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March 9, 2017

Maine: At Dag’s Bait and Tackle in Auburn the talk was on the improved ice conditions. The recent warm spell had melted the snow and slush, and the weekend cold snap had frozen what little slush was left. Traveling, especially on foot, is now much easier. Without giving up anyone’s hot spot, they did mention that small white tube jigs were on fire for lake trout. They are also well stocked with large shiners for northern pike, hint hint. March is a great time for trophy pike through the ice as big females moving in shallow begin scouting out their spawning grounds and feed more often, often followed by a pod of males.
    Dave at Naples Bait and Tackle reported the same about the ice in their area. The slush is finally gone and traveling is much easier. The pickerel bite at Songo Pond in Bethel was very good over the weekend, with some very fat pickerel caught in 9’-14’ of water on medium shiners. Dave emphasized how much fun it was to chase flags all day for trophy pickerel. For fly anglers chomping at the bit, Dave mentioned that the stretch between Long Lake and Brandy Pond was open. “While rivers are still closed to fishing, that stretch isn’t classified as a river and some nice salmon and brown trout can be taken with flies on a sinking fly line,” he reported.

New Hampshire: Jason at Suds N’ Soda Sports in Greenland reports that ice fishing season is all but over for them. “The only ice fishing items left out in the store now is our final Vexilar raffle of the season,” he reported. The good news for spring anglers is that there will probably be an early open water season. While trout ponds don’t open until the fourth Saturday in April, the ice anglers didn’t catch all the trout from ponds with no closed season. Jason informed us that they just put their flies back out and reminded us that parts of the Isinglass, Cocheco, and Lamprey River were stocked this winter by the Three Rivers Stocking Association, and open to catch-and-release fly fishing until the fourth Saturday in April.
    In Meredith, Alan at A.J.’s Bait and Tackle was optimistic about another week of ice fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee, after a warm spell caused most anglers to pull their bob houses. Luckily the weekend cold snap locked many access sites and opened holes back up. He reported that Hali jigs have been bringing decent catches of jack smelt in 2’ of water and white perch in 20’-30’ in Center Harbor, and buck tails tipped with sucker meat have been good for lake trout in 30’ of water. He says anglers are reporting good ice and good fishing in Center Harbor, Leavitt Park Beach, States Landing, and Nineteen Mile Bay.
Al at Treats and Treasures General Store and Gift Shop in Pittsburg was happy to put the 2017 ice fishing slush fest behind him. “Lake Francis and First Connecticut Lake have 15”-18” of good ice and what slush remained prior to the weekend cold snap has frozen solid,” he told us. Al reported that good catches of lake trout and cusk have been coming on a variety of bait including smelt, shiners, and tip up suckers. The biggest lake trout he knew of this winter was a whopping 10 pounder that measured 31” long caught in First Connecticut Lake back in January.
    Full-time Lake Winnipesaukee ice fishing guide Tim from Tim Moore Outdoors could hardly contain himself when talking about the improved ice conditions. “A week ago I was expecting to limp through the weekend and then have to call it quits for the season, but it looks like we will get at least one more weekend of guiding,” he reported. Conditions on Lake Winnipesaukee vary widely, but Tim told us he was seeing 14”-18” in Moultonborough Bay from Tuftonboro to Moultonborough. He advised caution as most of the pressure ridges had opened up due to widely swinging temperatures and wind. For hot lures, Tim suggested smaller is better for him lately. Many of our kept fish are full of insects and smelt. Lakers and white perch are capitalizing on all the insect larva hatching from the mud right now. Tim reported that while he is most well-known as a jig fisherman, live smelt on tip ups have also been putting many of his clients’ fish on the ice. Whether jigging or tip up fishing, Tim says 32’ of water has been his target depth lately.

Because of inherent time restrictions of gathering fresh, up-to-date information, editing and producing this report in a timely manner, occasional errors or marginal information may slip by us. We try our hardest to provide accurate information. We urge readers to use this report as a tool to increase their fishing pleasure and not to rely on as their sole resource. First or second hand information is offered by fishing guides, commercial fishing charters or party boats, bait and tackle dealers, well-known successful anglers and state and federal fisheries and natural resources enforcement officials. We also welcome and use reports forwarded to us by fishermen that use this report. - Kittery Trading Post Fishing Report Editor, Tim Moore

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