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NH Fishing Report - September 11, 2017

Greetings anglers!

Scott Decker

The calendar still says it's summer, but the days are getting noticeably shorter and the leaves are beginning to turn.  Even though hunting seasons are upon us, there are still many days of good fishing ahead.  I want to thank those anglers who took the time to send me reports this year to help me write this bi-weekly report.  This will be my last report for the open water season, but you can stay in touch by dropping me a line at  I may do a couple of reports for the "hardwater" season if I hear from some of you. Tight lines to all!



Comerford Reservoir Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass from Comerford Reservoir.

Photo by A. Schafermeyer. Select image for larger view.

In the North Country as the statewide NHIAA bass fishing tournament nears, local high schoolers have been practicing their angling skills on large lakes. Last week, members from Groveton High School and Lisbon High School fished together and shared their skills and knowledge. Technically rivals in this sport, coaches Greg Superchi (Lisbon) and Andy Schafermeyer (Groveton) brought team members to Comerford Reservoir and tried to finalize an approach to catching bass in the fall. It was a great day and Superchi wowed everyone by landing a smallmouth that weighed 4.3 pounds.


I had the chance to go out and work with several of our biologists in the Nash Stream watershed recently doing electrofishing surveys.  Even this early in September, brook trout were starting to pair up, and some males were ripe with milt.  Brookies, especially the males, will intensely color up this time of year and develop a small kype (hooked jaw) and a thickened slime coat as they prepare to do battle with one another for the attention of females.  Catching brookies may be difficult as they become more focused on spawning and carrying on their life cycle.


I heard from an angler in the Lakes Region who caught some nice rainbow trout weighing around two pounds in the Pemigewasset River near the confluence of the Smith River in Bristol. Night crawlers fished on a snelled hook with a gold spinner did the trick. After inspection of the fish's stomach contents, this angler noted the trout were feeding heavily on aquatic insects.


Jigging for lake trout in Lake Winnipesaukee right now is popular. Much of the gear used is pretty much the same asfor ice fishing. A non-lead jig tipped with a tube bait, Mr. Twister, or any kind of jigging spoon on the market will work. Fishing on calm days is best. The salmon bite is still going on, but soon these fish will be more interested in spawning than eating. Anglers should note that all lake trout and salmon fishing comes to an end on September 30. The exception to this rule is a special catch-and-release season on the Merrymeeting River in Alton, which runs from October 1 through October 31; salmon and trout may be caught and released using fly fishing gear only.


In Southwestern New Hampshire, reports of good catches of walleye and a few pike are coming in from the Connecticut River. Crawler harnesses and jigs fished on the bottom were taking a lot of the fish.


Randy at Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsboro reported that the water temperatures are going down with all the recent rain, and fishermen are enjoying more action on local trout ponds, such as French Pond in Henniker and Smith Pond in Washington. The Contoocook is flowing well now, and fly anglers have seen an increase in surface action there, as well, with a mix of smallmouth bass and rainbows being caught.


In Southeastern New Hampshire, Lucas Pond in Northwood was giving up some good-sized brown trout recently, with power bait and night crawlers working well for anglers.  This pond has the ability to hold over some stocked brown trout, so there is the chance to catch a trophy there. The crappie bite should be on the rise as the fish go into a fall feeding "frenzy" before the onset of winter.  Best bets in this region for crappie include Bellamy Reservoir, Pawtuckaway Lake, and Massabesic Lake.


On the Seacoast, the ocean has been churning the past few days from the recent storm. It’s been windy inland too, with very few people even trying to fish. The good news is that this isn't the end of striper season yet. Water temperatures are still around 60 degrees, so there should be plenty more opportunities along the coastline as stripers think about moving back southward. Be sure to report your striper fishing effort and catch at


One new activity is the opening of shellfish season! Clam and oyster seasons are now open; however, harvesting is closed at the moment due to the recent rainfall, so keep checking the clam hotline (1-800-43-CLAMS) or visit the NH Coastal Atlas ( for open/closed status. Note that Hampton Harbor Estuary will not be open until November 1 for any species and the Little Bay/Bellamy River Area has special restrictions (see the Saltwater Digest, pages 20-23 for more info). Also, if your favorite clamming spot is Hampton Harbor, you may want to take the time now to go view it at low tide. The clam flats have shifted a lot recently, and you may find you need a boat to get to your favorite spot; better to be prepared than disappointed.


Just a reminder, cod fishing is closed in both state and federal waters. Haddock fishing will be open through September 16, with a 12-fish bag limit and a minimum size of 17 inches. Haddock re-opens November 1.


National Hunting and Fishing Day: Hunters and anglers -- pledge to take someone new hunting or fishing between now and National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) on Saturday, September 23, and you’ll be eligible to win a Richard Childress Racing VIP race weekend package! Learn more...



Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration: A User-Pay, User-Benefit ProgramSport Fish Restoration
Researching and managing fisheries and teaching people about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more.