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NH Fishing Report - July 11, 2019

Greetings anglers!

scott decker

The heat has finally arrived and so begin the "dog days" of summer.  No worries as there is always some good fishing to be had but anglers may have to change up their tactics.  Fishing will be best now at dusk and dawn, not the middle of the day.  It’s the perfect time to head to the ocean or the mountains to cool off and pick up a few fish.  Salmon and lake trout anglers will have to "dial down" and target the thermocline in our big lakes to be successful. Trout stocking is winding down for the year. 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 July 26.




hex fly

The "hex" mafly from a North Country pond.

Photo courtesy of A. Schafermeyer.

Select image for larger view.

In the North Country, fisheries biologist Andy Schafermeyer reports that some significant insect hatches have started in northern New Hampshire. After a slow start to the season, the mighty "Hex" fly has been seen on some lakes and ponds. This giant mayfly (scientific name Hexagenia limbata) provides a hearty meal for many fish and triggers strikes like no other. This type of action will last only a few weeks so the time to fish is now.


The Androscoggin alder fly has also been seen in very dense clouds along the river. Although not as big as the "Hex," these caddisflies create feeding frenzies on the river for the entire day.  Trout fishing in many rivers and streams improves daily; flows and temperatures have been perfect. Some large brown trout have been taken in the upper Connecticut River below the Murphy Dam in Pittsburg.


Steve at North Country Anglers in North Conway says the Mount Washington Valley fishing is in its prime right now. Water temperatures continue to be moderate and the choices are endless. Stocked brown trout in the Saco River, stocked rainbow trout in the Ellis River, or wild brook trout in the White Mountain National Forest—you can take your choice! The lakes are also producing nice catches of bass and pickerel.  Steve says to stop by the shop for a free fishing map and to get out on the water.


In the Central and Lakes Regions, salmon and rainbow trout are being caught on spoons in various colors trolled 25'- 30' down on the large lakes. Favored colors include blue/silver, pink, purple with black dots, and orange/yellow.  Also try fishing with lead-core fly line down 6 colors using small single-hook streamers which imitate young smelt. Vertical jigging for lake trout is a good tactic that will produce some fish this time of year.  The best conditions for jigging lakers in deep water include a calm day with an approaching weather front.  Use the lightest braided line you can get away with and 1/4 to 1/2 ounce tube jigs.  Having a fish finder is key to catching lakers in depths over 65 feet.  Trout anglers may want to know that some surplus trout were recently released in the Mad River in Campton, Bearcamp River in Tamworth, and the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln.


In the Upper Valley area, Scott Biron reports that the region has many opportunities for area anglers. The trout ponds have warmed up so locating the springs and the deep holes are the key to success. These ponds have been getting significant "Hex" hatches and if you fish the late evening hatch you are likely to get some big trout interested in your flies. The big rivers like the Connecticut are turning warmer, and bass along with large pickerel are being taken. Small warmwater ponds like Russell and Gile Ponds in Sutton are producing. Bass anglers should see interest in surface plugs, especially during twilight hours.


In Southwestern New Hampshire, Randy at Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsboro told me the local bass water action is heating up. Franklin Pierce Lake has been good in the evenings, yielding nice size bass this year with the occasional pike mixed in. These pike can be quite large but they are picky takers. Senko-style worms seem to be the ticket for local bass. Some quiet water is also available for kayak fishing on Loon Pond in Hillsboro and Stumpfield Marsh in Hopkinton if you want to avoid the summer crowds.


Trout fishing is slowing down a little on the Contoocook River but you can catch fun-sized smallmouth bass on light tackle quite frequently. Local trout ponds like French Pond and Smith Pond will still give up trout but they will be lower in the water column in the colder water depths.


In Southeastern New Hampshire and the Merrimack Valley, Mike at Wildlife Sport Outfitters in Manchester reports that bass fishing is king right now in the region. Bass poppers and frog lures fished early in the morning or evening have been working well for anglers.  If you fish mid-day, try a live crayfish or Carolina-rigged plastic worm near drop offs.  It’s also a good time to target horned pout after dark using night crawlers.  Mike has also been getting reports of monster carp close to 30 pounds being caught and released in the Merrimack River.  Areas to try would be below the Route 101 bridge, Moore’s Crossing, below the rapids in Litchfield, and down in the Hudson and Nashua areas.  Although trout stocking in the region has wrapped up, Mike recommended the Piscataquog River for brown trout that may still be available.


Atlantic menhaden (aka "pogies").

Photo courtesy of B. Heuss. Select photo for larger view.

On the Seacoast, marine biologist Becky Heuss mentioned there are a ton of menhaden (pogies) in Great Bay along with a few mackerel.  Becky says the menhaden were showing up in some seine surveys she was conducting near the mouth of the Lamprey River. Striper fishing is still a little slow for the bigger fish but plenty of "schoolies" are around.  I talked with Tristan at Suds 'n' Soda tackle shop in Greenland and he confirmed the bigger stripers are feeding on pollack and mackerel further offshore now.  He mentioned anglers were picking up some squid from the bridges in Portsmouth.




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