Weekly Fishing Report
June 13, 2017
NEW HAMPSHIRE: “Stripers have appeared all the way up the Piscataqua River to Little and Great Bay and up into the below-dam locations of the coastal locations where baitfish have been schooling.”
“Three hot spots that can be fished from both shoreline and boats are the Lamprey River in Newmarket, the Squamscott River in Exeter and the Oyster River in Stratham. But it’s always a good thing to check first about local regulations as to any town restrictions.”
“These stripers are feeding on the schools of small baitfish but the big stripers, often called “bulls” are mostly feeding on the herring and alewives, with the large alewives being the preferred food for those larger stripers.”
“Alewives can be netted or are often snag hooked. You’ll need a license to net baitfish such as alewives and it would be smart to go to the rule book as far as snagging equipment and bait netting is legal.”
“Live alewives are “striper candy” and will no doubt out-fish both whole dead bait or chunk bait, but both of these are legitimate baits if you don’t have live bait. If you have a live bait tank in your fishing boat and can find a good location to net live alewives, you have the best of the best. But check netting regulations before you net your live bait!”
“A lot of the new striper anglers are fooled by the words Great Bay, when it comes to striper fishing. This is painting with a wide brush over the real places to fish for stripers.”
“First, Great Bay may hold some stripers at the river mouths and the channels because it’s just a big pan of shallow water, except for the river channels and the main channel that drains into Little Bay.”
“The largest concentrations of stripers is from Little Bay and the upper Piscataqua River and down-river all the way to both Little Harbor and Portsmouth Harbor.”
“Many of the more skilled and veteran striper fishermen that use live or fresh caught cut bait will start their day out around the #2KR (Kitt’s Rock) buoy to try to catch live macks or pollock and work their way up into Little Harbor and the Piscataqua River either to start using the newly caught bait to entice a striper or in hopes of putting a few more live baits into their live well.”
Jason says that he directs most of his striper-bait customers to fish the Piscataqua all the way up to Little Bay, spend plenty of time in Little Bay and to not bother with Great Bay itself as that is just a big, shallow pan of tidal water that lacks good structure for stripers, except at the river mouths and the tidal rivers and the main channel that drains into Little Bay from Great Bay.
“New striper fishermen that don’t have any good directions for where to fish become confused by the over-use of the name of Great Bay. Truth be known, Great Bay itself is not good striper grounds. But the Piscataqua River and Little Bay have abundant ideal sunk structure that provide great cover for the larger stripers, who are very-much attuned to taking cover around these place.”
Jason also noted that local brooks and ponds had been stocked with trout but fishing pressure probably resulted in few fish left to catch.
“We’d bet that if you took the time to wander up or downstream from the roads adjacent to these local brooks you’d still be able to find some nice brookies or rainbows, especially around any springs that had cooler waters.”
George Taylor at Taylor’s Trading Post in Madbury likes the striper fishing in some of his regional waters, with the tidal portions of the Oyster River as well as the
Lamprey and Squamscott Rivers winning his approval.
“These places seem to be often under-fished, compared with the more popular bigger bodies of water, but they are ideal for shore anglers. Also, small boat anglers should find these tidal rivers provide good shelter and calmer waters than the main branches of the Piscataqua. And, they hold plenty of stripers because these smaller rivers are the home for a lot of the baitfish—such as alewives, herring, and other small baitfish.”
George also touts the under-fished local fresh water streams and ponds as most of them will hold over larger specimens and the fishing pressure is often light. One pond in particular, Stonehouse Pond, is restricted to fly-only angling. Taylor says that these fish are highly educated and pretty sophisticated but there’s some trophy fish in Stonehouse Pond that will make you skip a breath or two!
We personally like to stop in and chat with George and if we’re after stripers we’ll pick up a few live or fresh baits from him and head down to Little Bay to try our luck.
In mid-state New Hampshire we rely on Martel’s Bait and Tackle in Laconia for information. They are at the hub of much of the Lake Winnipesaukee’s fishery that includes both warm and cold water species. “We’ve got a good handle on our two big lakes here, Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam. And we see a lot of people that like to fish our heavily trout-stocked ponds that dot our area. And of course those warm water ponds as well as the warmer shoreline temperatures of those big lakes hold plenty of the warm water fish that are highly sought after for their good eating, such as white and yellow perch, and crappie are getting more and more popular.
In the Northcountry, we get help from River’s Edge Sports, Tink Nelson, Steve Courshesne, and Tall Timber Lodge.
We have a couple of real characters providing us with info from Massachusetts, with Pete Santini at Fishing FINatics in Everett and Kay Moulton and her well known daughter Martha at Surfland Bait and Tackle rounding out the squad. Kay has been behind the counter at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island for all my lifetime and probably longer! What she’s forgotten about the fishery in that area would fill books! And she still has a whole library of up-to-date knowledge!
Our local Maine woods and waters are pretty well covered by KTP’s Scott Round and we also get good feedback from Master Maine Guide Stu Bristol. We were impressed watching Stu’s removal of a stray fish hook out of his own hand. Our suggestion with anyone fishing with him should be to wear protective clothing.
Because of inherent time restrictions of gathering fresh, up-to-date information, editing and 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 and tackle dealers, well-known successful anglers and state and 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