Coastal New Hampshire and Maine Fishing Report- August 31, 2023

Diamond Pass Charters striper
John Probislo scored this hungry schoolie while fishing aboard Diamond Pass Charters.

Incessant rainfall had complicated fishing anywhere near tidal rivers, pushing bait and bass out onto beaches and rocky points. With an expected hiatus from the deluges, rivers from the Piscataqua through the Kennebunk River should pick up considerably. Not all is unfortunate with higher than normal river levels as some trout fishermen have figured out!

New Hampshire Fishing Report

Lake Winnipesaukee is noted for it’s salmon, rainbow trout and lake trout fishing but as Joe from Granite State Rod and Reel Repair in Nashua recently proved – it grows some impressive warm water species as well! On a Ned Rig, while the intent was bass, he caught a beast of a black crappie which weighed but a sliver under 3 pounds! Joe also took his game along with his son and grandson to the Merrimack River where they caught cows up to 40 pounds on live mackerel. Joe is certainly on a roll. Anglers fishing Lake Sunapee are finding impressive smallmouth bass. The Nashua River has been giving up decent panfish, especially crappie and bluegills. An upside to all the rain we’ve received since the spring is that rivers/streams which normally drain down considerably in summer still hold a lot of water as well as trout from spring stockings! Patrons of the shop are finding trout in Beaver Brook as well as the Souhegan River with the latter holding all three species of trout including the occasional wild brookie.

Captain Andy from Adventure and Catch Charters has a bead on cod now that regulations have loosened allowing a limited cod harvest until the end of October. Platt’s Ledge is on the agenda where the captain expects to find cod and maybe pollock, especially now that Pigeon Hill has cooled considerably since the herring have moved off.

Captain Bob of Seacoast NH Sportfishing said that mackerel have become pretty abundant off both inshore ledges as well as the Isles of Shoals. The problem has been keeping the bait alive in the livewell with all the freshwater flushing out of the rivers. The hunch is that with a relative dry spell expected the salinity of rivers and embayments should normalize once again. Rocky points and beaches have held the best striper action. More recreational-sized tuna have moved onto Scantum thanks to a bump in herring numbers.

Southern Maine Fishing Report

Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle/Boatyard told me that while angry seas have kept the boaters at bay, surfcasters have capitalized on the churned up surf and done well off beaches. With the volume of quahogs broken and smashed up, not surprisingly clams have been the go-to bait! Some of the better bass have been caught off Drakes Island as well as Fortune Rocks. While there are a few blues around they can no longer be counted on as they once were and catches are now random. Less blues usually means more mackerel with some as close as Wells Harbor. Dropping water temperatures and an increase in herring fry, transitioning from upstream areas, is making for better bass fishing in rivers such as the Saco. Many are excited about the prospects of keeping a cod beginning September 1st with the bet that Boone Island Ledge will hold them as will the Cape Porpoise Peaks. Captain Paul Hood has had to cull through cod for months to find groundfish, which charters could harvest, and that has given him many waypoints as to where they are! Northern Jeffrey’s Ledge should have plenty of cod as well as Platt’s Ledge. Tantas Ledge is another option which for many is far closer.

According to Captain Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Outfitters the increased tidal action from the recent super blue moon has had a corresponding affect on the fishing as it has improved! Fish have been holding off the beaches in deeper water of 20-30’. Vertical jigged GT Eels, and deep dropping live eels has been the most productive. They are also seeing good numbers of fish in the bays and rivers as small bait starts to drop down. The fishing has improved so markedly it’s reminding some of June with flies and topwaters working again! Once the sun is up anglers trolling the tube-and-worm have been consistently finding fish along jetties and eel grass sod banks. Blues are spotty, still holding around Harpswell (Kennebec Area) and many are stoked about slipping out once they get a break in the boomers and search for cod.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!


New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast

Less rain should result in higher salinity levels in rivers making the prospects of a solid striper bite improve in the Piscataqua, Mousam, Saco and Kennebunk Rivers. Combers, which had been churning up beaches, should continue through next week with Idalia bearing down on New England. All that roiling should keep beaches, a virtual buffet for bass with a clam on the line, the best bait. Should you want a shot at a bluefish then you had better act quickly because once water temperatures dip below 60 degrees your odds suffer exponentially. A few toothies have been picked up by trollers in the Harpswell area recently. For those looking to catch a cod, Whaleback and the Mudhole are two close places to start with Tantas and Jeffrey’s Ledge better bets for a more diversified cooler.

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