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Old 03-12-2016, 04:35 PM   #1
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Default Open Water Fishing

I have what is probably one of those "dumb questions", but I'll ask it anyway.

I've been fishing Winnipesaukee since the mid-1960s, but have never been clear on one point.

The F&G's 2016 Fishing Digest indicates that from January 1 to March 31, "Fish may be taken by ice fishing only".

What I am unclear about is if that restriction applies only to certain species such as lake trout, or to all species.

For example, if I fish for bass, perch, blue gill, etc. in open water before April 1, is that illegal?

Thanks for indulging my "dumb question"!
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:25 PM   #2
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Default From Fish and Game website

here is a link to the fishing seasons:

http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/seasons.html

Note the All other Species near the bottom. Particular attention to bullet 3 Italicized and underlined. In lake trout and or salmon waters, 1-1 to 1-31 is ice fishing only, not open water.

All Other Species
  • Rivers & Streams: January 1 - October 15
  • Trout Ponds: 4th Saturday in April - October 15
  • Lake Trout and/or Salmon waters: No closed season (Fish can be taken by ice fishing only January 1 – March 31)
  • All Other Waters: No closed season
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:26 PM   #3
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Unthesaukee beat me to the punch and is way more informed, edited to reflect, go by what he said ☺️

Last edited by birchhaven; 03-12-2016 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:56 PM   #4
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So if I'm reading this right, you can't fish from a boat or the shore on Winnipesaukee until April 1st.
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:00 PM   #5
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Default

I can tell you some of my best days of bass fishing have been just after ice out, on swampy shallow coves, after a few days of sunshine.

All the feed seems to move from the deeper, colder waters to the shallows.

The bass follow them in.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:09 PM   #6
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Default Correct...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjard View Post
So if I'm reading this right, you can't fish from a boat or the shore on Winnipesaukee until April 1st.
As I read it, you are correct. You can not fish any open water on Winnipesaukee from Jan 1 to Mar 31. On April 1, try to find a place to park!

Back to serious for a moment. There are also areas that flow into, or perhaps out of Winnipesaukee, that also can not be fished until April 1. I believe that the Merrymeeting river is part of that restriction as well.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:18 PM   #7
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Thanks to everyone for the information. Looks like even though we have lots of open water in front of our place now, I have to wait until 4/1 to cast that bass lure!
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:02 AM   #8
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I am seeing quite a few bass boats out there! How does F&G enforce this law is they are not out there?
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:53 PM   #9
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Bass fishing open water is legal now. You need to read the regs in further context. If read fully they read that in the lake trout lakes for species other than trout/salmon the general rules apply, which state bass fishing is legal.... 2 fish limit Jan 1 - Mar 31.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:14 PM   #10
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Default Don't think so...

Quote:
Originally Posted by donmac View Post
Bass fishing open water is legal now. You need to read the regs in further context. If read fully they read that in the lake trout lakes for species other than trout/salmon the general rules apply, which state bass fishing is legal.... 2 fish limit Jan 1 - Mar 31.
All Other Species
  • Rivers & Streams: January 1 - October 15
  • Trout Ponds: 4th Saturday in April - October 15
  • Lake Trout and/or Salmon waters: No closed season (Fish can be taken by ice fishing only January 1 – March 31)
  • All Other Waters: No closed season
this information is from the Fish and Game website. In other media sites, several of my friends are going nuts because they have open water in Winnipesaukee, but have to wait until April 1 to "toss a bass plug".

