Coastal New Hampshire and Maine Fishing Report- February 8, 2024

ME smallmouth on the ice.
Some Maine water bodies are as likely to give up brown trout as they are “brown” bass!

Without a sustained freeze, ice on water bodies is as unpredictable as any time in recent memory. Unless you’re familiar with a pond or lake stick to shady shallows with the exception being some big bays on Winnipesaukee. A better bet just might be riding out this weekend with one eye on what might be a season=saving cold snap predicted next week.

New Hampshire Fishing Report

Joe from Granite State Rod and Reel Repair in Nashua was just off the ice when we talked and said that the bite was solid at Mill Pond. As to what was hitting a more appropriate question might be what was not hitting. Joe was primarily jigging with Northland Forage Minnow’s tipped with Power Bait waxies and maggots and he caught bass, pickerel, perch, crappie and bluegills. The colors which were working were white, chartreuse and gold. The action is spread out among many ponds in the area as anglers fishing Potanipo, Rocky, Pleasant and Beaver Lake all reporting luck!
Jim from The Tackle Shack in Meredith told me that most anglers are fishing 19 Mile Bay, 20 Mile Bay and Center Harbor with some reports even coming from Leavitt. As for a best bet regarding species for white perch consider Melvin Village or the State Landing Area or maybe the Liberty Museum area in Wolfborough. For lakers and cusk check out Long Island. As for rainbows anywhere close to a sandy shoreline/beach is likely to hold them. One trick that some of the best bow hunters employ is to “seed” auger holes with brightly colored Power Eggs/Salmon Eggs. Anglers will drop a few to the bottom of random holes and then go back to check to see if hungry bows scoffed down the eggs. Fishers will then pepper the area with traps/jig sticks once they found the fish!

Ashley from The Tackle Shack in Meredith told me the shop is selling suckers/smelt briskly because of good fishing in Lake Sunapee, Todd Lake and Kezar Lake. Those targeting lakers will often slice up a sucker and embellish jigs with strips. Some standout jigs are Deadly Dicks, Swedish Pimples and Aeroplane Jigs.

Southern Maine Fishing Report

After supplying bait, good cheer and advice to countless anglers, Brady of Dag’s Bait & Sportgoods in Auburn is finally going to take in frozen fun with a trip planned at Porter Lake. When asked what swims there, he said, “Salmon, brook trout and lake trout”! This prompted me to half in jest ask, “Ya need company?”. You would expect a bait-catcher such as Brady to be aware of places which ooze forage to which he recommended Lake St. George. Angling anecdotes there reveal smelt of such magnitude that schools sometimes take 20 minutes to swim by! China Lake is another unique water body which is as likely to give up a big brown trout as it is a big brown bass. Apparently there has even been some smelt camp love! Worthing’s reportedly has had a few shacks out and there has been activity in Brunswick. Doubtless those shacks will be pulled off this weekend in anticipation of the thaw but expect game-on by the following weekend.

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New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast

Smaller water in the Nashua area of New Hampshire purportedly has 5”/6” of ice and solid action for warm waters species. Mil Pond and Rocky Pond are two good examples. Farther north, 19 Mile and 20 Mile Bays have had a lot of foot traffic with white perch and occasionally crappie responding. Cobbosseecontee Lake in Maine is a good option for bass and panfish. Lake St. George can be stellar for salmonoids and anglers can thank all the forage for that. A few smelt shacks have been spotted in the Kennebec River area as well as by the Brunswick Boat Launch. With unfavorable temperatures predicted over the weekend, it’s probably best to see what next week’s big chill locks up.

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