Welcome to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of the summer fishing season! The southern part of the state is currently in a “moderate drought” while the northern half is “abnormally dry.” Recent summer thunderstorms have brought stream flows up to more normal levels which helps the trout fishing. Bass fishing continues to be excellent in ponds and lakes, and a few trout are being taken in the deeper ponds on sinking fly lines, lead core, or downrigger lines. Even though trout stocking has been completed for the season, there are still fish to be had out there if you’re willing to work for them. Don’t forget to send me your reports by dropping me a line at email@example.com. Next report goes out on or around August 10.
In the North Country, when the weather gets hot like it’s been this summer, anglers will want to head to the “bottom-release” reservoirs on the Connecticut River. In Pittsburg, the cold water coming out of Murphy Dam supports a quality fishery for brown trout. Other cold water releases from dams farther down, including Moore Dam in Littleton and Comerford Dam in Monroe, also support some trophy fishing for trout. Use caution below these dams as water levels can change abruptly due to downstream power demands.
Steve over at North Country Angler in North Conway noted that on Conway, Silver, and Chocorua lakes, anglers are doing well with smallies early in the morning using top water baits. Largemouths are deeper and being caught on crank baits. Ant hatches have begun on the Saco and Ellis rivers. There has been one last recent stocking, so there are plenty of trout to try and coax to your offering.
In the Central Region, rain from storms has helped some of the brooks, and anglers will benefit from surplus trout recently released in the upper reaches of the Pemigewasset River. The Bearcamp River has also received some extra trout, so anglers should check out the Tamworth area.
Night fishing for bass in the clear water of the big lakes should be top notch right now. Topwater plugs, stickbaits, and fly rod poppers, especially when silhouetted against the upcoming full moon, will produce violent strikes from smallmouth and largemouth bass. Panfish anglers will do best in depths of 10 to15 feet right now, bouncing small tube jigs off bottom. This technique is excellent for catching some of the bigger bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappie. If you have a fish finder, look for small offshore humps or patches of submerged vegetation to score some decent panfish.
Trolling the thermoclines (35 to 45 feet) in Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, or Squam Lake is producing most of the lake trout and salmon right now. Lake trout have been hitting especially well in Lake Winnipesaukee lately, with some anglers hooking upwards of 10 fish in an outing. Just remember that if you are releasing fish this hot time of year, to do so quickly and “plunge” the fish headfirst down into the water. This will help reduce post-release mortality.
In the Upper Valley Region, the river anglers have been reporting moderate success, and when the water was low they were able to wade to different spots and catch fish. Once the rain came, fish began moving again and they were feeding in spots all over the river. Anglers were making changes to their bait and flies and still having success fishing. Two fly patterns that have been effective for rising trout are the Usual and the Dorato Hare’s Ear. Upper Valley ponds have been productive, with anglers fishing smaller ponds reporting great success. Russell Pond in Sutton has been fishing well as have ponds such as Clark Pond in Cannan, and Waukeena Lake in Danbury.
In Southwestern NH, Randy at Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsborough says the trout bite has been very slow in the area due to warm water conditions. However, if you’re looking for a lot of action on the fly rod, the Contoocook River in Henniker is full of smaller-sized smallmouth bass that provide good practice for new anglers. Locally, some nice largemouth bass have been caught in Clement Pond in Hopkinton as well as Massasecum Lake in Bradford.
In Southeastern NH/Merrimack Valley, I heard about some anglers getting into some good brown trout over at Pleasant Lake in Deerfield. Several anglers reported taking some 16+” fish. These fish have held over from a previous year or are part of last fall’s stocking of broodfish. I also received a report of a fly angler over at Stonehouse Pond in Barrington who had a tussle with a 2-foot-long or better pickerel latching on to 12-inch trout he was reeling in! Pickerel are not the preferred species here, so we recommend keeping any pickerel you catch in this trout pond.
On the Seacoast, biologist Becky Heuss reported that Hampton Harbor Tackle recently had a successful striper tournament, with the top three fish going 19.1, 15.5, and 12.7 pounds. While people are catching stripers, it seems to be a little slower than the past couple of years where we had an incredible amount of small fish. Of course the increased presence of baitfish (menhaden appear to be even more numerous this year than last), will bring in fish, but the stripers may be harder to coax onto a hook due to the plentiful forage. With all this bait around, the tuna fleet is also out in full force, and a swordfish was also spotted recently! Haddock fishing, in general, is excellent. However, on some days, the dogfish have been difficult to escape. Becky talked with one fishing group that kept a few dogfish along with their groundfish, insisting that they taste like Mako. If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em, right?
Becky also reminds anglers to report your striped bass fishing trips online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/stripedbass. Volunteer anglers contribute valuable information that fisheries biologists use in assessing the annual striped bass population. We want to know about all of your trips, even when you don’t catch anything! All reporting anglers will be entered into a drawing to win some nice gifts at the end of the season.
- Trout stocking reports: posted in season at www.fishnh.com/fishing/trout-stocking.html.
- Fishing licenses: www.nhfishandgame.com. Kids under 16 fish free!
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