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NH Fishing Report - May 4, 2017

Greetings fellow anglers!

Scott Decker

First I want to thank those anglers who responded to my call for help in getting information for this report.  Drop me a line anytime at to let me know what’s going on in your fishing world and if it’s timely, I will get in the Fishing Report.  It’s spring and the suckers are spawning! 


white sucker fish

Spawning white suckers. Select image for larger view.

Annual runs of common white suckers are being reported around the state.  This can be an important forage species in some waters.  Typically, suckers ascend feeder streams to lakes and large rivers this time of year to carry on their life cycle. Spawning can also occur in a lake over gravel areas near the shore which is the case in a lake near my home (see attached video to this report).  Suckers can be caught any time of year and currently, there are no limits on them.  There is even a special dipping and spearing season from March 1 - May 31.  To be honest, I have never eaten one but I hear that this is the time of year when they are supposedly the “sweetest tasting.”  Smoked sucker anybody?


I heard from some anglers who had some success on the trout ponds during opening weekend.  Some nice trout were taken at Exeter Reservoir as well as Lucas Pond.  Some bigger “holdover” fish were reported at Lucas.  Stream fishing had been a little slow but should be picking up as temperature warms and insect activity increases.  As always, check the stocking report to see where we’ve stocked trout the previous week.



In the North Country, fisheries biologist Andy Schafermeyer reported some friends of his did well fishing for pike in the setbacks of the Connecticut River near Lancaster from kayaks.  Spinnerbaits and topwater lures were producing results.  Some small bass and a few pickerel were being taken at Burns Pond in Whitefield with the water being still somewhat cold.  Andy reported rivers were high and muddy from recent heavy rains.  The Androscoggin River was getting the snowmelt from the mountains of Maine contributing to the high flows.  Check the USGS Current Conditions for New Hampshire website for river flow data.


Alton Bay

Alton Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Select image for larger view.

In the Lakes Region, the lakes are beginning to warm a bit and the salmon are starting to spread out a little more.  At Lake Winnipesaukee, water temperatures in the deeper basins were still running in the low to mid 40’s but shallower bays are approaching 50 degrees and higher. Bait angling for salmon was still doing better than flies or hardware but as temperatures warm to the 50 degree mark, fish may be willing to hit just about anything as there metabolism increases, reports fisheries biologist John Viar.  He also mentioned that white perch and bass fishing was picking up in the big lakes. 


Using “jerkbaits” off the spawning flats for pre-spawn smallmouth bass is a good technique this time of year.  John mentions looking for the warmest water you can find and pay particular attention to weather patterns and wind direction.  Squam Lake is an excellent place to pursue pre-spawn “bronzebacks.” 



Select image for larger view.

I also chatted with John about the Winni Derby which is only 2 weeks away (May 19-21).  The derby returns this year after a one-year hiatus.  It is being put on by the Laconia Rotary Club with assistance from the Boy Scouts of America this year. For more information, visit the Winni Derby website.


Down in the Keene Region, fisheries biologist Jason Carrier talked to an angler who did well fishing for trout on Dublin Lake recently.  He also mentioned not seeing much action on some of the other trout ponds in the region so there are fish to be had out there.  Jason recommended Beards Brook in Hillsboro and the Contoocook in Hillsboro and Bennington for trout stream fishing as they have been recently stocked.  A bass tournament on Spofford Lake produced some nice smallmouth with one individual fish going 4.5 pounds!  Randy at Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsboro mentioned to me that anglers were doing well on trout at Smith Pond (Washington) and French Pond (Henniker).  He noted the Contoocook was fishing a little slow still as insect hatches have not begun yet.


On the Seacoast, marine biologist Becky Heuss says the river herring have entered some of the fish ladders on the coastal rivers.  Will stripers be far behind?  Check this Striper Migration Map.  She also mentioned that federal regulations for haddock and cod have not changed as of yet so current rules as published in the Saltwater Fishing Digest still apply.


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