Coastal New Hampshire and Maine Fishing Report- January 5, 2023

open water largemouth
Until there’s universal “ice in”, some anglers are making do with rare January open water.

Chances are if your New Year’s resolution was to ice fish more then you’ve already broken it. Smaller water bodies do have good ice but the problem is higher water levels/erosion of shoreline ice from the rain/thaw. It might be better to chill for another week with an imminent freeze on the way. Meanwhile, some shop owners are fielding fishing enquiries by replying “open water anyone”?

New Hampshire Fishing Report

Jim from the The Tackle Shack in Meredith said that prior to the current thaw, anglers were out on quite a few coves on Lake Winnipesaukee and reports were of 3 to 4” of ice. Surely conditions have made those coves unsafe but with expected freezing temperatures on the way, those coves should lock up again. Timing would be good for that since in addition to various sizes of shiners, the shop is also stocking suckers and smelt, the latter of which are very impressive specimens! Meanwhile, if waiting is not how you are wired you may consider smaller water that is sporting bigger ice such as Little Pond and White Lake. The best bet of all probably is to just sit tight for another week, keep the fingers crossed and there should be a plethora of ice fishing prospects.
To put things further into perspective, Joe from Granite State Rod and Reel Repair in Nashua told me that last week he sold shiners to anglers hardwater fishing on Mill Pond and as for this week – they could float a bobber out there! That’s not supposed to happen in January!

Southern Maine Fishing Report

Dylan from Dag’s Bait & Sportgoods in Auburn told me that the Androscoggin River never gave up the ice in spite of the thaw. That river holds impressive pike, especially among the coves. Additionally, some smaller “trout” waters like The Ranges and the Otter Ponds still have fishable ice. There are numerous other smaller water bodies with good ice, but for those, you’ll have to do your homework and due diligence to make sure conditions are safe.

I did check with a few smelt shacks to get their perspective over the upcoming weeks and I could almost feel the shoulder shrugs through the phone. Winters aren’t what they used to be and it’s anyone’s guess when the Downeast estuaries, where those camps lie, will have safe ice.

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New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast

Temperatures expected to dip below freezing this weekend sould shore up smaller water bodies such as White Lake, Mirror Lake and Waukewan. Just maybe the coves of Winnipesaukee will “ice in” also again soon. Meanwhile, anglers are enjoying a rare opportunity to open water fish such warm water spots such as Mill Pond. Farther north in Maine, the pike-filled Androscoggin River as of the last report still has adequate ice as do the Otter Ponds and at least some of The Ranges. Should the expected cold snap materialize then look for open-water options to transition to hardwater which is what January is all about.

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