Baitfish regulations are designed to protect Vermont’s fish populations and fishing opportunities by preventing the introduction of fish diseases and other aquatic invasive species.
Personal Baitfish Harvest
Anglers may harvest wild baitfish for personal use, provided they use them only on the same water where harvested and only species approved for use as baitfish. Anglers may NOT transport baitfish they harvest away from that waterbody, but may store them on that waterbody indefinitely.
See Guides to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Laws for the list of fish species approved for baitfish use, legal collection methods and other restrictions.
Commercially Purchased Baitfish
Anglers must purchase baitfish from a state-approved commercial bait dealer. When you purchase baitfish you will be issued a Baitfish Transportation Receipts, which are valid for 96 hours from time and date of sale.
This means when you purchase baitfish from a baitshop, you have 96 hours to transport and use your purchased baitfish on the designated waterbody indicated on your receipt. You may not take those baitfish to any waterbody other than the one indicated on your receipt.
Anglers may purchase baitfish from a New York baitshop for use on Lake Champlain only. The baitshop must be Vermont-licensed, and the baitfish must be accompanied by a Vermont-issued baitfish transportation receipt.
Anglers may purchase baitfish from a New Hampshire baitshop for use on the Connecticut River and its setbacks only. The baitshop must be Vermont-licensed, and the baitfish must be accompanied by a Vermont-issued baitfish transportation receipt.
The Connecticut River, for the purpose of baitfish use, is defined as all waters of the river including the bays, setbacks, and tributaries, only to the first highway bridge crossing said tributaries on the Vermont side.