Weekly Fishing Report
Fishing Conditions & Updates for Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts
The summer fishing doldrums are starting to set in. The fish are biting, anglers just need to switch things up slightly to adapt to changing water temperatures and length of daylight. Like last week, the anglers who are most willing to try something different and get creative are the ones who often catch the most fish. It appears the bigger striped bass are hanging around the ocean side right now, as opposed to the rivers. If you enjoy fishing for striped bass, the Dockside Striper Tournament & Seafood Brewfest coming this Thursday through Sunday might be for you! The Brewfest kicks the catch and release tournament off this Thursday at Dockside Restaurant in York with good food and lots of local brews, and winds down Sunday with the awards ceremony, also at Dockside Restaurant in York. Get your tickets by July 18!
Greg from Jordan’s Store in Sebago said the lake trout tournament on Sebago last weekend was a huge success. “Last year they had about ten boats. This year they had 34 boats,” he said. Greg told us that no one caught a lake trout over 33”. Each boat weighed in their best five fish and the winner weighed over 18 pounds of togue. Not bad for five fish that had to be under 23” long. Greg reports that the salmon fishing is still good. While there are many small salmon being caught, a customer of his brought his grandson salmon fishing for his first time and the youngster’s first-ever landlocked salmon measured 23” long and weighed four pounds. Greg told us that there are lots of salmon and lake trout being caught off the edge of the bar that runs out off the Northwest River. He says most anglers are doing best trolling shiners.
Dave Garcia at Naples Bait and Tackle in Naples told us that the fishing on Sebago has been good and that’s where most of his customers are fishing. “I just got in from fishing in Sebago. I was trolling in 20’ of water and couldn’t keep the smallmouth off,” Dave said. He said the lake trout fishing has been good as well. His hot lure was a red/white DB Smelt. Dave says the water is warmer down at the locks, heating up the warmwater fishing. He says the pickerel and bass fishing there have been steady.
Captain Tim Tower of the Bunny Clark reports that the dogfish are beginning to thin out. “The fishing was good, very good if you like dogfish. The catching was very good, even with the dogfish (and not including the dogfish). Landings were good to very good. Most legal fish landed were haddock, even more haddock than yesterday! The cull was about 50/50 or almost a legal haddock for every two caught. There were ten more sub-legal haddock caught than legal haddock. Legal landings also included three pollock, two cusk and one mackerel. Released fish included seven cod over 5 pounds, 145 dogfish and a few smaller cod and pollock. Drifting was the only boating method used. Everyone used bait and cod flies only. No jigs were used today.”
Full-time New Hampshire fishing guide, Tim Moore of Tim Moore Outdoors was happy to report that he has begun vertical jigging lake trout with decent early-season success. “The fish aren’t stacked up, and we have to work for them, but we are picking up a few. It will only get better from here,” he told us. He says his go-to lure is his signature series Nervous Minnow from Daddy Mac Lures in blue. A close second when the lakers are finicky is a blue Daddy Mac Lures ?-ounce Elite Ice jig or Albie Jig. He reports that the thermocline has set up at around 30’ and there are lake trout, salmon, smallmouth bass, and white perch hovering around it.
Hans at Suds N’ Soda Sports in Greenland told us that the striper bite has slowed a bit in the Piscataqua River, but there is no shortage of schoolies around. “I think the storms that went by may have thrown things off a bit,” he said. He has also had several unconfirmed reports of bluefish, but the only proof he has seen is a few lines bitten-off, which is a pretty good indication that there just might be a few blues around. He says the night time eel bite has been producing well, but you might have to weed through a few schoolies to catch that keeper. He expects things to pick back up this week.
In Meredith, Alan Nute of A.J.’s Bait and Tackle reported that many of the salmon and lake trout being caught are beginning to cough up tiny smelt, indicating that it may be time to downsize and start trolling flies. He reports fish hovering around the 30’-35’ range, with several species being caught there. He also reported a rainbow trout that was caught this week that weighed almost nine pounds! Alan says reds and oranges are still the hot colors most days. He also noted reports of good catches of white perch, many feeding on the surface early in the morning.
Chad at Dover Marine/Covered Bridge Sports in Dover reports strong striped bass fishing around the mouth of Portsmouth Harbor and into the Piscataqua River. He noted a lot more schoolies around and that he assumes the fish are keying in on some of the squid being reported around the mouth of the Piscataqua River. He says the daytime bite is slowing a bit, but the nighttime bite has been picking up. He told us that the tuna bite is heating up, but it isn’t going gangbusters just yet.
The folks at Eastman’s Fleet in Hampton/Seabrook Harbor happily reported that the dogfish, which were plaguing haddock anglers, have gone. “Last three days been good on the haddock with zero dogs and the half day the macks have been great 75% of the trips! Captain Nicole went out on a busman holiday last night on the 2-hour trip and she said the macks were good. Schoolies and a few keepers on most of the night bass trips!”
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department furnished the following report on their website:
In the North Country, Fisheries Biologist Andy Schafermeyer says the recent heat wave has had an impact on fishing in the North Country and it has been both positive and negative. Obviously the water temperatures have risen and trout ponds have slowed down. Fish are either deep, lazy, or both. Even the Androscoggin River is 70 degrees and hard to fish — especially in the middle of the day. Evenings have been productive on both ponds and rivers, and insects are hatching at a good rate.
