Recreational Water

dad and boy fishing

Vermont is home to thousands of fresh water lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Our waters are a great destination for everything from swimming and fishing to boating and tubing. We all have a role to play in keeping our recreational waters a safe and healthy place for everyone.

Healthy Recreational Waters Guidance

Vermont's Healthy Recreational Waters Guidance is designed to provide guidance to the managers and users of Vermont’s recreational lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. This guidance was developed with assistance from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Healthy Recreational Waters Fact Sheet

Learn about water safety in Vermont

Contact Information

Toxicological Sciences Program
802-863-7220 or
800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont)
Fax: 802-863-7483

In This Section

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are common in Lake Champlain and other Vermont waters. Some types of cyanobacteria can release natural toxins or poisons (called cyanotoxins) into the water.

Not all Vermont bays, lakes, and ponds are monitored. Be aware of changing conditions, and keep out of the water if you think cyanobacteria may be present. Check recent reports on lake conditions and season summaries. To find out if a beach or swim area is open, call the beach manager.

The Health Department recommends that people limit eating some fish caught in Vermont waters.

Rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams may contain disease-causing microorganisms. Swimming in these waters may result in health effects such as minor skin rashes, sore throats, diarrhea, or more serious problems.