If you’ve been fishing for stripers, you don’t need a calendar to tell you that its fall! Groundfishing remains good but steer clear of the shallows which are the domain of the dogfish!
New Hampshire Fishing Report
According to Captain Andy of Adventureandcatch Charters, stripers are beginning to transition out of the bays and are now staging more to the mouth of the Piscataqua River as well as area beaches. Slot size fish – 29/30” – rule and are hitting slim-profiled offerings such as Albie Snax. Available forage is herring fry and silversides making smaller baits better. Should you decide to venture offshore beware of the dog pound! Andy’s been plagued by those pests and suggests the deeper sections of Scantum – 340’ – for at least a chance to escape the menace. Should you shrug off the dogs, the catching of haddock, whiting and pollock should make it worth it. For a shot at an inshore cod while regulators allow recreational anglers one fish per day (21” minimum) for the next two weeks, consider lumps, bumps and clumps outside of Hampton Shoal Ledge as well as the Isle of Shoals.
Tim Moore from TimMooreOutdoors told me that a friend who fishes for stripers in the Merrimack River has been catching well both inside and outside the river. Bluefish are still present for those trolling deep diving plugs from Salisbury through Ipswich Bay. Tim’s still jigging laker trout and trolling for salmon on Lake Winnipesaukee by Governors Island and east of Rattlesnake Island. Just make sure you’re on the water at first light since the bite is usually baked by mid-morning! For something different, consider black bass among local freshwater bodies such as the Nashua River and Angle Lake. As temps cool largemouth and smallmouth bass will come closer to shore and become more active.
If you thought that you missed your opportunity to catch one of those amazing sea-run browns than think again! According to Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle an angler recently caught a 27-incher on a topwater while casting off the Wells Harbor jetties for bass! Scads of immature sea clams have been washing up on the Ogunquit Beach and insouciant anglers looking to capitalize on that are catching with – clams! One angler chunking mackerel right off the footbridge caught a half dozen stripers! Those trolling the tube-and-worm in Saco Bay and in the river as well as through the Piscataqua River are doing well with schoolie to slot size stripers.
As always, the big bass brigade is fishing estuaries and beaches at night with eels and GT soft plastics. According to Captain Lou of Diamond Pass Charters just in case you haven’t noticed, the fall run is in full swing. Pick a river and chances are in the morning you’ll see so much bait you’ll swear it’s raining! Schoolies are gorging on that rain bait among cormorants and terns. There’s enough slots in the mix to make things interesting! The skipper recommends revisiting what works in the spring, namely small offerings of white, olive and silver working best!
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New Hampshire & Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
For action it’s hard to top rivers that seem to be alive with small bait! Beaches are best for a big bass with eels and big soft plastics effective. Surface feeds however are not the sole province of striped bass as at least one angler caught 27” of sea run brown trout on a striper topwater no less!