Conditions: sun & clouds, breezy, 70s
Equipment: ultralight spinning rod, kayak
Baits: Mepps spinner
My wife and I took an exploratory trip on the Merrimack in Concord to paddle the oxbow backwater by NHTI in Concord. This is a splendid stretch of river and it looks plenty “fishy” with lazy backwaters and a connected oxbow that can be easily circumnavigated. We left the main stem of the river and worked our way out through a channel laced with bright white waterlilies and bordered with overhanging maples and oaks. An osprey greeted us almost like a gatekeeper, perching on a single dead spire, busily wheeling overhead and away once we’d entered the backwater. A cormorant paddled ahead of us as we worked our way further along.
Though the visit was short, I had time to find largemouth bass hanging around the pads, sunfish all in between and around blowdowns and weeds. Fishermen we met on the river mentioned they’d found a bunch of smallmouth bass as well. The launch at NHTI, by the ball fields, is excellent. The City of Concord even supplies kid-sized life preservers at the ramp, as loaners, just in case you find yourself in need of an extra. If you launch a motorized craft here keep in mind there are some shallow areas, especially on the north end of the oxbow, where we found water only a few inches deep.