With the Winnipesaukee thermocline setting up, reports of salmon catches mixed in with the already productive rainbow and laker bite have become more common. Slot-sized stripers have supplanted mere schoolies as headline news with river herring runs still the best bass bet.
New Hampshire Fishing Report
I’ve seen plenty of pictures of nice haddock through the years but nothing approaching the 32” beast Captain Andy of Adventure and Catch Charters put a patron on recently! He’s having to work at it and search among the Fingers, Scantum, Platt’s and other offshore structure but he’s finding impressive cusk, pollock and of course – haddock! There is no substitute for experience and time on the water and the skipper checks off all those boxes and more. Mackerel are spotty with the Isle of Shoals area the best of a tough pick. While he’s not targeting them, he’s seeing striper surface feeds from his slip in Great Bay Marina intermittently from port and throughout the Piscataqua River.
Tim Moore from TimMooreOutdoors is finally seeing signs that the thermocline in Lake Winnipesaukee is setting up. While there is proof on his electronics the better evidence is coming by way of salmon caught 15-35’ down on spoons and streamers. There are plenty of rainbows and lakers in the mix as well. During slow periods, Tim’s tossing bass gear to his charters and they are ned-rigging all the smallies they can handle at Winnipesaukee and Squam. For salmonoids Tim recommends trying north of the Barbers Pole, Diamond Island and Saunders Bay. Schoolie to 30” linesiders are cooperating in Little Harbor and Hampton Harbor. Flounder can be found at those destinations as well. `
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for New Hampshire
Southern Maine Fishing Report
Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle told me of a dogged new angler named Mike who listened raptly, put in the time and obviously patronized the right shop and was rewarded with a 31” striper for his efforts. It took him 4 days of working a Shaker Shad in Wells Harbor to catch this hard-won fish but in the end it was worth it! Dawn and dusk are fishing best for stripers up to slot-size out of York, the Mousam River and the Kennebunk River. The rivers will remain among the most productive until the herring runs wane which won’t happen until the end of this month. Flounder fishing is good near the Ogunquit Bridge as well as the mouth of the Mousam River. Mackerel remain hot or cold depending on who is doing the talking but the Boone Island area is among the most consistent. The 200’ line on Jeffrey’s Ledge has been among the most productive for haddock.
Captain Corey Leduc of Mainely Blue Charters has found a haddock honey hole only about 13 miles from his port in Casco Bay with 220-300’ of water the strike zone. He’s also been finding whiting and porbeagles! Obtaining mackerel has been no problem among irregular bottom just outside of the bay. The skipper’s specialty is tuna and seldom does a day go by when he doesn’t have one eye on the lookout for them. There have been no encounters yet, but that’ll soon change/.
Captain Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Outfitters told me that things seem to be picking up. Early morning topwater feeds are becoming more common. He got into a large school of small schoolies in the Presumpscot River recently that were on some small bait. The school was roughly 80 feet wide by 300 feet long! Most of the bigger fish are still targeting river herring. They did get an arrival of some pods of pogies off of the beaches as well. Lou credits the new moon for that. He’s hearing of a better bass bite in other areas as well such as the Saco Bay area as well as Portland. The Portland flats have been especially productive for those casting shrimp pattern flies.
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!
New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
Better bass have nudged schoolies out of the top story category in Little Bay, Hampton Bay and all the way into the Portland flats. Most reports have stripers topping out in the lower 30” category. Haddock as big as those bass can be found by the Fingers area in the GOM while one captain sailing out of Casco Bay is finding haddock limits a scant 13 miles from shore! Smallmouth bass fishing is as good as it gets among shoalwater in Squam Lake and Winnipesaukee while salmon fishing has just gotten good in the latter again.