New Hampshire boasts some fantastic ice fishing locations, such as Squam Lake, Lake Winnipesaukee, and the White Mountain Region. Preparing for your ice fishing adventure, make sure you bring along a fishing rod, ice auger, bait and lures. Also, don’t forget to wear warm clothing. The ice fishing season typically begins in December and wraps up in March, but you can select the optimal month and time based on your target fish species. Keep in mind that ice fishing carries some risks, so it’s crucial to check the ice thickness and adhere to ice fishing safety guidelines for a secure and enjoyable experience.
It’s not a must you do ice fishing in New Hampshire’s largest lake as you can try your lucks in the ponds. Some lakes and ponds are stocked with different fish species so that you can catch brook, brown trout, black crappie, brook trout, smallmouth bass, lake trout, and rainbow trout, among other fish species.
Best Places for Ice Fishing in New Hampshire
The top places for ice fishing in New Hampshire are the following:
1. Lake Winnipesaukee
This is one of the largest lakes in New Hampshire, covering approximately 44,000 acres of water. During ice fishing season, the Meredith Rotary Club goes the extra mile to organize an annual ice fishing derby that promotes local ice anglers.
The most common ice fish species in Lake Winnipesaukee include the lake trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, landlocked salmon, white perch, whitefish, rainbow trout, sunfish, and smallmouth bass.
A public boat ramp that takes people to public access points. One of these access points is a town nearby known as Meredith, and you can stop by to stock up on refreshments and lures.
2. Highland Lake
Passionate ice anglers love fishing in this lake because it’s easier to navigate. It only covers around 700 acres of land and is not that deep.
It provides a good ice fishing spot for anglers targeting largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. However, you can randomly catch pickerel, crappie, or perch.
You can access this lake using a boat lamp off Eldred in South West of New Hampshire.
3. Newfound Lake
The Newfound Lake is located near Wellington Park, and it’s a good ice fishing spot for anglers who target lake and rainbow trout.
You can go fishing solo or purchase tickets and participate in the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department’s annual ice-fishing tournament. There are many access points to Newfound Lake, but the most popular one is Wallington Park.
You can restock your supplies here or rent an ice fishing device to enhance your ice fishing experience.
4. Connecticut Lake
The first Connecticut Lake is located in the far northeastern part of Pittsburg. It covers approximately 2,800 acres of ice and is a good spot to do lake trout fishing.
The lake is popular among anglers who want to do ice fishing on a scenic, undeveloped shoreline. A river road on the southwestern side of the lake can be used to access Connecticut Lake.
Other lakes in New Hampshire ideal for ice fishing include Lake Sunapee, Lake Champlain, Ossipee Lake, Winnisquam Lake, and Massabesic Lake.
Fishing Equipment and Gear
Ice fishing involves fishing in freezing weather, and carrying the right fishing gear and equipment is advisable. Some items to carry include:
Ensure you pack warm socks, insulated waterproof boots, thermal trousers and shirts, a fleece coat, gloves, a winter hat, and a scarf.
Here is a list of equipment you should carry.
Always ensure you carry enough bait to help you retrieve fish from the cold water. It’s advisable to carry specific bait for the type of fish you want to catch. For example, sunfish and crappies feed on live bait such as maggots and mealworms.
Food and Snacks
Remember to carry enough snacks and clean drinking water. This will help you keep your energy up when fishing.
Other essential fishing gear to carry include:
- Ice auger
- A shanty
- Ice scoop
- Conventional fishing reel or rod
If you plan to engage in cusk fishing, ensure you carry a cusk fishing device with your name and address marked on it.
Regulations and Restrictions
You must always follow the regulations of the areas where you are fishing. Here are some things to observe when ice fishing in New Hampshire.
You need a license to do ice fishing in New Hampshire waters. The license is issued to anglers from the age of sixteen. However, you can keep checking their licensing website, as they randomly offer two free fishing days to anglers.
The traps you choose depend on the waters you’re planning to go ice fishing. Some lakes allow ice anglers to use only a single hook point, while others allow you to set up to six traps. For example, the Great East Lake offers anglers targeting to catch lake trout managed there to set up to two lines.
Tips and Techniques
You will catch plenty of fish when ice fishing in New Hampshire, especially using the right lures and baits. If you target trout, it’s advisable to use a baitfish as they’re more mobile than other species.
When you decide to do lake trout fishing, ensure you use a baitfish since they’re highly mobile. Use sensitive rods with light lines for the best ice fishing experience.
You can also use spring bobbers to feel and detect the soft bite of these hidden gems. When targeting crappies, combining a light jig head with a soft plastic lure will attract them fast. Maggot, wax worm, and minnow make the best live bait to catch crappies.
Ice fishing can be fun, especially when done correctly. Always carry different lures and baits, and drill several holes to increase the chances of catching more fish. Furthermore, carrying the right fishing gear and equipment like warm clothes, lures, enough snacks and water, and fishing rods is advisable.
Ensure you check the local restrictions and regulations to get licenses beforehand and set the right number of traps. Remember, ice fishing is quite risky, and it’s advisable to check the thickness of the ice and follow ice fishing safety guidelines to prevent accidents.