One of my favorite things to do is to search for trout outside of the regular season. First of all, it allows for a lot of quietude – you just won’t find anyone on the water this time of year. Aside from a fishing partner, your only company will likely be a forlorn heron, stalking the shallows or the hello-I-must-be-going migratory waterfowl that zip past. Waterfront homes are shuttered and quiet, save for maybe one still emanating that cozy, pungent smell of a woodstove at work. November’s increasingly fleeting light borders long shadows with a yellow-orange color that looks like it should be warm, but is usually only kidding. If you dress for the chill of the month, there’s much to be enjoyed. And… there are still fish that can be caught. Here’s November, in reverse order, all on year ’round trout waters:
11/23/13: Pout Pond, Belmont
Conditions: sun and clouds, windy, 35
Equipment: spinning rod, 4# test line, bait setup
This trip required extra bundling. It was a windy cold day. I selected Pout Pond figuring it’s small size would make it more sheltered. I also figured this would be a shorebank trip – I could pack light and bail if it got too cold. This is another one of the waters designated by Fish & Game to be open year ’round for trout. Pout Pond is the public water supply for Belmont – so no swimming or other contact with the water here. It’s located just south of Belmont village, on Shaker Road. There’s a public works entrance – don’t go there – look for a gravel horseshoe drive a hundred yards north on the same side. You can park there. The access trail is at the back. The pond is a couple hundred yards walk in. with no development on the shoreline, it’s a wilderness experience with a broad sandy shore on one side and plenty of shorebank access. There are times I wax poetic about why I fish. It is about more than just catching, but there are times I focus on the experience and times i focus on the pursuit. Yes – this time it was about catching. I used bait. It took some finesse once the fish starting selectively rising to a brief evening hatch, but I made it work. Found some little rainbow trout. Made a fine meal of them later that evening.
11/21/13: Lake Opechee, Laconia
Conditions: sun and clouds, 40, calm
Equipment: flyrod with sinking line for casting streamers
Baits: barred pattern streamer w red flash
This was a break-time visit, more about briefly inspecting the water than making an outing of it. Flow of out Winnipesaukee was slow. I swung a streamer a few times just around the inflow and witnessed some rises further down along the shoreline. Tip: if you want to get an idea of the waterflow rate and temp, call the recorded Winnipesaukee Data Line before going. I check the service regularly to get a perspective of conditions in the Lakes Region: 603 527-0071. Map: Lake Opechee
11/5/13: Highland Lake, Andover (early AM/afternoon); Merrimack River, Franklin (late afternoon)
Conditions: clear, calm with afternoon breeze, 40s
Equipment: flyrod w sinking line/50′ leader for trolling; downrigger rod
Baits: wet flies – streamers, Top Guns, Guide Specials
Took a day off with a friend to do late fall trolling for trout. We began on Highland Lake, which can sometimes be a decent spot for trout – often better with cloud cover which we did not have the benefit of. One decent rainbow hit a bright Top Gun soon – other than that, just a few strikes made for a quiet but pretty day out.
We decided to try a stretch of the Merrimack in Franklin, as it was on the way home: the area just above the Eastman Falls Dam (map) and below the Army Corp of Engineers dam. It’s about a mile long stretch that doesn’t get much attention. It is very “off and on”, but at times, is an active multi-species stretch of water. The setting was “off” during our visit, but we were out of the building wind, got into some fairly hilarious conversation (another bonus of fishing trips) and had a good time in spite of it all.
Here are the waters open for trout all year long, from NH Fish & Game. Check the regs to see of there are also specific rules for the place you’re visiting.
Lakes & Ponds
Rivers & Streams