With the recent arrival of striped bass for your southern neighbors, the writing’s on the wall – you’re next! Meanwhile stripers “cousins” continue to please in Great Bay. With smelt runs drying up salmon trolling is more of a challenge but awakening black bass are making up for it. The other awesome option remains groundfish and when found the fishing – is good!
New Hampshire Fishing Report
To say that Captain Andy of Adventure and Catch Charters is dialed into groundfish is the ultimate understatement. Over the past weekend his crews limited out on haddock in four hours or less. The Northern Fingers of Jeffrey’s Ledge has been productive with haddock of which many are taping out between 22” and 26”! Cusk and redfish are adding spice to the catch and variety to the cooler!
According to Jim from The Tackle Shack in Meredith, smelt are no longer cruising the shorelines and with that landlocked salmon are more spread out on Lake Winnipesaukee. Not surprising, smelt as a bait source will not be available much longer. However with orange/black spotted Top Gun spoons working so well it almost doesn’t matter. For a pick of the week, Jim suggests the Cow Island area.
A Massachusetts shop I know well, tells me that they have are still getting plenty of demands for white perch bait and gear for the Exeter/Squamscott River. The age-old adage was always that the salter perch bite peaked around the time apple trees were blossoming! So keep your eyes out for those orchards.
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for New Hampshire
Southern Maine Fishing Report
Scotty from Dag’s Bait & Sportgoods in Auburn said that while salmon and trout fishing remains the top choice, increasingly anglers are turning to bass. Pre-spawn smallies are feeding with purpose in the Androscoggin River as well as Thompson Lake. While considered more for it’s cold water species fishery, Thompson has terrific smallmouth bass swimming in it. Scotty’s pick for bronzebacks is chatter baits and jerk baits. The shop still has a few smelt but they won’t last long and will not be replaced when the current supply is gone.
Sebago Bait and Tackle reports are that lakers are numerous while those successfully targeting salmon are focusing their wares within the first 15 feet of the water column.
Zach from Saco Bay Tackle Company said that increasingly smallmouth bass are the attraction for freshwater fans. Above the Skelton Dam on the Saco River, smallies are stirring as is the case with Lake Ossipee. Ironically my buddy Steve’s brother Brian just fished that lake in a tournament and did well on jerk baits. While things are just getting started in The Webhannet/Wells area that didn’t stop Brandy of Webhannet Bait and Boatyard from having an impressive report! The word regarding haddock is that those fish are still in deep water – 250-300 feet. Anglers scoring are searching to find the pile, but when it’s found they are achieving limits with the average size fish very nice. Efforts to restore sea run brown trout fisheries in the Ogunquit, Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers are paying dividends as catch rates are rising for these unique salmonoids. A few holdover stripers have been caught in the Scarborough Marsh area and with fresh fish now appearing among the Massachusetts North Shore, it shouldn’t be long before migrants return to Maine! Cormorants are furiously working the Saco River area which is a sure sign that there won’t be any shortage of bait when those hungry linesiders arrive!
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!
New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
Freshwater fishing remains the local best bet with black bass crowding trout and salmon as likely targets in Winnipesaukee as well as Thompson Lake. Haddock from Platt’s and Jeffrey’s Ledge are the main draw for saltwater action. With a burgeoning brown trout fishery in tidal Maine rivers, that option is increasingly becoming viable. Those fish are nothing if not stealthy but the payoff for perseverance is high!