You should assume that any ice you’re venturing out on has the possibility of being unsafe but never more so than in March in the midst of a thaw, so take precautions! Provided that you’re fishing safely there is a lot to love about ice fishing when the gloves – and stocking hats – come off!
New Hampshire Fishing Report
With a full scale thaw underway, safety has to be your number one priority! Tim Moore from TimMooreOutdoors told me that Lake Winnipesaukee ice is now fraught with pressure ridges and other hazards and conditions are changing daily! All is not lost if you’re not familiar with the ice however, just stick to the bays and away from The Broads. Buddy up, bring safety gear – such as rope and ice picks – and stick to areas you can reach by foot. While playing it safe there is plenty to enjoy according to Tim, the white perch/laker bite is borderline insane! The thaw is causing nymphs, larva and other “emerges” to stir and the fish are gorging on that small prey making small jigs such as white Clam Epoxy Drops deadly! To make those jigs even more deadly, Tim embellishes them with three spikes!
Jim from the The Tackle Shack in Meredith said that cusk continue to become more active, in fact these notoriously nocturnal cousins of the cod are even being caught during the day in water as shallow as 20’! AJs lake trout jigs tipped with a slice of fish are doing the trick. Anglers have been having luck at Long Island, 19 Mile Bay and Cow Island. Not all ice fishing begins and ends with Lake Winnipesaukee of course, with favorable reports of warm water species trickling in from Silver Lake while brown trout are the draw from Webster Lake.
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for New Hampshire
Southern Maine Fishing Report
Brian of Dag’s Bait & Sportgoods in Auburn said that perennially reliable Thompson Lake is the ticket to fast action for lake trout, even if the odds of getting a corker are better elsewhere! Numbers of nice-size 20-24” togue are being successfully targeted with jigs/fish strips in 30’ depths. Bigger lakers are more of a possibility from the “Pumphouse” section of Sebago Lake. Tubes have been the trick there with “dead-sticking” even working! Sabattus and the Andro are still delivering the goods for pike with a few also coming out of Gulf Island Pond. Pleasant Pond is the pick for panfish, especially crappie!
According to IFW Fisheries Resource Supervisor Gregory Burr:
Places to go: In March anglers can encounter some of the warmest and most comfortable conditions to fish in. Typically, March can also be very productive for warmwater species such as bass and perch, as they tend to get more active as spring spawning approaches and they have a need to nourish egg production. That said, here a number of lakes and ponds to try with warmwater fish species:
• Spectacle Pond in Osborn is great for catching white perch!
• Upper Lead Mtn. Pond in T 28 MD is also a terrific place to catch white perch.
• Webb Pond in Eastbrook is an excellent water to catch big smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as white perch!
• Third Toddy Pond in Surry is a wonderful place to catch big smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and white perch.
Update on the ice fishing season: This year’s ice fishing season has been a huge success with ice depth and ice travel conditions being optimal for both snowmobiles and ATVs. Angler use on Downeast waters was very high with many fine catches of brook trout, salmon, brown trout, lake trout, and splake.
Ice fishing tip: My tip for the month of March is to jig often. Some of the best catches of perch and bass come from jigging small tungsten jig heads tipped with a worm or fish.
Reminder: In March the ice can start to recede around the shore and rocks, and pressure ridges can start to open, so be aware of open-water areas that have just enlarged with the warmer weather.
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!
New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
Cusk in close on Lake Winnipesaukee are a uniquely northern treat worth taking advantage of, especially since the action is relatively shallow and during the daytime! Thompson Lake in Maine has a terrific tog bite while Sebago gets the nod for a potential trophy. Warm water species are becoming more active due to the affects of the mid-March sun with Webb Pond and Third Toddy Pond leading the charge!