Weekly Fishing Report: May 20, 2024

Fishing Conditions & Updates for Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts

Great, phenomenal, amazing, consistent. Those are all words used to describe the fishing lately. Haddock fishing remains mostly great, with some very nice haddock reported when the weather cooperates. Flounder are moving inshore further north every day, with great reports as far north as Hampton Harbor. Stripers are everywhere, but most of the larger fish are being reported in the rivers. Once the alewives move up into freshwater, the bigger stripers will transition to feeding on mackerel and (hopefully) pogies. Trout and bass are biting very well, with bass currently on spawning beds


Greg Cutting at Jordan’s Store in Sebago reported that the annual Sebago Lake Trout Shootout was a great success, with about a 15-pound lake trout taking the top spot. “The winning fish was caught trolling a Flatfish down near bottom, deeper than 60 feet. One of my buddies caught the second-place fish, which was right around 13 pounds. He caught that on a Flatfish too. A few places got a little congested, but not too bad. My God is there a lot of bait out there and all the lake trout we caught had smelt in them and no alewives. We saw guys catching, trolling and jigging. One group caught 38 lake trout jigging. They have been catching some nice splake up to Tricky Pond lately. We weighed one just over six pounds. Another guy caught a beautiful one that was pushing five pounds up there too. They’re trolling a lot of frozen smelt. The salmon fishing on Sebago has been so good that the other ponds aren’t getting as much pressure as usual. Some other folks are catching a lot of bass in the Muddy River and a few catching yellow perch and crappie in the Sticky River,” he said.

Zach at Saco Bay Tackle in Saco was happy to report that there were stripers everywhere. “We’ve got plenty of fish in the rivers. From the Saco River all the way down to the Scarborough River, there are fish piled in there. They’re chasing the alewives and shad in the Saco. I even heard of mackerel starting to show up in around Casco Bay too. It’s early for them, but some people are catching them. In the river, guys are throwing 5-inch or 6-inch paddletails with a 2-ounce head. Over in Scarborough, they’re killing it with bucktails. Early morning incoming tides have been great for topwater,” he said

Captain Tim Tower of the Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing in Ogunquit reported great haddock fishing over the weekend. “The fishing was good; the wind, seas and tide combined to make it uncomfortable, too uncomfortable for some to fish. The catching and landings were excellent. Most legal fish landed were haddock, by far. Again, the haddock were bigger. Legal landings also included two pollock and a cusk. Released fish included far fewer sub-legal haddock. Less than a hundred. And even some of those were technically legal. Four good-sized cod were released as well as eight small cod, eight sub-legal pollock, a porbeagle shark and twenty-six dogfish. The fact that over half the anglers weren't fishing decreased the landings substantially. Those who did fish made out famously indeed! They anchored for every stop. Bait worked best.”

“Ian couldn't tell me who was high hook with most legal fish. Despite the down and out anglers, there was still so much action from those who were fishing that it was impossible to tell. It was a fish a drop all day long for everyone. And bait fishing tends to put everyone on a level playing field. Our own Jim Talvy (ME) won the boat pool for the largest fish with a 10.5-pound cod. This is our second largest cod of the season to date. The second largest fish was an 8.5-pound cod caught by Jorge Tirado (VT). Jeff Bauman (NY) caught the third largest fish, a 7.25-pound Maine state trophy haddock. Jeff also caught a 5-pound haddock that Ian weighed.”

“Other Angler Highlights: Hal Flan (MA) caught the first fish to be weighed for the boat pool, a 6-pound haddock. Some of his other fish of note included another 6-pound haddock, a 6.5-pound haddock and a 5-pound haddock. Brad Baker (OR) caught a 5-pound haddock, his best fish. Amy Fino (MA) caught a 6-pound haddock and two haddock of 5 pounds each. Sam Yang (ME) caught the fourth largest fish, a 6.9-pound haddock, just a skosh too small to be a trophy. Sam also caught a 5-pound haddock and a 6.5-pound haddock. Jacob Hanson (VT) landed the hard luck award today for losing his wedding ring over the side! I lost my wedding ring in the ocean one time. It wasn't fun as it was a special one that my wife, Deb, had made for me. And Donna Moran (NY) lost the fanciest wedding ring I have ever seen on Fippennies Ledge a few years ago. You are in good company, Jacob!!”


