New Hampshire Ice Fishing

New Hampshire Ice Fishing

General Rules

Ice fishing in most New Hampshire lakes and ponds begins at “ice-in” and ends at “ice-out.” Depending on the weather and ice safety, this “season” can be from late December through mid-April. These types of waters support mostly warmwater fish populations, including perch, pickerel, black crappie and bass, with a few waters providing opportunities to catch brook, rainbow or brown trout through the ice. For specific bag limits for certain species, see Lakes & Ponds: General Rules Waters managed for lake trout and/or salmon have a defined season of January 1 through March 31. Remember—salmon may not be taken through the ice. Designated trout ponds are closed to ice fishing.

On most New Hampshire waters, the general rule is 6 ice fishing devices (lines) per person when ice fishing, with the following exceptions:

  • Ice anglers are limited to 5 lines while ice fishing on N.H.-Maine border waters, except Great East Lake, which has a 2-line limit.
  • Only 2 ice fishing devices (lines) per angler are allowed when fishing the designated lake trout and salmon lakes listed below (see exceptions under Cusk Fishing):

Note on Interstate Waters: See Interstate Waters for additional rules for ice fishing on interstate waters.

Hooks used for bait while ice fishing must have only a single hook with a single hook point per ice fishing device.

Bob houses must be removed from public waters, public property or private property no later than April 1. The owner’s name and address shall be plainly marked on the bob house and shall have 12 square inches of reflective material half-way up on the outside of each side.

Cusk Fishing

Freshwater cusk (burbot) may be taken through the ice with a cusk fishing device (see Definitions) marked with the name and address of the user. In addition to the normal number of lines allowed (see line limits above), up to 6 cusk fishing lines may also be used. Any species other than cusk caught on a cusk line must be released immediately by cutting the line without removing the fish from the water.

The sinker of the cusk fishing device must rest on the bottom of the waterbody. Through the ice, cusk fishing devices will be permitted to be set and left unattended, except once during each 24-hour period, the bait end of the line must be inspected. “Bobbing,” “jigging,” or movement of the bait to attract fish is prohibited.

The use of cusk fishing devices is restricted to the following waters: First Connecticut Lake (Pittsburg), Second Connecticut Lake (Pittsburg), Third Connecticut Lake (Pittsburg), Lake Francis (Pittsburg), Lovell Lake (Wakefield), Merrymeeting Lake (New Durham), Newfound Lake (Bristol, Alexandria, Bridgewater, Hebron), Ossipee Lake (Freedom/Ossipee), Silver Lake (Madison), Big Squam Lake (Holderness, Center Harbor, Sandwich, Moultonboro), Little Squam Lake (Holderness, Ashland), South Pond (Stark), Sunapee Lake (Newbury, New London, Sunapee), Waukewan Lake (Meredith), Wentworth Lake (Wolfboro), Lake Winnipesaukee (Alton, Center Harbor, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, Moultonboro, Tuftonboro, Wolfeboro), and Winnisquam Lake (Belmont, Sanbornton, Laconia, Tilton, Meredith).

WaterbodyManaged for Lake TroutManaged for Landlocked Salmon*
Connecticut Lake, FirstYesYes
Connecticut Lake, SecondYesYes
Connecticut Lake, ThirdYesNo
Conway LakeNoYes
Dan Hole Pond, BigYesYes
Diamond Pond, BigYesNo
Francis LakeYesYes
Granite LakeYesNo
Great East LakeYesNo
Greenough Pond, BigYesNo
Merrymeeting LakeYesYes
Newfound LakeYesYes
Nubanusit LakeYesYes
Ossipee LakeNoYes
Silver Lake (Harrisville)YesNo
Silver Lake (Madison)YesNo
Squam Lake, BigYesYes
Squam Lake, LittleYesYes
Sunapee LakeYesYes
Winnipesaukee LakeYesYes
Winnisquam LakeYesYes
*Note: salmon may not be taken while ice fishing

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