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NH Fishing Report - May 11, 2018

Greetings anglers!

Scott Decker

We are a few days away from the mandatory catch-and-release season for bass (May 15-June 15) and fish are starting to move into the shallows or are hanging near the drop-offs next to spawning flats.  Fishing suspended jerk baits for pre-spawn fish is hot right now. Trout stocking is in full force from the bottom to the top of the state now.  Stream flows are starting to come down and the trout ponds are providing some good action. Insect hatches are beginning to show which should turn on the trout.


As always, check the stocking report to see where we've stocked trout the previous week. Don't forget to send me your reports by dropping me a line at Thanks to those of you who have sent me something. Next report goes out on or around May 25.




In the North Country, fisheries biologist Andy Schafermeyer reports that most all of the trout ponds have been stocked and are producing well. He recommends hitting up Mirror Lake and Airport Pond in Whitefield. Worms fished on snelled spinner rigs and trolled slowly were taking most of the fish. Good reports on brookies being taken at Clarksville Pond. The Pittsburg area is experiencing extreme flows due to rapid snowmelt and most streams are unfishable. Back Lake is ice-free as well as Moose and Middle Ponds and have both been stocked. The Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers are running high and cold, but flows should be receding as there is very little rain predicted in the forecast.



A nice smallmouth bass from Lake Winnisquam.

Photo courtesy of M. Beauchesne.

In the Central Region, fishing for pre-spawn smallmouth bass is popular right now as water temperatures get above the 50-degree mark.  The big female bass are "putting on the feedbag" right now.  Fishing near the many islands of Winnipesaukee is producing a number of good-sized smallies. Newfound Lake is also a good place for trophy smallmouth. 


Fishing suspended jerk baits or stick baits is a good bet right now for catching smallmouth, especially with a slight breeze on the water. One of my colleagues recently had some good luck at Lake Winnisquam with pre-spawn bass.  All the lakes are ice-free since my last report, and landlocked salmon are scattering around the lakes as waters warm. Fishing lures and flies on lead core lines fished 2-4 colors down are doing the trick. Anglers are reporting success on both Sunapee Lake and Pleasant Lake (New London) with some sizable salmon caught while trolling smelt. 


The trout ponds are all open and the higher elevation ponds are still very cold with limited activity, Cole Pond (Enfield) was 41 degrees on the surface. Fly anglers using pale morning dun and caddis emergers have had success on Hopkins Pond (Andover) and Waukeena Lake (Danbury). The Connecticut River near Lebanon is still running high, but this week there are reports of rainbow and brown trout being caught by bait anglers. The Winni Derby on Lake Winnipesaukee is coming up soon (May 18-20), so good luck to all the anglers this year on bagging that trophy salmon or lake trout!  Check for updates on the Winni Derby Facebook page at


In Southwestern New Hampshire, fisheries biologist Jason Carrier mentioned the Connecticut River is running high and muddy.  He recommends hitting up the South Branch of the Ashuelot River, or the upper part of the Cold River for some decent trout action.  Lower down on Ashuelot below Fiske Mill Dam, some large brown trout were being taken.  Randy over at Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsboro noted the fishing has been slow in some of the local trout waters but the fish are there. Water temperatures are still pretty cold but heating up quickly. Insect hatches are starting to happen and people will be seeing more surface activity on the Contoocook River with some brookies being caught. Some local bass anglers also have said the fish are becoming more active hitting top water baits. There is always some great native brook trout fishing in the area in a few of the small streams if you’re up to the challenge. Although not large in size, the rewards of catching a wild trout and getting out into the peaceful places where they hide are worth it.


In Southeastern New Hampshire, I got a report that the Exeter River in Chester was producing some trout with a few foot-long rainbows being taken on in-line spinners.  Bass are beginning to move to beds in the shallower, warmwater lakes.  Best bets for bass include, Swains Lake, Madbury Reservoir, Northwood Lake, and Pawtuckaway Lake, to name a few.  John at Wildlife Sports Outfitters in Manchester says that Massabesic Lake is has recently been stocked near the Auburn boat launch.  Try fishing near the mouth of Sucker Brook for some good action.  Beaver Lake in Derry and Tower Hill Pond in Candia/Auburn are also producing right now.  Some reports of anglers having success with trout at Stonehouse Pond in Barrington and Barbadoes Pond in the Dover area.


On the Seacoast, marine biologist Becky Heuss says the river herring are starting to show at the fish ladders on the Lamprey and Oyster Rivers.  Anglers are also reporting good catches of white perch on the Squamscott River along the Swasey Parkway in Exeter.  Haddock fishing off the party boats continues to be excellent.  Not much striped bass action as of yet.  A striper migration map can be found at




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