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NH Fishing Report - May 23, 2019

Greetings anglers!

scott decker

The Memorial Day Weekend is here and fishing in the Granite State is really starting to turn on after a cool start to the spring season.  Bass spawning is a little behind and we are now in the mandatory catch-and-release season (May 15-June 15).  Trout stocking is well underway all over the state and waters are still cool which will help extend the fishing a little later this year.  Don't forget about Free Fishing Day on June 1, which is a good time to introduce someone to the sport. 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 Our next report goes out on or around June 7.




In the North Country, fisheries biologist Andy Schafermeyer reports that fishing in the north has been challenging. Consistent rain has kept most waterbodies high and cold with little reprieve. Although the ice has disappeared from every pond, there is still a significant snowpack at higher elevations, and this water is trickling down to most fishing spots. One standout has been Lake Francis in Pittsburg where gamefish have started to migrate toward the lake’s inlet. Both trout and salmon are chasing down the smelt that congregate there and a few good catches have been recorded. Another waterbody that offers some stability during this rainy spring has been Moore Reservoir. Anglers have been catching a lot of pike and the smallmouth bite is beginning to pick up. After Memorial Day, both of these spots should be even better.  Steve at North Country Anglers in North Conway tells me the Mount Washington Valley area ponds are fishing well. For flies, try the Golden Demon, Black Ghost, or Squirrel Nugget. For spin baits, try a Panther Martin or Phoebe to catch eager trout. The Saco River is at fishable levels now, and the fly-fishing-only section of the river will receive its annual stocking of trophy brown trout before the weekend. The Ellis River will be a hot bed for both stocked and wild trout.


In the Central and Lakes Regions, last weekend’s Winni Derby on Lake Winnipesaukee produced many 4-plus pound salmon in fine condition. The largest lake trout of the tourney tipped the scales at close to 7 pounds this year.  Bass in the region are still being taken mostly with jerk baits just off the spawning flats with a few fish starting to bed in the shallower coves where water temperatures have reached 54-56 degrees.  Spawning time is running behind schedule due to the cold spring.  Fishing in the region’s trout streams is getting better because flood flows have returned to normal levels and insect hatches are beginning.  Good reports of trout are coming in from Sky Pond in New Hampton and Spectacle Pond in Hebron/Groton area.


In the Upper Valley area, reporter Scott Biron says everyone has been waiting for the fishing to turn on in the region.  Anglers have been grumbling about how high the water is in rivers and streams.  Scott says the Warner River is starting to look better. Right now the productive spots are in the trout ponds and the large lakes, and Lake Sunapee has been fishing extremely well.  One group of anglers said they brought 23 salmon onto their boat in one morning.  In a recent outing, Scott and another angler caught 15 salmon, 1 laker, and 2 smallmouth bass while trolling flies.  The fish were all caught right off the shore, in less than 5 feet of water.


Great trout-pond fishing has been happening at White Pond in Wilmot, Pleasant Lake in New London, and Tewksbury Pond in Grafton.  Kezar Lake in Sutton was fishing well, and get ready for other ponds in the valley to become active over the next 2 weeks.


The Connecticut River was producing fish in the stretch from Lebanon to Cornish.  Smaller areas like Wendell Falls also have trout in the deeper pools.  In the warmer water, Lake Massasecum, McDaniel Marsh, and Perkins Pond all have had happy anglers catching fish.  Should be a great holiday weekend, so get out and get fishing!


In Southwestern New Hampshire, Randy at Morse’s Sporting Goods in Hillsboro reports things are looking great in the area for fishing. Beards Brook in Hillsborough has been red hot with people catching their limit of trout using small spinner-type lures like Rooster Tails and Mepps spinners. The Contoocook River is starting to wake up as well with fly anglers starting to report improved water conditions. Several insect hatches have happened the last week so if you match the hatch you should find some fish.


Local bass chasers are starting to see the action heat up as well. The smallmouth bass are getting ready to spawn as water temperatures rise. Locally, you can find them cruising the rocky shelves where early morning top water baits work well. Deering Reservoir and Franklin Pierce Lake in Hillsborough are good local smallmouth waters to try.


In Southeastern New Hampshire and the Merrimack Valley the cooler weather is extending the trout fishing in the region.  The smaller trout streams are producing good catches of brook trout.  Trout ponds such as Barbadoes Pond in Madbury, Stonehouse Pond in Barrington, and Lucas Pond in Northwood are also providing good opportunities.  The bass in the region are starting to make beds, and anglers should be mindful of the catch-and-release rules for bass in effect through June 15.  There are reports of anglers doing well with smallmouth bass in the area of Hooksett Dam on the Merrimack River recently.


On the Seacoast, marine biologist Becky Heuss told says "schoolie" stripers are being caught in Little Bay near Great Bay Marina as well as up into the Bellamy River area.  She also mentioned the back-bay area around Portsmouth and New Castle near the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion was producing some fish upwards of 20 inches. Flounder fishing in the harbors has been a little slow but anglers on the party boat are picking up some haddock.  Runs of river herring are really getting going now on the coastal rivers coming into Great Bay so the striped bass are soon to follow.  




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