In contrast, bass fishing has been great and Andy has landed many smallmouth on Moore Reservoir and Lake Umbagog. Also in the evening, fish seem to be attracted to plastic baits including tube jigs and Senkos. These types of baits are especially good after a rain event. Lately, fish have been responding less to noisy baits like crank baits or spinner baits.
Steve over at North Country Angler in North Conway mentioned the warm water temperatures have kept fishing to early morning and late evening. There have been good catches of trout in the Saco and Ellis rivers. The light Cahill and yellow sally hatches are in full swing on both rivers. Bass fishing is heating up on Conway Lake and Silver Lake. Hula Poppers, Jitterbugs, and Sneaky Pete Poppers are accounting for most of the largemouth and smallmouth bass.
In the Central Region, I received a nice report from an angler doing well catching both wild and stocked trout in the White Mountain area. He’s been having luck fly fishing using a hopper pattern or any other terrestrial fly. The fish aren’t too picky right now, especially the wild fish, which are very aggressive. Despite their general small size (4-6?) there are larger brook trout that fell for a yellow hopper fly (see photo right by S. Flagg). If anglers are willing to hike into some of these back country streams, they may be rewarded with a similar fish.
The thermocline in the big lakes should be setting up pretty well with all the warm weather we’ve been experiencing. Trolling spoons and small streamer flies on 6 to 7 colors of lead core line or going with downriggers set to about 35 to 45 feet should produce some results for landlocked salmon and lake trout, and even some rainbows have been hitting at these depths. Mooselook Wobblers in copper/orange, Top Guns, and DB Smelts are good lures to use. Try vertical jigging for lakers if you have a calm day.
In the Upper Valley Region, the summer heat has changed the fishing, but not for the bad. The warm water ponds are exploding right now, and anglers are reporting loads of successful days fishing. Top water plugs are working really well. At Clark Pond in Cannan, one angler said his plug barely hit the water before he had a large sized bass on the line.
The trout ponds and streams still have fish moving. Folks report catching fish by trolling in ponds and lakes using sinking line and streamers. There are still some Hexagenia mayflies hatching after dark on the remote trout ponds. The Connecticut River in Cornish and Lebanon have had great fishing. The boat ramp at Ashley Ferry in Claremont has all the silt removed, and this week lots of anglers had launched and were fishing just off of the shore.
In Southeastern NH/Merrimack Valley, bass fishing has been excellent with the best action coming at dusk, mostly using topwater plugs. Fishing in the dark can actually produce some of the biggest fish of the season. If you’ve never fished at night, you should give it a try. If you are using a boat, make sure you have the proper navigational lights in working order. To keep your eyes adjusted to the darkness, avoid using bright headlamps or flashlights when handling fish or tying on lures. Use “glow sticks” or a headlamp that has a red or green lens. A few trout anglers are picking up some rainbows or browns trolling deep. Try Massabesic Lake, Beaver Lake (Derry), or Bow Lake (Northwood/Strafford) for deepwater trout.
On the Seacoast, Biologist Becky Heuss tells me she has been getting good reports of big stripers being taken in Hampton Harbor. Some keeper fish have also been showing up in the Piscataqua with some of the best action coming after sundown. A few squid have been showing up, also. Try fishing the bridges near a street light in and around the Portsmouth/New Castle area. The mackerel fishing has been a little spotty, but the menhaden are showing up big time bringing the gamefish with them, and a few whales! Haddock fishing on the party boats has been pretty good as of late, as well.
Martha at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island told us that sein netters moved in and took out some of the massive schools of pogies that were feeding all the stripers last week. As a result, the big bass don’t have as much to eat, meaning they seem more eager to eat a bait. She says that when the pogies were thick, the night bite was off. “Now that some of the pogies are gone the night bite is picking up,” she said. She also reports lots of micro-schoolies showing up, likely a result of dropping water temperatures. With cooler water, Martha recommends giving the flats a try, especially at night.
Pete Santini at Fishing Finatics in Everett reported pogies in Boston Harbor, which are drawing in some big bass, up to 40 pounds. He says the schools of pogies have been sighted anywhere from Amelia Earhart Dam all the way out to Spectacle Island. Pete says anglers are also catching some nice stripers trolling red Santini Tubes along the Winthrop shoreline and Spectacle Island. He also told us that there are big schools of bait and big stripers out by Egg Rock early in the morning. He says big bass are being caught at first light on topwater poppers. Travel another seven miles out, off Nahant Beach, and you’re likely to hook up with a tuna.
Because of inherent time restrictions of gathering fresh, up-to-date information, editing & producing this report in a timely manner, occasional errors or marginal information may slip by us. We try our hardest to provide accurate information. We urge readers to use this report as a tool to increase their fishing pleasure and not to rely on as their sole resource. First or second hand information is offered by fishing guides, commercial fishing charters or party boats, bait & tackle dealers, well-known successful anglers and state & federal fisheries and natural resources enforcement officials. We also welcome and use reports forwarded to us by fishermen that use this report. - Kittery Trading Post Fishing Report Editor