Weekly Fishing Report
Fishing Conditions & Updates for Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts
The stripers are arriving in better numbers daily, flounder fishing is picking up, and trout fishing continues to please anglers across New England. Warming water temperatures are drawing more baitfish, such as mackerel, into near-coastal waters, providing a plentiful food-source for striped bass. Striped bass numbers should increase as water temperatures rise and more migrating fish arrive, almost daily. The presence of sea lice is indicative of newly arriving stripers, of which more are showing signs.
“The salmon have turned on!” were the first words out of Greg’s mouth when we called Jordan’s Store in Sebago. Greg says that water hit 50 degrees and the salmon really turned on over the weekend. His customers are counting salmon catches in the double digits now. Greg says the fish are healthy, but not a ton of huge fish. Most fish are between 14” – 21” with some as big as 24”. He told us that many of the salmon caught are natives. The best reports he is receiving are from the area south of Nason’s Beach over 120’ of water. Greg says the catches have been coming at first light, right on top, using sewn-on smelt. Greg said they had about ten dozen smelt left at the time of this report, and he didn’t expect them to last long. He told us that will be the last of the smelt for this season, but not to give up on live bait. Greg thinks shiners work as well as smelt during the late-spring and summer months. The lake trout fishing is good and the fish will concentrate in deep water once the water warms up a little more. Another fishery that is still going strong is the brown trout fishing on Hancock Pond. Greg says he has had some very nice browns come through the shop. He hasn’t had any immediate reports on Tricky Pond, but last fall’s netting produced a lot of splake and some landlocked salon in the six to eight pound range, so “they’re in there.” Greg told us.
In Sebago, Charlie Frechette at Sebago Lake Marina reported that things had been a little slow at the marina, but he did have a few reports from some of their customers about some decent fishing. Charlie was also receiving reports of salmon catches in the double digits, just not as many reports as he is used to, but that will change with the holiday weekend and warmer weather. Charlie told us that the best reports are coming from the Point Sebago and Bear Point area. Charlie did say that the togue are beginning to return onto their late spring/early summer haunts, so anglers should start picking them up in deep water more frequently now.
On the Bunny Clark, Captain Tim Tower reports good catches of groundfish recently, including pollock up to ten pounds and even some hefty wolfish, which was released of course. “The fishing was excellent, the catching was excellent and landings were very good. Most legal fish landed were haddock, by far. They had no problem reaching the bag limit. The cull flipped today with a 1.5 to 1 ratio, keepers to haddock less than eighteen inches fork length. Legal landings also included four pollock, four cusk and a cunner. Released fish included fifty-eight cod over 5 pounds, a few smaller cod and pollock and one wolffish. They drift fished all day. Almost everyone used bait today. But both (jigs, bait and cod flies) worked well.”
Maine Guide Dan Legere at the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville furnished the following information on their website: “With the exception of the Moose River, smelt runs are about over. Streamers are still doing the job and will for a while. Fish haven’t forgotten what a smelt looks like. Once the adult spawned out smelt return to deeper water, fish begin feeding on younger needle smelt. Consider making the switch from the biggest streamer you have to a smaller version of the same thing and you won’t miss a beat.
Water temperatures have been slowly climbing and when they hit 48 degrees suckers begin dropping their eggs. Like most other fish, suckers only spawn in certain spots. You’ll generally find them on gravel bottoms at the head of a pool. They don’t lay their eggs in a mass like trout or salmon, they broadcast their eggs into the current where they drift downstream. When they find bottom they’ll stay glued to the bottom until they hatch 7-10 days later. When you’re in the neighborhood of spawning suckers you’ll always find brookies and salmon lined up just down-stream gobbling every egg that drifts by. After the actual spawn is over, fish continue to grub around picking eggs until they finally hatch.” He went on to write, “Water levels have finally dropped considerably in most of the main rivers. Much more water is now available to waders and the fishing is getting better everyday. Fish have moved back into their regular lies where it’s much easier to get your fly to them. You are still going to want your sinking line. No-one’s looking up yet.
Our trout ponds are ready to come alive. Daytime mayfly hatches should begin soon if they haven’t already. Make sure you bring plenty of Adams, Black Gnat, and Quill Gordon in your case along with a few Hare’s ear you might want to try as a dropper. It’s good to cover all bases. If all they want is the dry get rid of the dropper, but don’t be surprised if you find trout on both flies every now and again. Until the mayflies begin to pop put your favorite dragon fly pattern on a sink-tip line and fish along the edges where you just lose sight of bottom. Trout will be cruising the shores picking up anything that resembles a dragon fly nymph walking around on the duff.
We are not peaking yet but those days aren’t that far out.”
Full-time Lake Winnipesaukee fishing guide Tim from Tim Moore Outdoors reported that the salmon have begun to turn on and that spoons were finally producing a lot of landlocked salmon, which he was happy about since smelt will be impossible to come by in the coming days. “We have been doing very well trolling spoons and sometimes flies at around 2 MPH,” Tim told us. He says he has been doing well down 25’ over deep water. He was pleased to find lake trout beginning to move into deeper water, a sign that the vertical jig bite will set up soon. He also told us that the smallmouth bass have moved in and begun bedding. “We are seeing lots of females hounded by one or two males. They haven’t spawned yet, but they will any day.” he said. He wanted to remind NH anglers that the catch-and-release season for black bass is from May 15 to June 15.
Alan Nute of A.J.’s Bait and Tackle in Meredith reported a great weekend during the Winni Derby. He reported that a 5.12 pound salmon won the derby overall, and a 12 pound lake trout was the largest laker registered. Alan told us that yanking Sutton Spoons on the bottom in 70’ of water has been producing the big lake trout lately, a favorite technique of many experienced lake trout anglers.
Captain Rocky Gauron at Al Gauron’s in Hampton/Seabrook Harbor reported good catches of nice haddock. Their customers caught fish as long as 24” over the past weekend, with everyone averaging four to five nice haddock. The lack of anglers limiting out was due to the number of novices on the boat over the weekend.
In Greenland, NH, Felix at Suds N' Soda Sports reported a few more striped bass catches, but he couldn’t confirm if they were new fish, or holdovers that have been reactivated by the arrival of river herring. He also told us that the mackerel have arrived locally, which should draw in more bass. He told us that there are a lot of flounder anglers coming into the shop, but no reports of limit catches yet.
Chad at Dover Marine/Covered Bridge Sports Somersworth told us that “There’s fish in the water.” Meaning the fishing was turning on everywhere. Chad says bass fishing has picked up with some nice ones caught in Willand Pond and the Bellamy Reservoir. Chad thought some of the rivers in the Rochester area probably got stocked with trout recently, made apparent by the stocking truck he saw in that area.
Pete Santini at Fishing Finatics in Everett told us that his Zobo flounder derby was a huge success over the weekend with over 80 anglers registered and over 40 flounder weighed. The biggest flounder was 2.94 pounds. It’s safe to say the flounder fishing around Boston Harbor has picked up. Pete says Deer Island Flats, Long Island, and off of Nut Island are all great locations right now. He also reported that there are striped bass up to 38” being caught and trout fishing is great in Whites, Waldon, and Horn Ponds.
On Plum Island, Liz at Surfland Bait and Tackle told us that the fishing was hit or miss, but there were a lot of fish in the high 20” range. She said worms and clams were hot for bait, and bucktail jigs and soft plastics are great for lures. She said that the mouth of the river and walking the beachfront were the best areas right now.
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