise tax on fishing tackle or a motorboat fuel tax. The US Fish and Wildlife Service will pay for up to 75 percent of eligible boat access expenditures.

Access area expenditures are outlined in the department’s annual legislative reports.

Who maintains the access areas?

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department maintains more than 185 access areas that are either owned or leased by the department. The access area program uses contracted vendors and the Department of Corrections Community Restitution Program to maintain individual areas.

Who do I contact if there is a problem at an access area?

You can contact your local warden if there is a legal issue or fish and wildlife violation, or the department headquarters in Montpelier (802-828-1000 / if it is a facility or operation problem.

Does the department have any marinas or mooring facilities?

No, but there are numerous marinas nearby department access areas and the Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation has a marina at Burton Island State Park.

Do you have a list of state parks with boat ramps?

Visit Vermont's State Parks website to search for public boat ramps located at state parks.