Concord, NH – April 1 marks the official start of the open-water fishing season on New Hampshire’s large lakes, which are managed for landlocked salmon and lake trout, including Big Squam Lake, Lake Sunapee, and Lake Winnipesaukee. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department also manages 11 other waterbodies for landlocked salmon, including Big Dan Hole Pond, First and Second Connecticut, Conway, Francis, Merrymeeting, Newfound, Ossipee, Little Squam, and Winnisquam. Pleasant Lake in New London is also managed for landlocked salmon, but is a special exception classified under designated trout ponds, with a 2021 opening date of April 24.
Thanks to mild conditions and strong winds, substantial portions of Lake Winnipesaukee are already free of ice. Anglers are encouraged to test their skills on areas of open water only. The last day for ice fishing on any lake managed for landlocked salmon or lake trout is March 31. Landlocked salmon may never be taken through the ice.
To ensure the future of high-quality landlocked salmon and other fisheries, anglers must take extra care when releasing salmon, as the percentage of hook-wounded fish continues to be a problem. Hook-wounded fish are significantly shorter and in poorer body condition than non-hook-wounded fish of the same age. Using rubber nets, proper release techniques, and other considerations can minimize the negative effects of hook wounding, thereby increasing the number of quality-sized salmon available in the future. For more information, please visit www.fishnh.com/fishing/salmon-pledge.html.
New Hampshire fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.nhfishandgame.com or from any NH Fish and Game Department license agent. Reel in lots more information on fishing in New Hampshire, from depth maps to tackle tips, and download the current Freshwater Fishing Digest, at www.fishnh.com/fishing/publications.html.