Prime Time to Watch Steelhead in VT

One of the state’s premier wildlife-watching opportunities is happening right now in Vermont, according to the VT Dept. of Fish & Game. Steelhead rainbow trout have started their upstream migration, leaping up waterfalls as they make their way to their spawning grounds.

The best place to spot steelhead is at Willoughby Falls just outside downtown Orleans in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Other places to see migrating steelhead include Coventry Falls on the Black River in Coventry and Lewis Creek Falls in North Ferrisburgh, though Willoughby Falls remains the best viewing opportunity.

Steelhead can be spotted moving up the falls during warmer days in mid- to late April and sometimes into early May during years with late winters. The best times to spot the fish leaping the falls are in the late morning and early afternoon as the sun is hitting the waters.

Willoughby Falls and a section of river upstream are closed to fishing until June 1 to protect the fish while they are spawning, although there are great fishing opportunities a short way downstream from the falls.