Activity Ideas,  Aimee,  Enrichment Activities,  NEK Moms Contributors

The Trout Are Jumping!

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Willoughby River Fishing Access in Orleans

Spring trout season opened April 14 and the fish are really jumping in Orleans! My Dad is here visiting from Florida so I thought it would be fun to take him and my 8-month-old to Willoughby River in Orleans to watch the steelhead rainbow trout attempt to swim up the rapids. With the beautiful weather today is was a perfect outing. Because we had the baby with us, we planned to stay about an hour: just long enough to watch the fish and to enjoy a picnic lunch on the rocks.

There were several fishermen downstream, as always this time of year, and a few photographers who had set-up shop with cameras posed to snap  photos of the trout as they literally fling themselves upriver. We sat next to a little pool at the base of one of the cascading waterfalls where we could watch the fish take a breather before attempting to jump. Although we didn’t get any good photos, we saw at least 100 fish jump in the hour we were there.

As we sat there, the teacher in me started thinking that this would make a great destination for a field trip. You could teach the life cycle of trout, the ecology of a riverVermont geography, and so many more lessons from just this one location! I found a great online  resource called “Trout in the Classroom” created by the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, Fish & Wildlife and Trout Unlimited full of various lesson plans. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife also offers all kinds of educational materials and opportunities for adults and children.

If you do take your children to watch the fish be mindful that there are very steep steps to get to the river. The rocks along the water’s edge can also get slippery when wet. There are plenty of places for a picnic but no trash cans so you must carry out all of your trash. Driving directions to the access can be found on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife site.

Naptime means playtime for NEK mom Aimee Alexander, whose creative outlet is writing about all things mom-related over at Mama’s Recess including children’s health advocacy, education, raising kids in rural America, and the occasional project or recipe. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest!


  • Joe Mark

    Thanks for that Trout in the Classroom shout-out, Aimee.

    I am the lead facilitator (AKA state coordinator) for Trout in the Classroom (TIC), which in Vermont is sponsored by Trout Unlimited. TIC in Vermont has really taken off in the last few years. In 2012 there were five TIC programs. This year we will have 40. Two-thirds of our TIC schools are on the west side of the Green Mountains, and the fewest number are in the Northeast KIngdom, where there hasn’t been an active Trout Unlimited in quite a few years. (That region is currently being supported by the Mad Dog Chapter of TU.) We do have one NEK school in Newport, the North Country School.

    Those who might want to bring TIC to NEK schools can contact me at [email protected].

    Thanks for noticing the exciting TIC program and for your report on the spawning run on the Willoughby River.

  • Darlene

    Believe it or not, I’ve never gone to see the fish jump in Orleans. I wonder how long the season lasts? I’ll have to check out your links to learn more. I should take the kids to see the fish jump.

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