Where to Go
There are two public access areas on the lower Winooski River, which is located in Colchester and Burlington, VT and drains into Lake Champlain. Both access areas have fishing platforms, and the fishing is often good right from the platforms.
At Colchester Point Access Area (sometimes called Windermere Way Access Area) you can walk down the bike path and get near the mouth of the river. The fishing platform at the access area is also universally accessible and portable toilets are available.
Just west of the Colchester Point Access Area is the Burlington bike path, which passes through Winooski Park District’s Delta Park. The Heineberg Bridge Access Area is further upstream where VT Route 127 crosses the river.
Fish You'll Find
The lower Winooski River has a diverse fish population primarily because it has a direct connection to Lake Champlain. Any species found in Lake Champlain can be found in the lower river.
Some common species you should expect to encounter are: yellow perch, white perch, smallmouth and largemouth bass, brown bullhead, and northern pike. Other species that may occasionally be caught include walleye, landlocked Atlantic salmon, lake trout, and brown trout.
In general, mid-May through fall offers excellent fishing in the lower river. However the variety and abundance of species will change through the season. For example, your chances of catching a walleye are best in May during the spawning season, while yellow and white perch are most abundant in the river in the summer months.
One of the simplest methods is a nightcrawler on a single hook with some weight. Depending on the water current, you may need more or less weight, but the goal should be to get the bait near the bottom. You can also use a bobber during summer low flow conditions, but as always, try to experiment with depth. Another useful technique is it to try casting an inline spinner or small minnow-imitating plug. Avoid fishing after heavy rains, which can increase flows and muddy the water, making fishing difficult.
Learn more about freshwater bait and lures.
How Do I Get There?
To get to Colchester Point Access Area, take I-89 to Exit 16. Head north on US Route 7 toward Colchester. Turn left onto Blakely Road and travel to Lakeshore Drive. Bear left onto Lakeshore Drive and continue to Holy Cross Road. Continue on Holy Cross to a 4-way intersection where you will continue straight towards Colchester Point. Turn left onto Windermere Way and follow to the access area. If you have bikes you can easily get to Windermere Way by taking the Burlington Bike Path north.
To get to the Heineburg Bridge Access Area, take Exit 16 from I-89 onto US Route 7. Travel north for approximately 2 miles to Colchester, then turn left onto VT Route 127. Travel on VT Route 127 approximately 4 miles to Malletts Bay, then turn left onto Prim Road (Rte. 127 continuation). Travel another 1.75 miles on Rte 127/Prim Road, and the entrance to the access area will be on the right just before Rte 127 crosses the Winooski River.