Fishing & Ice Fishing

Lake Winnipesaukee Ice FihingFor thousands of years, Native American communities depended on the lake’s plentiful supply of freshwater fish. Ancient fishermen built fishing weirs to trap the shad that emerged from the sea.

Today visitors can tap into this ancient tradition by fishing at Weir Beach near the Summer resort town of Laconia. Aquadoctan was the name Native American fishermen gave to the location. To ensure a generous catch, they would set “weirs,” handmade nets that were arranged in strategic locations to trap a school of spawning shad before they hurried back to the Merrimac River and then out to sea.

Fishing for Lake Fish

Lake Winnipesaukee hosts numerous public boat launches from Alton to Wolfeboro. The warm months of the year are ideal for fishing. The water is clear and anglers seeking both small and bigmouth bass love to fish here from May to September.

In the Summer, fish will try to eat anything that moves! In fact, fish are always on the move in the summertime, either swimming away from predators or trying to find a bite to eat. While commercial fishermen favor trolling as an effective method to catch an abundant quantity of edible freshwater delicacies, the single angler can have as much fun with a simple rod and a bucket (as well as sufficient rubber boots to tread the shallow shore of the grassy lake’s depths).


New Hampshire’s ice fishermen take pride in what has become the state’s most cherished Winter fishery activity.

Traditionally ice fishermen ply their trade from small shacks called “Bob houses.” The structures are built on top of the surface of the ice and the fisherman who work the Winter months know the timetables for the feeding habits of each species of fish. It is harder to catch fish in the Wintertime than during the Spring and Summer months, but the patience of the ice fishermen is worth it in the end.

In February, the Meredith Rotary Club hosts an ice fishing derby. Be sure to wear warm clothes in layers, and be sure to test the ice before you venture out to fish. The Lake is usually frozen during the middle of the Winter in New Hampshire, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The Lake is an Anglers’ Haven

The lake is an angler’s dream come true. Depending on the season, the lake is filled with salmon and trout, smelt, whitefish, chain pickerel, yellow perch, horned pout, and both large and smallmouth bass, among others. If you love the quiet of a laid-back fishing village, or love trading “big fish stories,” the Lake is a perfect haven for you.

Photo credit: “Ice Fishing” by billybrown00 is licensed under CC BY 2.0