Commercial Bait Dealers

Only persons operating a place of business and offering baitfish for sale to the public may obtain a Commercial
Bait Dealers Permit. Any person who buys baitfish for resale or sells baitfish is required to obtain a Commercial Bait Dealers Permit. You do not need a permit if:

  • you only sell commercially preserved baitfish which are chemically treated in a manner approved by the department and then packaged for retail sale does not require a permit.
  • you are selling personally harvested baitfish as outlined in the Sale of Personally Harvested Baitfish 

Commercial bait dealers must declare in their permit application if they will be a statewide baitfish dealer, waterbody-specific baitfish dealer, or a zone-specific baitfish dealer (limited to one).

Statewide Baitfish Dealers

  • Statewide baitfish dealers are prohibited from possessing, buying, or selling wild caught baitfish.
  • Baitfish sold by statewide baitfish dealers must originate from an approved fish hatchery 
  • Baitfish must be held or kept in waters drawn from a secure well, a municipal water source, or other water source approved by the department.
  • Baitfish sold by statewide baitfish dealers may be used in waters throughout the state, except those waters listed as closed to baitfish use.

Waterbody-specific Baitfish Dealers

  • Waterbody-specific baitfish dealers must declare on their permit application the black-list water on which they are located.
  • Waterbody-specific baitfish dealers may harvest wild baitfish only from the declared black-list water and offer them for sale and use only on that black-list water.
  • Waterbody-specific baitfish dealers must have baitfish holding facilities that discharge only to their declared black-list waterbody and no other waters of the state.

Zone-specific Baitfish Dealers

  • Zone-specific baitfish dealers must declare on their permit application the non-black-list water and baitfish zone on which they are located.
  • Zone-specific baitfish dealers may harvest and purchase wild baitfish only from non-black-list waters from the declared baitfish zone and offer them for sale and use only in that baitfish zone or black-list water within that baitfish zone, except those waters listed as closed to baitfish use.
  • Zone-specific baitfish dealers must be located in the baitfish zone which they intend to harvest, purchase, hold, and sell baitfish unless otherwise permitted for on a Commercial Bait Dealers Permit.
  • Zone-specific baitfish dealers may purchase personally harvested wild rainbow smelt as outlined in Sale of Personally Harvested Baitfish provided they maintain a list of smelt purchases which include the name, address, telephone number, and signature of the angler who sold the smelt to the dealer, date of sale, quantity of smelt purchased, and waterbody of origin. Such a form will be provided by the Fish & Wildlife Department to the Commercial Bait Dealer.
  • Zone-specific baitfish dealers are prohibited from harvesting or purchasing wild baitfish which have come into contact with a black-list water. Dealers are also prohibited from holding or keeping baitfish in water drawn from a black-list water.
  • Zone-specific baitfish dealers must have baitfish holding facilities that discharge only to their declared baitfish zone unless other permitted for on a Commercial Bait Dealers Permit.

See § 141. Section 7 of the Baitfish Regulation for more information on Commercial Bait Dealers.

See also:

Contact Us

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
Commissioner Louis Porter

1 National Life Drive
Fish & Wildlife LogoDavis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3702
802-828-1000
fwinformation@vermont.gov

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