Jason Smith: 603-271-1744
Scott Decker: 603-271-2491
March 25, 2020

Photo courtesy of B. Carbonneau.

Concord, NH – Anglers get ready, many of New Hampshire’s waterbodies are already open for fishing with more opportunity arriving in April. “Right now, New Hampshire has many lakes and rivers that can already be legally fished,” noted Jason Smith, Inland Fisheries Division Chief. “Most rivers and streams opened on January 1 and many lakes and ponds are open all year for fishing, either on open waters or through the ice.”

Larger lakes that are managed for lake trout or salmon, such as Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, Newfound Lake, Sunapee Lake, and several other waterbodies, have a defined ice fishing season that runs from January 1 through March 31—these lakes cannot be fished from shore or from a boat until April 1.

“Beginning on the fourth Saturday in April, which is April 25 this year, all designated trout ponds open. It’s an exciting time of the year, and anglers have a lot to look forward to in the next month,” continued Smith.

For a comprehensive list of designated trout ponds and species of fish to be found in individual waterbodies, visit the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Freshwater Fishing Digest online at

For physical and mental health, fresh air and engagement with nature are encouraged during the state’s current public health emergency; however, people should still practice social distancing and all rules and regulations applicable to fishing in New Hampshire remain in effect and will be enforced. People over the age of 16 must purchase a fishing license. Licenses can be easily purchased online at

Trout stocking will begin this week in waterbodies that are mostly free of ice. Hatchery staff will initiate pond stocking in waters that are currently open to fishing. “Stream stocking normally begins when water temperatures reach 45-50°F so a pocket thermometer is something useful to carry in your vest or tackle box. Unfortunately, we do not have our online stocking report up and running yet but it will be available soon,” Smith concluded.

Anglers looking for spots to check out should focus on the southern part of the state where most lakes and ponds are open and free of ice already. Everyone must continue to practice social distancing of six feet or more and follow all other measures as recommended by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Learn more about COVID-19 in New Hampshire at

Please also maintain the recommended social distance from hatchery staff as they stock fish this spring.