The Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and so is the unofficial start of the summer angling season. Many of you have likely planned trips to your favorite trout pond or bass lake this weekend and the fishing couldn’t be better. We are in the mandatory catch-and-release season for bass (May 15 – June 15), and fish are cruising the shallows looking for mates or are on beds already. Stocking continues at a fevered pace as hatchery staff work to get their fish out before the waters get to summer-like levels. As always, check the stocking report to see where we’ve stocked trout the previous week. Don’t forget to send me your reports by dropping me a line at email@example.com. Thanks to those of you who sent me something. Next report goes out on or around June 8
In Southeastern New Hampshire/Merrimack Valley, Mike at Wildlife Sports Outfitters in Manchester says that rainbow trout have moved off shore into deeper water at Massabesic Lake, and trolling for them is now more productive. Reports of anglers catching and releasing big largemouth were also coming in. The Souhegan and Piscataquog Rivers were also producing well at most of the access points near road crossings. Mike also mentioned some friends were doing well catching some of the broodstock Atlantic salmon released in the upper Merrimack near Franklin with reports of 6-7 pounders being taken.
On the Seacoast, marine biologist Becky Heuss has heard about some “schoolie” stripers being caught and released in the Hampton River. Both Rye and Hampton harbors have been giving up some good catches of flounder recently. The first reports of mackerel are also coming in from the Piscataqua River.
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In the North Country, fisheries biologist Andy Schafermeyer reports that with water temperatures approaching 60 degrees in Moore Reservoir, the pike and bass are hovering in shallow water for different reasons. The pike are post-spawn and fulfilling their supernatural ability to ambush prey. The bass are staging for the spawn and also feeding/protecting nesting areas. Both can be caught using the same methods — shallow-running crankbaits, slow-moving plastics, and heavy jigs. Use of a steel leader is a wise thing to do to be prepared for whatever bites.
Over in the Mt. Washington Valley area, Steve at North Country Angler reports that the Saco River is heating up with catches of brook trout and brown trout. Hatches on the Saco are just around the corner. Designated trout pond fishing continues to be hot with Mepps spinners and streamer flies both producing equally well. Bass are pairing up and striking out at any spinner bait that comes near. Try Conway Lake, Silver Lake, or Lake Chocorua.
In the Central Region, some quality salmon and lake trout were registered in the Winni Derby last weekend on Lake Winnipesaukee. The winning salmon was just over 5 pounds with a number of 4+ pound fish making the leaderboard. Live bait was taking a good majority of the fish. Some anglers reported catches of 15-20 fish while fighting an easterly wind during the weekend. A 12-pound lake trout was also taken during the derby, the largest laker registered in recent years.
Over in the Upper Valley area, anglers are reporting catching large trout on the Connecticut River at the Lebanon WMA using bait. Fly anglers trolling on Crystal, Sunapee, and Pleasant lakes have been catching trout and salmon using Purple Smelt and Blood and Guts patterns. Yellow perch of decent size are coming out of George Pond in Enfield. Fly anglers are having success in the trout ponds using streamers; there are flies on the surface but the trout are only feeding below the surface.
In Southwestern New Hampshire, fisheries biologist Jason Carrier mentioned that some channel catfish were being taken on the Connecticut River recently by anglers trolling for walleye in the section between the Vernon and Bellows Falls dams. Channel cats are somewhat new on the fishing scene and currently are not regulated by Fish and Game. He also heard of an 18-pound pike being taken from Spofford Lake. Some good action on brook and rainbow trout can be had at Stone Pond in Marlow. Jason suggests that anglers check out the Warner and Blackwater rivers for stocked rainbow and brookies this weekend. Randy over at Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsboro tells me that Smith Pond in Washington is really good right now with fishermen reporting catching their limit in short order. Mostly brook trout in the 11- to 13-inch range. Water levels on the Contoocook River are perfect now and it’s a very fishing friendly river, with a lot of access between Hillsborough and Henniker so it’s always worth a shot. Anglers were doing well catching brookies on the Henniker section using the traditional “garden hackle” and bobber method. Still good reports from Gould Pond (aka Emerald Lake) with rainbows being caught by shore fisherman.
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