The “dog days” of summer are here. Last week’s heat wave has warmed lake and river temperatures considerably. Even in the saltwater around the islands of Portsmouth and New Castle, I measured surface temperatures in the upper 60s on the 4th of July! Stick to the dawn and dusk times of the day for best results. Trout stocking is all but wrapped up for the season. Some of the northern areas are getting a few more fish. Check the stocking report to see where we’ve stocked trout. Don’t forget to send me your reports by dropping me a line at email@example.com.
In the North Country, Fisheries Biologist Andy Schafermeyer says the recent heat wave has had an impact on fishing in the North Country and it has been both positive and negative. Obviously the water temperatures have risen and trout ponds have slowed down. Fish are either deep, lazy, or both. Even the Androscoggin River is 70 degrees and hard to fish — especially in the middle of the day. Evenings have been productive on both ponds and rivers, and insects are hatching at a good rate.
In contrast, bass fishing has been great and Andy has landed many smallmouth on Moore Reservoir and Lake Umbagog. Also in the evening, fish seem to be attracted to plastic baits including tube jigs and Senkos. These types of baits are especially good after a rain event. Lately, fish have been responding less to noisy baits like crank baits or spinner baits.
Steve over at North Country Angler in North Conway mentioned the warm water temperatures have kept fishing to early morning and late evening. There have been good catches of trout in the Saco and Ellis rivers. The light Cahill and yellow sally hatches are in full swing on both rivers. Bass fishing is heating up on Conway Lake and Silver Lake. Hula Poppers, Jitterbugs, and Sneaky Pete Poppers are accounting for most of the largemouth and smallmouth bass.
In the Central Region, I received a nice report from an angler doing well catching both wild and stocked trout in the White Mountain area. He’s been having luck fly fishing using a hopper pattern or any other terrestrial fly. The fish aren’t too picky right now, especially the wild fish, which are very aggressive. Despite their general small size (4-6″) there are larger brook trout that fell for a yellow hopper fly (see photo right by S. Flagg). If anglers are willing to hike into some of these back country streams, they may be rewarded with a similar fish.
The thermocline in the big lakes should be setting up pretty well with all the warm weather we’ve been experiencing. Trolling spoons and small streamer flies on 6 to 7 colors of lead core line or going with downriggers set to about 35 to 45 feet should produce some results for landlocked salmon and lake trout, and even some rainbows have been hitting at these depths. Mooselook Wobblers in copper/orange, Top Guns, and DB Smelts are good lures to use. Try vertical jigging for lakers if you have a calm day.
In the Upper Valley Region, the summer heat has changed the fishing, but not for the bad. The warm water ponds are exploding right now, and anglers are reporting loads of successful days fishing. Top water plugs are working really well. At Clark Pond in Cannan, one angler said his plug barely hit the water before he had a large sized bass on the line.
The trout ponds and streams still have fish moving. Folks report catching fish by trolling in ponds and lakes using sinking line and streamers. There are still some Hexagenia mayflies hatching after dark on the remote trout ponds. The Connecticut River in Cornish and Lebanon have had great fishing. The boat ramp at Ashley Ferry in Claremont has all the silt removed, and this week lots of anglers had launched and were fishing just off of the shore.
In Southeastern NH/Merrimack Valley, bass fishing has been excellent with the best action coming at dusk, mostly using topwater plugs. Fishing in the dark can actually produce some of the biggest fish of the season. If you’ve never fished at night, you should give it a try. If you are using a boat, make sure you have the proper navigational lights in working order. To keep your eyes adjusted to the darkness, avoid using bright headlamps or flashlights when handling fish or tying on lures. Use “glow sticks” or a headlamp that has a red or green lens. A few trout anglers are picking up some rainbows or browns trolling deep. Try Massabesic Lake, Beaver Lake (Derry), or Bow Lake (Northwood/Strafford) for deepwater trout.
On the Seacoast, Biologist Becky Heuss tells me she has been getting good reports of big stripers being taken in Hampton Harbor. Some keeper fish have also been showing up in the Piscataqua with some of the best action coming after sundown. A few squid have been showing up, also. Try fishing the bridges near a street light in and around the Portsmouth/New Castle area. The mackerel fishing has been a little spotty, but the menhaden are showing up big time bringing the gamefish with them, and a few whales! Haddock fishing on the party boats has been pretty good as of late, as well.
Don’t miss Becky’s article in the July/August issue of NH Wildlife Journal magazine, where she writes about the Atlantic mackerel, which offers exciting action for coastal anglers. Subscribe or buy single issues at nhfishandgame.myshopify.com.
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