February 14, 2011
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Early season trout streams, deep summer hot spots, fall foliage river fishing and hardwater action through the auger holes -- New England has it all! Here's a roundup of some best-bet destinations to fish and enjoy during 2011.
Lake Trout - Big Diamond Pond, N.H.
Fishing for lake trout is open January 1 to March 1. Hardwater anglers are allowed two lines at Big Diamond, which is managed specifically for lake trout and has given up several trophy fish. Regulations vary by waterbody; check the current New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing Digest. The lake is just north of Coleman State Park in Stewartstown.
Northern Pike - Quaddick Reservoir, Conn.
This 408-acre lake within Quaddick State Park provides early action for hardwater anglers seeking monster fish. The minimum length for pike is 26 inches with a daily creel of two fish. The Nutmeg State has several water-specific regulations; check the current angler's guide before heading out. The entrance to the park, which offers access to the middle section of the lake, is located off Quaddick Town Farm Road in Thompson.
Landlocked Salmon - Kezar Lake, Maine
Above-average fish earning angler bragging rights are not uncommon at this 2,510-acre lake in Lovell. Regulations vary by waterbody; check the current rule book before heading out. Access can be had on the North Lovell end of the lake, and at the "Narrows."
Walleyes - Lake Champlain, Vt.
Walleyes can be found anywhere in the big lake, with the northern end in Swanton and Alburg being some of the more productive areas anglers should try. Safe ice doesn't always form on the deeper portions of Champlain; stick to coves, bays and other shoreline areas.
Brown Trout - Candlewood Lake, Conn.
Candlewood is stocked spring and fall with rainbow and brown trout. Last winter, fisheries biologists were getting many reports of fat trout in the 3- to 4-pound range being pulled up through the auger holes at the 5,064-acre lake. Access can be found off Forty Acre Road on the southern end of the lake or via Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield.
Yellow Perch - Webster Lake, Mass.
This 1,270-acre, two-story lake is a popular destination for jigging yellow perch up through the ice. Northern pike and tiger muskellunge have been stocked since 1981. Twenty-pound pike are taken annually. Access is off Lakeside Avenue in Webster.
Northern Pike - Jericho Lake, N.H.
This is one of the Granite State's more popular pike waters. There is no closed season on pike in New Hampshire. Anglers may keep three pike per day with a minimum length of 20 inches. Access to the 215-acre lake is off Route 110 in Berlin.
Rainbow Trout - Carbuncle Pond, R.I.
This 35-acre pond in Coventry is stocked just before frigid temperature set in. The daily creel limit is two trout; no minimum length requirement. Regulations vary by species and water; always check the current freshwater fishing regulations before heading out. Access is located off Route 14.
Largemouth Bass - Lake Fairlee, Vt.
This 457-acre lake in Thetford is open for ice fishing from the third Saturday in January to March 15. There's an aggregate creel limit of two fish total on largemouth and smallmouth bass, with a minimum length of 10 inches. Access is off Route 244.
APRILWhite Catfish- Chapman Pond, R.I.
White catfish have been introduced to several Ocean State waters to provide anglers with additional sport fishing options. There are no size or daily creel limits on the species. Access to the 164-acre pond in Westerly is situated off Route 91.
Rainbow Trout - Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
This 44,586-acre lake is managed for lake trout and salmon, so special regulations apply. Rainbow trout may be taken from April 1 to September 30 with a minimum length of 15 inches and an aggregate daily limit of two salmon or trout. There are multiple access areas, especially along routes 11, 11B and 109.
Landlocked Salmon - Lake Dunmore, Vt.
Dunmore is one of the region's premier coldwater fisheries, and a popular springtime destination for salmon anglers. The 985-acre lake in Salisbury is open for salmon fishing from the second Saturday in April through October 31, and again during ice fishing season. There's a concrete boat ramp located off West Shore Road. Check DeLorme's VAG, map 33.
Atlantic Cod - Hampton Harbor, N.H.
About nine miles offshore from Hampton is a favorite fishing spot known as "The Mudhole" that traditionally gives up big white-belly cod when groundfish move inshore each spring. The Hampton Harbor State Marina is open year-round and has a launch ramp and a place to buy supplies, ice and bait.
Brook Trout - Mountain View Pond, Maine
This remote water in T-A R11 is a favorite with locals who know it's worth the one-mile hike. Natural barriers along the outlet prevent other species from getting into the 13-acre pond. With no competition for forage, brookie growth rates are better than average.
Smallmouth Bass - Lake Lillinonah, Conn.
This 1,547-acre water is an impoundment of the Housatonic River. Lillinonah has abundant numbers of smaller bronzebacks, and a fair number of larger fish. Access is available on the western shore in Newtown, the northeastern shore in Bridgewater and via Waldo State Park on the eastern shore.
Largemouth Bass - Pleasant Pond, Maine
This 746-acre lake in Gardiner features perfect largemouth bass habitat and fast fishing. Mature males guarding nests mean plenty of quality-sized fish to catch. There's a boat launch at the southern end of the pond.
Carp - Connecticut River, Vt.
The stretch of the mighty Connecticut that flows though Brattleboro recently gave up a new state record carp weighing 42.46 pounds.
Atlantic Cod - Sandy Bay, Mass.
