Vermont’s fifth annual Free Ice Fishing Day is set for Saturday, January 27, and will be celebrated by a fun-filled ice fishing festival in Castleton.

Vermont’s Free Ice Fishing Day, which takes place each year on the last Saturday in January, enables both residents and non-residents to go ice fishing on any legal waterbody in Vermont for the day without a license.

“Free ice fishing day creates opportunities for a range of anglers, and really helps to showcase the great ice fishing we have here in Vermont,” said Louis Porter, commissioner of Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “From those looking to try out the sport for the first time, to non-residents who may want to sample some of Vermont’s quality fisheries, the day offers full accessibility to great ice fishing fun across Vermont.”

Vermont’s Ice Fishing Festival also occurs annually in concert with Free Ice Fishing Day, and the 2018 celebration will be held at Lake Bomoseen State Park in Castleton.

The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on January 27 and is free and open to anyone interested in ice fishing.

Staff from Vermont Fish & Wildlife and instructors from the Let’s Go Fishing Program, will be on hand to teach ice fishing basics including knot tying, drilling holes, rigging and using an ice fishing rod, setting tip-ups and preparing for a day on the ice. Fishing regulations and fish identification will be covered as well.

Fisheries biologists will also operate a fish fry station to cook up participants’ catches, and there will be other refreshments on hand including plenty of hot cocoa in the warming huts. Lake Bomoseen State Park also offers opportunities for ice skating, and a playground for the kids.

“The ice fishing festival is a free, easy and fun way for newcomers to get started in ice fishing, and also a great opportunity for kids and families to enjoy time together outdoors,” said Nicole Meier, information and education specialist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “We encourage people of all ages to come out for the day, wet a line, try some fresh-cooked, local fish and enjoy all that Vermont has to offer during the winter.”

Vermont Fish & Wildlife will lend ice fishing equipment to attendees for the day, but participants may bring their own tackle if they wish. Participants are advised to dress warmly and wear ice cleats if possible.

Pre-registration is encouraged but not required, and can be completed online at

To learn more about ice fishing in Vermont or to purchase a fishing license, visit