Trout Fishing: To Release or Not to Release?

May is here and trout fishing season has begun throughout the state of Vermont.

Fishing resorts in Vermont are not hard to find, but ours is a little unique. Here at Sterling Ridge Resort, our large pond is ready for anglers young and old to enjoy a little casting time. Other trout fishing options include the Lamoille River or Brewster River – what better way than harvesting a fresh trout and grilling it over charcoal while enjoying a nice Vermont night. Fishing licenses are required when fishing off Sterling Ridge Property.

As many of you know, at Sterling Ridge Resort we recommend “catch and release” angling on our ponds while trout fishing and various freshwater fish. Vermont Fish & Wildlife suggests these simple steps for keeping your fish live:

1. Land fish rapidly, this gives the chance a better chance at living.

2. Keep fish in the water as much as you can. Try and limit the fish’s movements.

3. Take hook out gently – never rip hook out. VT Fish & Wildlife recommends the “hook shake” method: Reach into the fish’s mouth and grasp the hook shank with fingers or pliers, lift fish slightly out of the water and rotate hook shank so eyelet is down, shake gently.

4. Use barbless hooks.

5. Do not remove hook if fish is hooked by gills, throat or stomach. You can leave the hook in the fish and it will rust away. (If fish is too injured, you can definitely harvest and call it dinner!)

6. If using live bait, watch line and set the hook as soon as possible – this will reduce the chance of the fish swallowing the bait.

7. And lastly: Cradle the exhausted fish in a swimming position in calm water, move it back and forth to force fresh water through its gills.

For more information on Trout fishing and other fishing in the area locally check out Green Mountain Troutfitters on RT 108 S. in Jeffersonville or visit their website at or visit Vermont Fish & Wildlife at or

Happy Angling!

Grilled Campfire Trout


Easy, tasty recipe for your small or medium sized lake or brook trout that you catch while camping. You choose your favorite seasonings and adjust according to your individual tastes. For the freshest and less fishy flavor, be sure and cook and eat directly after catching!”


    • 1 -2 trout, per person depending on the size of fish
    • olive oil
    • lemon juice (optional)
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • garlic powder, to taste
    • onion powder, to taste
    • dried herbs (parsley, oregano, basil, red pepper, etc.) or spices ( parsley, oregano, basil, red pepper, etc.)
    • aluminum foil ( cut individual 12 in. square sheets)


  1. Get fire going good.
  2. Cut underside of trout, clean out innards and wash fish inside and out well. It’s your choice to leave head on or not. (Be sure and discard innards and parts of fish in a bear safe trash can or some other critter-safe disposal.).
  3. Pat fish dry with paper towels.
  4. Working with one at a time, place each fish in the middle of each foil square. Sprinkle oil on inside and outside of fish. Sprinkle lemon juice inside and out. (Larger fish can be grilled directly on grill but use small metal skewers to close the slits.).
  5. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper, then your choice of herbs and spices, inside and out. (We prefer to have less inside and a little more on the outside of the fish.).
  6. Tent the foil packets slightly above the fish with edges of foil tightly sealed but don’t wrap foil tightly around fish.
  7. When fire has burned down and flames are about 4 inches below the cooking surface, it is ready.
  8. (If cooking in foil, there is no need to spray cooking grate, but if cooking directly be sure and grease the grill with cooking spray.).
  9. Grill for about 5-7 minutes per side. Adjust cooking time according to size of fish.
  10. Take foil packets off fire when cooked through but don’t overcook.
  11. To eat: Carefully open packet and with a fork, very lightly scrape and flake the meat off a little at a time. This will reduce the number of bones you will get in a bite or you might not get any at all. (Important: If you undercook or overcook the fish, it won’t flake very easily.).

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