John Viar: (603) 744-5470
Ben Nugent: (603) 744-5470
March 30, 2022
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 lakes. Pleasant Lake in New London is also managed for landlocked salmon, but is a special exception classified under designated trout ponds, with a 2022 opening date of April 23.
A mild March that has featured heavy rains and wind events has significantly eroded what was a substantial mid-winter ice pack. Although a strong cold front over this week has temporarily slowed the melting process, ice-out conditions on the large lakes such as Winnipesaukee are much further along than could have been predicted in mid-February. Prior to the recent cold snap, the larger expanses of Lake Winnipesaukee were exhibiting the classic “black” color of honeycombed ice, with substantial open-water leads and pockets visible. Regardless of ice conditions or location within the state, please note the last day for ice fishing lakes managed under the landlocked salmon and lake trout designations 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.fishnh.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.