As water temperatures rise, cod can be fished from shore early in the morning or late evening into the night. Excellent shoreline access can be found all along the Bay State's rocky shore. Try fishing from the granite pier in Rockport.
Atlantic Mackerel - Portsmouth Harbor, N.H.
Mackerel are fun to catch and provide fast fishing that ca
n be vital if youngsters are along for the ride. Boat fishing is best, but New Hampshire's coastline provides good shoreline fishing, too. Explore Great Island Common in Newcastle for shoreline access.
Striped Bass - Connecticut River, Conn.
Schoolie stripers can be found in the lower river, with the best fishing near the mouth. A marine sport fishing license is required to fish downstream of the I-95 bridge in Old Lyme-Old Saybrook. Access can be had in Old Saybrook where there's a large boat ramp and floating dock under Baldwin Bridge off Ferry Road. More shore-fishing access can be had in Old Lyme at Ferry Landing State Park.
Walleyes - Chittenden Reservoir, Vt.
This 702-acre lake in Chittenden is stocked annually with thousands of walleye fry. Anglers may take walleyes here from June 1 to March 15, with a minimum length of 22 inches and a daily creel of two fish. There's a gravel boat launch at the end of Chittenden Dam Access Road.
Smallmouth Bass - Peter's Pond, Mass.
This 127-acre pond in Sandwich is known for its robust bronzeback numbers and reliable summer yields. Access is off John Ewer Road.
Bluefish - Thames River, Conn.
Big blues wait in deeper waters offshore, then make tidal runs up the river. Fishing for bluefish in Connecticut is open year round with no length restrictions and a daily creel of 10 fish. A marine sport fishing license is now required to fish downstream from 500 feet north of the Route 1/I-95 bridges spanning from New London to Groton.
Northern Pike - Pushaw Lake, Maine
Pike were illegally introduced into Pushaw several years ago, giving them plenty of time to grow large and feisty. There are several access points around this Glenburn lake.
Stripers - St. Croix River, Maine
Stripers begin moving into this chilly tidal river by early August. There is good access at the steamboat landing in Calais and a state-owned boat launch in Robbinston.
Brook Trout - Willoughby River, Vt.
The Willoughby is a popular Northeast Kingdom trout stream. There's no length limit on squaretails; rainbow and brown trout must be 10 inches or longer. Regulations vary depending on which stretch of the river is being fished. Refer to the current Vermont Fish and Wildlife Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping before heading out. There are multiple access sites located along the river.
Smallmouth Bass - Sebec Lake, Maine
This 6,803-acre lake is known for giving up big smallmouth bass. Sebec Lake anglers can keep three bass, with a minimum length of 10 inches. Only one of those fish may exceed 15 inches in length. Public access is at Greeley's Landing, which is on Route 153 in Dover-Foxcroft, and via Peaks-Kenny State Park, which is open until September 30.
Smallmouth Bass - Stafford Pond, R.I.
This 476-acre lake in Tiverton offers fast fishing for smaller fish, with an occasional large smallmouth bass being taken. State-owned access is off Route 81.
Brown Trout - Onota Lake, Mass.
MassWildlife stocks thousands of trout into this 617-acre pond in Pittsfield. The pond has become so well-known for big holdover browns that it has been designated as a special brown trout water with a daily creel of one fish, and a 15-inch minimum length. Access is off Lakeway Drive.
Brook Trout - Tewksbury Pond, N.H.
This 46-acre pond in Grafton remains open year-round for trout fishing, and gives up some trophy-sized brookies. There's a boat launch and shoreline fishing access at the southeast end of the pond off Route 4.
Brown Trout - Farmington River, Conn.
The West Branch Farmington River offers great late fall trout action for anglers willing to brave the weather. The hours between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. are the most productive this late in the season. For multiple access sites along the river, check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, map 43.
Winter Flounder - Lynn Harbor, Mass.
Winter flounder may be fished anywhere north of Cape Cod from November 1 to August 31. Seasons vary south and east of the Cape. Check current Massachusetts marine fishing regulations. Good shoreline access can be found in Lynn, where the Department of Conservation and Recreation has fishing piers located off Route 1A and at the Seaport Landing Marina
Northern Pike - Stump Pond, R.I.
Northern pike have been stocked into Stump, also known as the Woonasquatucket Reservoir, in years past. That means the toothy critters have had plenty of time to grow into hard-fighting angler adversaries. The 304-acre pond can be accessed off Routes 5 and 116.
Tautog - Narragansett Bay, R.I.
This is the last month to catch tautog until spring, since the season closes December 15. Anglers willing to brave the cold get a reward, as the daily creel from October 15 to close of season is eight fish, rather than the three fish allowed earlier in the year. The minimum length is 16 inches. Conimicut Point Park in Warwick offers angler access for shore fishing.
Chain Pickerel - Agawam River, Mass.
The Agawam flows through Wareham, and is known as one of the Bay State's best bets for plentiful pickerel. The daily creel is five fish, with a minimum length of 15 inches.
Brown Trout - Mousam River, Maine
The Mousam flows through Sanford southward to the Atlantic Ocean, and is open to anglers year-round. Maine's General Law applies most of the year regarding fish size, creel limit and allowable gear, but from the dam upstream of Route 1 down to the tidewater the minimum length on trout is 14 inches.