Robbie (left) from Texas and his future son-in-law Derek (right) took advantage of the great salmon fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee. Photo courtesy of Tim Moore.

Full-time New Hampshire fishing guide Tim from Tim Moore Outdoors was still pleased with the fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee lately. “We’re still catching a bunch of salmon, and they’re growing fast. Those sub-legal fish of a few weeks ago are hitting the legal keep mark, and some bigger than that make the trips really fun. Between catching multiple salmon per trip and all the rainbows and lake trout, we’ve been having a blast. Oranges and pinks are still hot colors, but occasionally we hit them on blues and greens. Surprisingly, it has been mostly spoons catching. BB Guns and Mooselook Wobblers have been great, but it depends on the day. Some days the narrower BB Guns work best and other days a larger profile of the Mooselook Wobbler is better,” he said.

Dana Berry at Berry’s bait reported a slightly slower weekend, but great fishing reports from those who came into the shop. “Spoons and flies are still catching a lot of fish. The preserved smelt have been selling great out of our vending machine, so they must be catching well. It’s artificial lure only season for bass right now and Senkos are selling like crazy. The Crazy Hick Pig Sticks have been very popular,” she said.

Jason Brewster at Brewster’s Bait and Tackle in Portsmouth sent in the following report: “Flounder, and lots of them, reported in York Harbor. Stripers are in the Piscataqua River and schoolies are in the back channel. The weather stinks but the fishing is solid. Sea worms are flying out of the bait shop along with mackerel.”

Jason MacKenzie at Pawtuckaway Trading Post in Raymond said most of what he is hearing is saltwater fishing related. “The haddock fishing has been great this spring, and a lot of people are still catching some really nice haddock offshore. We are hearing of flounder reports from Hampton Harbor, but not much from Rye. They dredged Rye Harbor two winters ago, so that may have affected the flounder fishing there for a few years. There are stripers everywhere right now, but most of my customers are fishing below the dams in Newmarket and Durham. I’ve heard of quite a few fish in the high 30-inch range so far. There are still people picking away at the stocked trout” he said.


Pete Santini at Fishing Finatics in Everrett reported excellent fishing everywhere. “The flounder fishing off the Deer Island pier in Winthrop is fantastic right now. They’re catching lots of flounder. The Lynn pier and the pier in Swampscott have also been great. The boats are catching them in Winthrop Harbor, Peddocks Island, and Long Island. The flounder have really come back strong and people should take advantage of it while they’re in close. The striper fishing is fantastic too. There have been some surface feeds out in front of Deer and Castle Islands, with bass up to 36-inches. White shads or trolling tube and worm by the shore is working well. There are plenty of mackerel between Graves Light, B Buoy, and Egg Rock. Trout fishing is still great in Horn, Walden, Whites, and Jamaica Ponds. Haddock fishing is great just offshore and the tuna will probably show up this week,” he told us.

Martha at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island reported stripers everywhere. “Life is good here. All the fish are fat. It’s been a great start with lots of fish. They’re way up in Lawrence as well. The shad fishing has been good, but not great. They are still catching them though. In Lawrence, 12-inch Slug-Gos, Big Danny trolling swimmers, SP Minnows, Hydro Minnows, and Docs are doing well. Down here near the mouth, shads are doing well. Al Gags Whip It Fish, No Live Bait Needed lures, the new Fish Snax XL, and the Z-Man Hercules paddletails are also doing great. I’m hearing this from the North Andover stretch, all the way up to the dam. Just remember, that’s fresh water, so you need a freshwater fishing license up there,” she said.

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