CONCORD, NH — Fishing in New Hampshire’s designated trout ponds and fly-fishing-only ponds opens on the fourth Saturday in April — this year’s opening day is April 22. Fishing is allowed through October 15 (a few ponds managed under wild trout regulations are open only through Labor Day). These waters are managed specifically for trout and offer anglers the chance to experience exciting fishing in some of the Granite State’s most scenic surroundings.
“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 Dianne Timmins. “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) to 2-year olds (12-15 inches), with weights up to 1-1.5 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,” Timmins said. “Whether your passion is a multi-colored brook trout, a leaping rainbow or the determined fight of a brown, there’s a trout pond within reasonable driving distance for most New Hampshire anglers.”
Clough Pond in Loudon, French Pond in Henniker, Lucas Pond in Northwood, Mount William Pond in Weare, Dublin Lake in Dublin, and Barbadoes Pond in Madbury are a few of the generously stocked early season hotspots where opening day trout are often 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.
Many popular ponds are found 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, and Little Diamond Pond in Stewartstown.
Anglers looking for a true wilderness experience will enjoy visiting one of the nearly 50 remote trout ponds that Fish and Game annually stocks with fingerling brook trout via helicopter. These are listed at www.fishnh.com/fishing/trout-aerial.html. 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 inches) can be caught in select backcountry waters.
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 well stocked for the opener. 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 Freshwater Fishing 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 New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing Digest, available online at www.fishnh.com/fishing/publications.html or from any Fish and Game agent where you buy your license.