Only a few decades ago, Vermont's largest native game fish was widely considered extinct in state waters. It was thought that the last, remnant population of muskellunge in the Lake Champlain basin was wiped out by a chemical spill in the 1970s. But to the delight of anglers and fisheries managers, a small but steady number of these huge, toothy fish have been caught in recent years, which has both rekindled interest in fishing for muskie and sparked renewed efforts to restore these spectacular predators in Lake Champlain.
If you want to have the lights, computer and other household appliances come on at the flip of a switch, you need to have reliable energy. Generating and transmitting electricity has never been synonymous with wildlife conservation, but today one Vermont power company is leading the way in integrating wildlife management into its mission of providing safe, dependable energy to its customers. The Vermont Electric Power Company, or VELCO, manages 635 miles of power line right-of-ways, which collectively cover almost 13,000 acres across Vermont. For years management objectives were simply to keep the power line corridor free of high-growing vegetation to prevent potential power outages. With minor changes to its management practices, VELCO is now playing an important role in providing habitat for a variety of wildlife species.
The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife’s mission is “the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.” This includes everything from moose to turtles. As more and more nesting habitat for turtles disappears due to lake shore development, Steve Perrin, the coordinator of the non-game and natural heritage program, has been researching ways to protect nesting habitat for several turtle species.
When cold December nights begin to freeze local ponds and lakes, most waterfowl hunters are packing away their guns and digging out the ice augers. But there are a few hardy souls that brave the bitter temperatures in pursuit of goldeneyes. Also known as whistlers or ice ducks, these rugged diving ducks are the often the last migratory birds found on Lake Champlain as fall gives way to winter, and they offer some of the hottest hunting of the year.
When it comes to fishing in New England it’s tough to beat the opportunities that are offered by Lake Champlain. But when the ice goes out early and you’re still looking to catch fish you don’t have to wait long or look very far. On Vermont’s east coast the Connecticut River offers some of the best walleye fishing in the northeast and in the spring the fish start biting in mid March. The walleye fishery is so good on the Connecticut that even if you miss the peak by a day or two you’re still going to get into fish especially if you’re with someone who knows where to find them.
Formed in West African refugee camps, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have found worldwide acclaim for their infectious music and message of peace. The All Stars are set to wow the crowd, May 24 at Higher Ground, performing past hits and music from their latest release, Rise & Shine.
This is a pre-launch concert for the "Summer Global Music Voyage” concert series, presented by Higher Ground and Vermont’s own Cumbancha. Beginning June 30, the concert series will present four world music luminaries: Novalima, Freshlyground, Rupa & the April Fishes and Bombino. Tickets are available for individual shows or the full series. Find more info at highergroundmusic.com.
$15 advance / $17 at the door
1-888-512-7469 / highergroundmusic.com
If you're looking for big steelhead trout in Vermont, you'll find no finer spot to cast than the eleven-mile stretch of the Willoughby River between Lake Willoughby and the Barton River. Every spring people come from miles around not only to fish, but watch them jumping upstream to reach spawning grounds. The falls at Orleans presents one of the best fish watching opportunities in Vermont if not all New England. Host Lawrence Pyne, and angler Michael Hahn, tackle the Willoughby in search of two feet of steelhead.
When it comes to making things out of wood no animal is more persistent and more proficient than the beaver. Beaver dams provide valuable wet land habitat for several species of fish and wildlife. But these same dams can cause a lot of damage to roads and septic systems. In this segment, we look at a unique project called the "Cooperative Beaver Baffle Demonstration Project" that uses water control structures to properly manage beaver dam water levels.
Kayaks are challenging boats to learn how to paddle. Building them requires a whole different set of challenges. We visited the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to look at their "Champlain Discovery" program that teaches teenagers with almost no woodworking experience how to build their own kayaks. The program culminates with a student trip on Lake Champlain in their new boats.