Commercially Purchased Baitfish

If you buy your baitfish from a commercial baitfish dealer here are the rules you need to follow.baitfish in a net

  • You must have and keep with you a transportation receipt issued by a state-approved commercial bait dealer, authorizing transportation of baitfish overland. This baitfish transportation receipt is valid for 10 days from the time and date of sale indicated on the receipt.
  • Purchased baitfish may only be used in the baitfish zone or black-list water recorded on the baitfish transportation receipt.
  • You may transport unused commercially purchased baitfish away from a waterbody and use it within 10 days in the same baitfish zone or black-list water as indicated on the receipt: 
  • Zoned baitfish receipt (East Zone/West Zone)
    • Can be used on multiple non-black-list waters in the same zone.
    • Can be used on a black-list water in that zone, but once on that water it cannot be taken off the water.
    • Cannot be used in a different baitfish zone other than what’s on the receipt.
  • Black-list water baitfish receipt
    • Can be used back and forth ONLY on that black-list water.
    • Smelt Exception: Commercially purchased rainbow smelt cannot be transported off the specific black-list water once they are brought onto it.

Holding/Storing Unused Baitfish

  • If you transport unused commercially purchased baitfish away from a waterbody to use later you may store them in any non-black-list water within the baitfish zone listed on the baitfish transportation receipt as long as:
    • The baitfish did not come in contact with a black-list water, and
    • The baitfish cannot be stored in waters where baitfish use is prohibited.
  • If you transport unused commercially purchased baitfish away from a waterbody to use later you may not store them in waters of a different baitfish zone. If transported outside the baitfish zone or black-listed water listed on the transportation receipt, these baitfish must be kept in a closed container isolated from any inflow or outflow of lake, pond, or stream water.
  • Baitfish may be held beyond the 10 days period in a baitfish zone or black-list water provided they remain in the same waterbody where they were used in a baitbox not exceeding 25 cubic feet in volume.

Purchasing from a New York Baitshop

  • You may purchase baitfish from a New York baitshop for use in the Lake Champlain black-list water, provided the baitshop is Vermont-licensed, and the baitfish are accompanied by a Vermont-issued baitfish transportation receipt.

Purchasing from a New Hampshire Baitshop

  • You may purchase baitfish from a New Hampshire baitshop for use in the Connecticut River black-list water, provided the baitshop is Vermont-licensed, and the baitfish are accompanied by a Vermont-issued baitfish transportation receipt. For baitfish use, the Connecticut River is defined as all waters of the river including the bays, setbacks, and tributaries to the first highway bridge crossing said tributaries on the Vermont side.

Commercially Preserved Baitfish and Eggs

  • Commercially prepared and preserved baitfish and fish eggs available from retail stores may be purchased and used as bait, taken home, and kept for later use provided they are retained in the original packaging at all times.

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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