Vermont’s Online Fishing Regulations Tool

If you spend much time in gun shops, tackle shops, Walmart, Dick’s, or any similar places that sell hunting and fishing gear, it used to be standard to see stacks of hunting and fishing regulations. Racks of print copies are becoming less common with the advent of electronic copies and mobile devices. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has embraced this new trend with their Online Fishing Regulations Tool
Many regulatory agencies have posted their regulations guides online, but typically they have been in PDF format which requires scrolling through numerous pages, just as one would do with a hard copy, or a simple summary would provide basic information. This new tool, which is still in a trial phase of sorts, is internet-based and essentially provides three functions: An interactive map system, a “current location” feature that utilizes the GPS capability in most mobile devices to provide information pertaining to one’s geographic position, and a “lookup tables” function.
I’ve played with this a bit, and it looks like it has potential. When using the interactive map, I couldn’t get it to display the regulations when clicking on a water body, even when prompted to do so. I assume this is a glitch that will be resolved in the final version. For those with a GPS or cell phone with GPS capability, the “current location” feature will no doubt be a big hit. One can readily find out what the regulations are for the precise location they are fishing, a handy feature when fishing streams and rivers where regulations can change over the water body’s course.
I suppose this is the pessimist in me, but I hope this new tool helps cut down on ignorance of fishing laws, particularly when a lot of that ignorance is willful, or at least the result of indifference.  I am a Luddite of sorts, and as such, I doubt I will hit the water with a mobile device in my pocket, ready to access the fishing regulations every time I forget a creel limit or when a season opens. I learned a long time ago to read the regulations book, and remember it’s contents. But if that’s not your style, this may be the solution for you.

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