Fishing in New Hampshire’s designated trout ponds and fly-fishing-only ponds opens this year on April 28, 2012 (the fourth Saturday in April), offering anglers the chance to experience exciting fishing in some of the Granite State’s most scenic surroundings. These ponds are managed specifically for trout, and fishing is allowed through October 15.
“These trout ponds are often the best waters in a given area for a variety of reasons,” said New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Fisheries Biologist Don Miller. “Excellent habitat, low species competition and the fact that these ponds are closed to ice-fishing allow these waters to be managed for the trout fishing enthusiast.” Ponds managed for trout may be stocked with one or more species, including brook, rainbow and/or brown trout, with age classes ranging from “yearlings” (8-12 inches), 2-year olds (12-15 inches), and 3+ year olds (measured in pounds!).
“Trout are prized by anglers because they can be a challenge to catch, and fishing for them is one of the traditional rites of spring,” Miller said. “Whether your passion is a multi-colored brook trout, a leaping rainbow or the determined fight of a brown, there’s a New Hampshire trout pond within reasonable driving distance for you.”
Hot Hole Pond and Clough Pond in Loudon, French Pond in Henniker, Mount William Pond in Weare, Dublin Lake in Dublin, Lucas Pond (tiger trout) in Northwood, and Barbadoes Pond in Madbury are a few of the generously stocked early season hotspots where opening day trout are taken. It gets no better than this for taking the youngsters along with a simple garden hackle under a bobber, or floating PowerBait fished just off the bottom.
Due to the mild winter we have experienced, this year may find some of our northern ponds ice-free. There are many popular ponds located from the Lakes Region north to Pittsburg. They include Echo Lake in Franconia, Russell Pond in Woodstock, Conner Pond and Duncan Lake in Ossipee, White Lake in Tamworth, Perch Pond in Campton, Saltmarsh Pond in Gilford, Spectacle Pond in Groton, Back Lake in Pittsburg, Fish Pond in Columbia and Little Diamond Pond in Stewartstown.
For those looking for a true wilderness experience, check out one of the approximately 50 remote trout ponds Fish and Game annually stocks with fingerling brook trout via helicopter (listed athttp://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/trout_remote.htm). Flat Mountain Pond in Sandwich, Cole Pond in Enfield (fly fishing only), Butterfield Pond in Wilmot, Peaked Hill Pond in Thornton, Black Pond and Lonesome Lake in Lincoln are just a sampling of these delightful ponds, where fingerling brook trout often grow to 8-10 inches by their second growing season, and it’s not unusual to pull in brookies 15 inches or longer. Trophy, remote-pond brook trout three or more years old, some in excess of 17-18 inches, are available to the anglers who wish to fish in the “backcountry.”
Archery Pond in Allenstown (with a wheelchair-accessible casting platform) and Stonehouse Pond in Barrington are two popular fly-fishing-only ponds that will be ice-free and well stocked for the opener. If you travel over to Antrim and fish Willard Pond (produced the state record tiger trout caught in 2011), you will be treated to forested, undeveloped shorelines and the “triple treat” of fly-fishing: brook, rainbow and tiger trout.
Further north, some excellent fly-fishing-only ponds include Upper Hall Pond in Sandwich, Sky Pond in New Hampton and Profile Lake in Franconia (check the fish digest for special regulations) on these waters. In addition, White Pond in Ossipee and Coon Brook Bog in Pittsburg offer excellent opportunities to “match the hatch” throughout spring and early summer.
For a list of trout ponds and fly-fishing-only ponds in New Hampshire, as well as a description of special rules that apply to certain ponds, consult the 2012 New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing Digest, available online at http://www.fishnh.com/pubs/fishing.html or from any Fish and Game license agent when you buy your license.