NH Fishing Report for August: It’s raining fish

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Greetings anglers!

scott-decker“When it rains, it pours” seems to be the theme these days for New Hampshire anglers. I have received more than four inches of rain at my home in the first 10 days of August. Needless to say, most streams are running at or well above normal for this time of year and lake levels are likely at maximum. The rains seem to have turned on the fish so now is a good time to get out there. Don’t forget to send me your reports by dropping me a line at scott.decker@wildlife.nh.gov.

Next report goes out on or around August 24.


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A wild NH brook trout. Photo courtesy of A. Schafermeyer.

In Southwestern New Hampshire, Randy at Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsborough says a few anglers were picking up some trout on the Contoocook River as a result of increased flows. At Willard Pond in Antrim, anglers were hauling out a few brook and brown trout recently using sinking fly lines and streamers with a dropper fly.

In the North Country, Fisheries Biologist Andy Schafermeyer reports that an interesting thing happens when heavy rain interrupts a prolonged period of dry heat. Imagine our rivers and streams, warm and slow-moving through much of August. Then, a torrential downpour rejuvenates the system with cooler water, increased flows, and most importantly, food. Invertebrates of all shapes and sizes get washed into the water where brook trout gobble them up. Fast water scours the stream bed and dislodges a virtual buffet of aquatic insects. This scenario has played out frequently in the past two weeks; three or four days of sweltering heat and humidity interrupted by energetic thunderstorms.

Andy also says bass fishing has been good in Lake Umbagog, and smaller lakes like Nay Pond (Milan), and South Pond (Stark). Fish have been hitting tube baits and drop-shot rigs in water deeper than 10 feet.

Steve over at North Country Angler in North Conway says the rain storms of the last two weeks have enlivened trout fishing on the rivers and streams of the Mount Washington Valley. Anglers are catching the “Saco River Hat Trick” – brook, rainbow, and brown on terrestrial patterns. Any foam ant pattern is bringing success. In addition, the bass fishing on area lakes continues unabated. Top water lures are bringing savage strikes with fish over three pounds.

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A nice lake trout jigged up on Lake Winnipesaukee. Photo courtesy of T. Moore.

In the Central Region, fishing guide Tim Moore says the vertical jig lake trout bite is setting up nicely on Lake Winnipesaukee. He’s finding fish in a variety of depths right now ranging from 75 feet to 125feet, but the depth range seems to get tighter and deeper by the day. In the coming weeks, fish will concentrate in 100’+ deep water and will feed voraciously. The smelt are there, it’s just a matter of time before the lake trout figure it out. Tim is seeing a greater abundance of fish almost daily. A blue 1.4-ounce Nervous Minnow from Daddy Mac Lures has been the most successful lure. He has been seeing other boats beginning to pick up some very nice salmon trolling flies. Lake trout action on Sunapee has been good with vertical jigging being the successful tactic. Early morning when the lake is calm you can find lakers stacked up in deep-water holes in the main part of the lake. If you can stay on top of them, jigging a copper color Swedish pimple in size 5 or 6 works well.

Don’t miss Tim at our upcoming free Outdoor Adventure Talk on September 6, at 7:00 p.m. He’ll be discussing late summer and early-fall vertical jigging techniques for lake trout. In his seminar, Moore will discuss the best locations, lures, jigging techniques, trophy-fish conservation, and more. Join us at NH Fish and Game Headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH.

In the Upper Valley Region, recent rain has added water to the streams and rivers, and has got the fish moving! On rivers, look for locations where feeder streams come in as these spots usually have cooler water and you will find more fish. In Lebanon at the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) site, Bloods (Trues) Brook is flowing again, and some of the anglers have had success with catching trout. The Cornish WMA was reporting great fishing by folks who waded into the river. Bass anglers launching boats at Ashley Ferry in Claremont were catching fish right off the boat launch. Crystal Lake in Enfield had anglers catching large pickerel on both flies and bait. Lake Massasecum in Bradford has been producing bass and panfish, but will slow a bit in August, as it usually does. Try using top water plugs and flies during morning and evening attempts.

The trout ponds are reporting in with mixed results, and depending on the weather and the day, you may find some large, hungry trout. At Tewksbury Pond last week during a rain storm, one angler said he caught and released about 12 trout. He was using streamer flies with full sinking line, and he said once the rain began the fish started biting. In trout ponds look to use fly patterns like the Harris Special, Canopache and the Shushan Postmaster patterns. Fish them deep and vary your retrieve. This time of year is often looked at as a slow fishing time in Upper Valley locations, but don’t get discouraged. Adjust your tactics and if you come up short, try experimenting. A big shout-out to angler Scott Biron, who has been providing these reports for this area of the state.

In Southeastern NH/Merrimack Valley, I spoke with Mike at Wildlife Sport Outfitters in Manchester. He says most area bass lakes are producing fish using jigs fished deep. Methods such as wacky-rigged or Texas-rigged Senkos, or other plastic baits, were working well. He’s heard of a fair number of 4- to 5-pound fish, plus the occasional 8- or 9-pounder! Mike suggested anglers try horned pout fishing at night right now. A simple lighted bobber and night crawler set-up is all that is needed. He also heard of a few trout still being taken on the Nissitissit River in Brookline.

On the Seacoast, there’s been word that there are squid in the Piscataqua River, and the abundance of squid jig sales may support those claims. The stubborn squid have been hanging just outside the mouth of the river, and just outside the reach of anglers looking to catch them for bait or to eat. We also understand that a couple of anglers recently caught a number of stripers during an outing in Hampton Harbor using squid for bait.

Anglers are also reminded 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 in an end-of-season drawing.

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