Although fishing has been considered a “consumptive” sport since the earliest days of fisheries management, New England’s bass anglers can give themselves a hearty pat on the back for their contribution to the management of black bass throughout the region. Once considered a mecca for trout anglers, the Northeast is now a premier destination for largemouth and smallmouth anglers, and no matter how many anglers participate, the fishing simply gets better.
Here’s what to expect for bass fishing in New Hampshire.
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One reason, of course, is that the majority of fishermen release nearly every bass they catch, tossing the smaller ones back to “grow up” and letting the big ones go after a quick photo session. When you use a resource but don’t abuse it, the results are predictable: Plenty of big bass to go around and more on the way.
With all this in mind, here’s a look at bass management strategies in New England and where avid bass anglers can find the best fishing in their state:
Granite State bass fishing is comparable to that of Maine and Vermont, with largemouths common in the southern region and smallmouths dominating the northern waters of the state.
Gabe Gries, fisheries biologist and Warmwater Program Project leader, said that a recent study on Lake Winnipesaukee included information on more than 200 tagged bass.
“Although most of the tagged fish have been recaptured only once, there are some bass that have been recaptured two and even three times since being tagged,” Gries noted. “Although the data will not be formally analyzed until winter, information gathered so far indicates that fish released after bass tournament weigh-ins move as little as a few hundred yards to as far as 12 miles from their release location. The average distance moved by bass after release is approximately 4 miles.”
The best largemouth bass fishing in New Hampshire occurs in the southern portion of the state. Winnipesaukee is the long-time leader in angler interest due to its location, ease of access and robust tourism history. Other bass-fishing hotspots in New Hampshire include Big and Little Squam, Waukewan, Wickwas, Pemigewasset, Crystal (Gilmanton), Hermit and Conway lakes, the Balch ponds and the Merrimack and Connecticut rivers and oxbows.
For more information on New Hampshire’s black bass fishing opportunities, log onto www.wildnh.com.
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