JMHO... yours may vary.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:59 PM   #11
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I stand corrected. It's been many years since I have been up in NH at ice out prior to March 31 and ready to bass fish, so I could not recall myself. When I read (apparently not closely enough) the section below I did not catch (no pun intended) that the forward to the general rules was just for length/bag limits. Thanks

Lake Trout and/or Salmon Lakes
Several waterbodies are managed for lake
trout and/or landlocked salmon, and are open
year-round subject to restrictions listed below.
For information on bag and length limits for
species other than trout and salmon in this
waterbody, see Lakes & Ponds: General Rules
on the next page.
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:53 PM   #12
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Default

Thanks for your continued input, guys. Seems I may not have been alone in my uncertainty about this point. Maybe F&G could make it clearer that the spring season ban on open water fishing on Winnipesaukee until April 1 applies to all fish species.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:17 AM   #13
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Exclamation The Official Answer

I contacted NH Fish & Game with my original question concerning open water fishing on Winnipesaukee between January 1 and March 31, and this morning received the following answer from Tom Dakai:

"
Thanks for the question. On Lake Winnipesaukee, from Jan.1 to March 31, all species may be taken by ice fishing only. This includes species such as perch, sunfish and bass. You may take fish by ice fishing only from Jan. 1 to March 31, regardless of species."

Thanks go to Tom for this clarification.
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Old 03-15-2016, 02:51 PM   #14
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Default Define Ice-fishing

If I were to fill a funnel cake pan with water in it, and freeze it. Then secure a tip-up on it, and float it off shore on a string. Is that ice-fishing? I am dropping a line through a hole in the ice that I made.
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Old 03-15-2016, 03:48 PM   #15
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineedles View Post
If I were to fill a funnel cake pan with water in it, and freeze it. Then secure a tip-up on it, and float it off shore on a string. Is that ice-fishing? I am dropping a line through a hole in the ice that I made.
Well that might be an interesting discussion explaining that to the judge
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Old 03-15-2016, 04:07 PM   #16
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Default Telling it to the judge

I think I got an answer for that judge.

NH defines it as the following:

Ice fishing: Taking freshwater fish during the open season through man-made openings in the ice by the use of ice fishing devices.

Ice fishing device: Any device used to take fish through the ice, including a tip-up, jig stick, rod in hand or handline, exclusive of a
cusk fishing device.

They also set the time Ice-fishing is allowed.

Ice fishing in most New Hampshire lakes and ponds begins at “ice-in” and ends at “ice-out.”

And since ICE-OUT has not yet been OFFICIALLY declared, fish on!
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Old 03-15-2016, 04:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineedles View Post
I think I got an answer for that judge.

NH defines it as the following:

Ice fishing: Taking freshwater fish during the open season through man-made openings in the ice by the use of ice fishing devices.

Ice fishing device: Any device used to take fish through the ice, including a tip-up, jig stick, rod in hand or handline, exclusive of a
cusk fishing device.

They also set the time Ice-fishing is allowed.

Ice fishing in most New Hampshire lakes and ponds begins at “ice-in” and ends at “ice-out.”

And since ICE-OUT has not yet been OFFICIALLY declared, fish on!
Hey Pineedles, you should have chosen the legal profession!
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Old 03-15-2016, 07:14 PM   #18
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Default Question

So would the several people fly fishing on the south side of the main st bridge in Alton (river side) be fishing legally?
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodguy53 View Post
So would the several people fly fishing on the south side of the main st bridge in Alton (river side) be fishing legally?
Afraid not. As per another definition from NH law:

Man-made opening: A hole in the ice made by an ice cutting tool, including but not limited to augers, chisels, and saws. Man-made openings shall not include areas that remain ice-free due to current and movement created by dock aerators and similar devices.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineedles View Post
Afraid not. As per another definition from NH law:

Man-made opening: A hole in the ice made by an ice cutting tool, including but not limited to augers, chisels, and saws. Man-made openings shall not include areas that remain ice-free due to current and movement created by dock aerators and similar devices.
So the spot where they are fly fishing is not a man made opening, got it.

Am I correct that one must fish through the ice this time of year?

They are not fishing through the ice.

Could there be a line of demarcation at the bridge and the river side has different rules?
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:25 AM   #21
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I think upthesaukee in post 10 answered that question. But yes, where does the river begin and the lake end?
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Old 03-16-2016, 04:17 PM   #22
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Default Maine opens two weeks early

The Maine Fish and game people moved their opening day up to tomorrow for open water fishing. Ya think NHF&G could do the same??
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