This is the time of the year when southern New England anglers look north of the border in order to gauge what’s still coming. But just maybe fishers in New Hampshire and Maine should take peak southward in order to appreciate what they still have!
New Hampshire Fishing Report
With many sportsman shifting over to hunting, bait and tackle shops north of Massachusetts tell me that business has fallen off a cliff. Being as such, it doesn’t make much sense for them to carry much in the way of bait, but that has not stopped a Bay State shop from selling eels to anglers traveling all the way from Maine to get them! That pretty much tells you all you need to know: there are still big bass in New Hampshire and Maine even if very few are fishing for them. Because those bass are in full-blown run-and-feed mode odds are good that if you find them you’ll know it since they are feeding aggressively. While eels will work off the open shore right now, they are especially deadly in rivers/estuaries after dark. If you’re familiar with an upstream area which grew cold over the summer it might be time to revisit it now especially with eels at night. One of those upstream areas just might be the Hampton Harbor/river area which according to Joe from Granite State Rod and Reel Repair has been good!
With many switching over to freshwater now, I asked for input from Krystian from The Tackle Shack in Newbury to point us in the right direction for sweetwater action. He told me that with the lake trout/salmon season closing on September 30th those in need for a freshwater fix have two options: bass in the ponds/lakes or brookies in the rivers. For smallies he suggests Kezar Lake and Perkins Pond and as for offerings slow rolling spinnerbaits, suspending jerk baits and the jig and pig. As for brookies, the Sugar River is sweet.
Southern Maine Fishing Report
Zach from Saco Bay Tackle Company told me that the few who are still fishing for stripers are doing very well, especially at night! Go-to offerings have been needlefish, 9” Slug-Gos and GT Eels. Biddeford Pool has been good as has Cape Elizabeth, Higgins Beach and Two Lights Park. With the cod “season” now over a month in, inshore areas are showing the affects of the pounding and are not holding much in the way of cod. Anglers catching well are combining the one cod bag limit with a haddock run to southern Jeffrey’s Ledge where the bite has been good. Maybe best of all is that dogfish numbers are waning and pollock numbers improving!
Captain Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Outfitters said that the bite is still going on in the Casco Bay Area. Most fish have been up in the shallows as there is still plenty of bait. October is reminding Captain Lou of May with numbers of fish even if not of spectacular size. Still it’s hard to complain when you’re still catching stripers in mid-October! I’ve also been hearing of a few sea run brown trout falling to fly fishers with scud and shrimp patterns in the Mousam River.
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!
New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
The bad news is that most of the northern New England striper stock has migrated southward but the good news is that there are still willing striped bass out there and they are proving easy to catch. For a shot at a better bass stick to the nightshift and stick to large offerings such as Slug-Gos or other substantial soft plastics. If you’re yearning to shake it up after a long season of chasing stripers consider the Nashua River for largemouth bass or Kezar Lake for smallies. While those fish may not grow to 20 pounds and wear stripes they are not migrating anywhere.