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NH Fishing Report - April 27, 2018

Greetings anglers!

Scott Decker

Welcome to the first of our bi-weekly New Hampshire Fishing Reports for 2018. The season has been off to a slow start due to somewhat "winter-like" conditions that have held on in some parts of the state. Trout stocking is getting going big time, however, and a warm-up is in the works for next week. The April trout pond opener is upon us!

 

Most southern New Hampshire ponds should be stocked and ready to fish on Saturday, April 28. Stream fishing will also be on the increase as temperatures rise. I checked some rivers in Hillsborough County recently and temperatures ranged from 48-52 degrees. Stream flows have been at or slightly below normal for this time of year, but a recent shot of rain will bring them up a little. As always, check the stocking report to see where we’ve stocked trout the previous week.

 

Like last year, I’m putting out a request to let me know about your angling adventures for inclusion in these reports. Send me an email at scott.decker@wildlife.nh.gov to let me know what’s going on in your fishing world. At a minimum, include the date you fished, the name of the lake or stream (and town of the stream section), species caught, and methods used (bait, lure, fly, etc. – be as specific as you want). Feel free to send me a photo of your catch for possible inclusion in the reports. Thanks for reading and tight lines to all!

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Connecticut River northern pike.

Photo by M. Beauchesne.

In the North Country, many ponds still had significant ice cover, and biologist Andy Schafermeyer recommended fishing rivers as snowbanks have cleared making them more accessible. Try fishing below some of the dams in the region like Gilman, Moore, and Comerford on the Connecticut River. Some nice brown trout were being caught below the Murphy Dam in Pittsburg. Andy also suggests exploring for pike in some of the setbacks in the Connecticut River, as they are just coming out of spawning and are looking for a meal. A co-worker recommended fishing the setbacks in Orford and possibly Piermont for hungry northerns. Big pike flies, spinnerbaits, and Daredevle’s were working for him recently. He also ran into some post-spawn jumbo yellow perch.

 

In the Lakes Region, official "ice-out" has not been declared as of yet on Lake Winnipesaukee, however, there is some significant navigable water as of this writing. A northwest blow last weekend helped to break up some of the bays and coves. Alton Bay is clear all the way to Black Point and up through Ellacoya State Park and beyond to the Gilford area around Locke’s and Governor’s Islands. There is plenty of open water also in Center Harbor and Wolfeboro Bay.  Just be aware of floating ice chunks in parts of the lake.

 

Water temperatures are running anywhere from a chilly 38 degrees to some pockets of 48 degree water in the shallower areas near the brook mouths. Fish these warmer areas for the best action. A good crop of 3-year-old salmon (19-21") and the occasional 4-year-old are in the mix this year on Winni. Live smelt and/or small shiners are working well now. Squam Lake is a few days away from being ice-free, and other salmon lakes such as Newfound and Sunapee have limited open water.

 

The Winnipesaukee River and Pemigewasset River in Franklin were stocked with a few hundred Atlantic salmon last week. These fish come from our friends at the Nashua Fish Hatchery run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and were running anywhere from about a pound up to about 14 pounds. These fish are a by-product of restoration efforts in Maine but are no longer needed for the program. Similar to landlocked salmon rules, limit is 2 fish per day with a minimum length of 15". No special permit is required besides a New Hampshire fishing license.

 

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In Southwestern New Hampshire, the walleye fishing is picking up on the Connecticut River, especially below the Vernon and Bellows Falls dams. Fish are being taken mostly on live bait (shiners and crawlers) with slip-sinker rigs. Silver Lake in Harrisville is ice-free for trolling for lakers and rainbows. Some good smallmouth bass action was reported for Spofford Lake in Chesterfield. Dublin Lake and most of the other trout ponds should be ready for opening day this Saturday.

 

Randy over at Morse's Sporting Goods in Hillsboro says the Contoocook River is stocked and people are definitely giving it their best. The trout have been tight lipped but people are getting a few. Anglers have reported seeing the fish laying up in the sun but can’t get them to bite yet. With the warmth coming next week, we will start seeing some hatches and the fish should become more active. Gould Pond (aka Emerald Lake) in Hillsborough is the hot spot right now with quite a few good reports of fishing success. French Pond in Henniker is always a good bet for opening day as well.

 

In Southeastern New Hampshire, anglers should have plenty of water to choose from on the trout pond opener. Popular ponds include Lucas Pond (Northwood), Exeter Reservoir, Hot Hole Pond (Concord), and Clough Pond (Loudon).  Picturesque Stonehouse Pond (Barrington) is a favorite of fly anglers. Although not a designated trout water, Pleasant Lake in Deerfield/Northwood has been ice-free for a while, and anglers are taking advantage of some broodstock brown trout stocked last fall that remain after the ice-season.

 

On the Seacoast, not too much to report yet other than folks have been catching haddock on the head boats out of Rye and Hampton. Fishing has been very good, lots of fish with many people limiting out (12 fish at 17"). Herring are starting to trickle in, but the cold and rain are slowing things down. No reports of stripers yet but they are sure to follow the herring once they get going.

 

 

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