Vermont trout pond atlas adds GPS lure

Growing up, Peter Shea didn't think he'd be the Vermonter who'd put the state's trout ponds on the map.

"When I was a kid, I never fished them," says the Burlington angler who thought more of flowing streams. "But if you're looking for large brook trout, which is my favored fish, that's where you're going to find them."

The problem: Such ponds usually sit in uncharted territory. And so Shea, going on to study geography and co-found a cartographic company, researched and released "The Atlas of Vermont Trout Ponds."

Fishing enthusiasts snatched up the 1981 title, spawning updated editions in 1987 and 1993 that collectively sold more than 20,000 copies.

Then a digital wave threatened to turn ink on paper back into pulp. Shea, now retired, could have shelved the book as a memory. Instead, the 71-year-old has revised it with a 21st-century hook.

"The New Atlas of Vermont Trout Ponds" offers not only updated information on waterways from Adams Reservoir to Zach Woods Pond but also satellite-based GPS navigation coordinates.

"You can use the GPS in your car, phone or notebook," Shea says, "zero in, and pull up a map."

The 148-page paperback reports such facts and figures as a pond's acreage, elevation, maximum depth and water clarity, as well as GPS information on boat accesses, trailheads, routes, parking and wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms and docks.

"I'm not a great angler — I've made the same mistakes for 60 years," the author says. "My bragging rights are as a geographer."

With Vermont's trout fishing season set to start on Saturday, Shea is scheduled to present his atlas at Orvis in Manchester on May 26 at 11 a.m.

As demonstrated at a recent reading, Shea's ready to net any and all questions.

"Does the book say what kind and size of fish there are?" one seventh-grader asked.

Yes, the author replied.

"But it doesn't say," Shea added, "what kind and size you're going to catch."

Kevin O'Connor is a Reformer and correspondent who can be contacted at


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