September 27, 2020

In Southwest NH, trout are fat 'n' sassy

Submitted - 2005-05-21
By Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist, Region 4/Keene

If this spring is any indication of what awaits anglers during this summer and fall, all I can say is, "Hold on!" Despite lots of rain, cold, and a bit of warm weather thrown in here and there, the fishing in southwestern NH has been great during the past month or so.

A father and son team (Andy Jones and his 10-year old son Kyle) got the ball rolling by landing a 39.5-inch lake trout on April 17. Speaking of trout, Dublin Lake (Dublin) is once again producing some nice brook trout, including a 20" fish that was stocked into the lake two springs ago. Shore anglers are doing as well, if not better, than boat anglers this spring. Fish are being caught on night crawlers and power bait. Trolling can also be productive during this time of year at water depths from 10 to 30 feet. (It can also be exasperating, as I can attest after trolling for three hours without a hit... as they say, that's why it's called "fishing," not "catching"!) Anglers fishing Silver Lake (Harrisville) report catching and releasing 20-30 rainbow trout on some days.

Milford Hatchery staff have once again outdone themselves. I was at the hatchery about a month ago to clip fins on trout for a study at Swanzey Lake, and the girth of the rainbow trout is unbelievable. These fish looked like footballs and average about one pound apiece. Some of the fish are so large that it was impossible to get my hand around them to clip a fin. In addition to fishing for rainbows at Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), I would suggest trying your luck at Center Pond (Nelson), Gilmore Pond (Jaffrey), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Ashuelot River (Surry, Gilsum, Marlow), Cold River (Alstead, Walpole), Warren Lake (Alstead), Firehouse Pond (Bow), Frenches Pond (Henniker), Souhegan River (Greenville, Amherst), Contoocook River (Bennington, Hillsboro), and Franklin Pierce Lake (Hillsboro).

The walleye fishing in the Connecticut River was excellent this year. I heard of many fish being caught from 16 to 28 inches. Although walleye should be getting near the end of their spawning season, the fish are still around and are hungry. Good fish are still being caught below the Bellows Falls Dam in North Walpole and around the mouths of tributaries to the Connecticut River.

The black crappie fishing has been hit-or-miss this spring, due largely to the alternating hot and cold weather we have been having. The crappies started schooling around shore in the Connecticut River setbacks about a month ago, and some days you can catch one on nearly every cast while other days you are lucky to get a bite (just ask my friend Ed who has been frustrated more than once this year). However, as we continue to get more consistently warm temperatures, the crappies should come in in full force to spawn.

Black bass anglers have experienced a similar situation to those fishing for black crappies, as the bass fishing has been hit or miss. I have had reports of some big largemouth being caught in the Connecticut River setbacks and some nice fish caught in Pool Pond (Rindge). With the warmer weather approaching, the bass fishing should quickly be heating up.

We hope you enjoy fishing this year in the Monadnock/Upper Valley Region and don't forget to take a kid fishing anytime you can! We are always happy to talk to you about fish and fishing so please contact us at Region 4 (603-352-9669; if you have any questions. This report was provided by NH Fish and Game Department in Concord, NH. Follow this link for more specific information on the reports or the area -