September 27, 2020


Submitted - 2005-06-02
By Don Miller, Fisheries Biologist, Region 2/New Hampton

The calendar reads late May/early June, so it must be springtime in New Hampshire, right!? Mother Nature's cruel joke foisted upon anglers this spring has been the unseasonably cold temperatures and wet, downright soggy conditions that have plagued the northeast for the last three weeks. These conditions have affected fisheries in a variety of ways.

The white perch runs that were heating up in early May are just now turning back on. Lakes Winnisquam and Waukewan are great choices for some tasty perch in the 1.5-lbs. size range. Try the inlet area to the Snake River on Waukewan and the Winnipesaukee River in Laconia for Winnisquam white perch (also try the dam tailrace area at Silver Lake, Tilton).

In a normal spring, smallmouth bass would be well on their way to raising new broods by now. This year, due to the cold lake temperatures, bass nesting has been chaotic at best with abandoned nests and re-nesting occurring even at this late date. Although the catch-and-release season for bass is from May 15 to June 15, use common sense this year when angling in areas where bass nesting may occur long after the catch-and-release season ends.

Trout ponds are the hot item now and reports have been excellent from various ponds throughout central and northern sections of the state. Cool water temps and anticipated hatches should really turn on the trout in these ponds. Remote stocked ponds in the central section/southern White Mountains are producing brook trout in excess of 16 inches long! This is considerable growth! These fish are the new Kennebago brook trout strain, stocked via helicopter as fingerlings each spring. (See the online version of this report for a photo of one of these stockies, all grown up now at 18 inch.) The original Kennebago brook trout were obtained from the state of Maine in recent years. New Hampshire now has its own Kennebago broodstock line that produces fertilized eggs for our remote pond and quality trout programs. These ponds are worth the hike! If you happen to be fishing a remote pond in the coming days and see a helicopter approaching, give a wave and thanks to the crew for a job well done -- and a hearty thanks to the crew at New Hampton Hatchery, who make it all happen; they are to be commended since this strain is very difficult to raise in a hatchery setting. For a list of New Hampshire's remote stocked ponds, see this link:

Reports from trollers on the big lakes are mixed, but a few hefty lake trout (10 lbs.) have been caught recently. As many experienced trollers (and all anglers, for that matter) are well aware, east/northeast winds do not make for catching frenzies! However, landlocked salmon can still be caught high in the water column, with the current Lake Winnipesaukee surface temperatures running in the low- to mid-50s. Top Gun and DB Smelt spoons, as well as streamers, are working on salmon and the occasional rainbow trout. The trick is to hit the water early, 5 to 7 a.m. is definitely the best window of opportunity. Look for big-lake trolling to become more consistent as the thermocline sets up and the fish turn on to young-of-the-year rainbow smelt.

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I know this is not my week to report -- but I have too much to hold back!

Now is the time for topwater bass action! We fished ponds and the big lake this week. The name of the game was topwater fishing. Poppers and floating stick baits were the key to drawing ferocious strikes. These fish are hungry. Water temps are finally in the high 50s to low 60s -- ideal for the fly rod. Popping bugs, sneaky Pete and deer-hair poppers are my go to flies this time of year.

Pike, walleye, perch and smallmouth -- the Connecticut River is fishing fantastic right now. Last weekend we fished for all of these species, and wouldn't you know it, they all cooperated. Pike on the fly is just too much fun. They'll hit lures also. In-line spinners, buck tail spinners, floating stick baits and jigs worked well for us. Walleye and bass all came on the jig head with a curl-tail grub.

We went to Willard Pond for trout -- the tiger trout (cross between brook and brown trout) there are pure muscle. A few smallmouth thrown in for good measure -- works for me!

This weekend, in my opinion, your best bets are the streams and rivers. The flow is closer to normal and the fish have had very little pressure over the past two weeks. This is great for anglers -- take a walk and explore that new section of the river you have been meaning to try. Use spinners and spoons in the deeper pools, and try drifting worms in the faster water.

My fly selections for this weekend include: elk-hair caddis, dark Cahill, gray-body dry fly, quill Gordon, nymphs for certain hookups, black bead-head woolly bugger, bead-head hare's ear (bigger than normal), pheasant tail, prince nymph, caddis emergers.

There is no doubt in my mind with the warmer temps coming this weekend we will have the best conditions for fantastic fishing! Don't forget to take a friend with you. Free fishing day is Saturday, June 4.

Great fishing!!!
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 -