Catching Walleye through the Seasons
By Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist, Region 4/Keene

This year I am going to try to become a better walleye fisherman.  I started slowly last year, buying a few walleye crankbaits and putting some time in on the Connecticut River when I could.  I caught a few walleye over the summer (and tons of smallmouth bass), but I want to get to the point where I can consistently catch walleye spring, summer and fall.  I spent a good part of this winter researching different walleye techniques, buying what tackle I could, and talking to walleye anglers.  Walleye can be a fickle fish and combining that fact with the ever-changing Connecticut River presents a puzzle that could take a lifetime to figure out.  Above all, I will remain patient.

My plan is to start shore fishing just below the major dams in the spring as early as river flows allow.  I will use mainly live bait (crawlers and shiners) in combination with a number of different jigs.  Standup jigs tipped with a shiner or a 3-inch grub always produce well, as do many of your typical bass lures (crankbaits, shad-raps, rattle traps, etc.).  I will make sure to check the river flows and try to fish during moderate spring flows.  As fish start to show up below the dams, I’ll also start to concentrate on the mouths of rivers and streams that flow into the Connecticut River.  Walleye will often gather in these areas both during the pre-spawn and the spawn period. 

After walleye spawn, they can be difficult to find for up to several weeks, but this is also a time when you can catch some of the largest fish of the year.  I will concentrate on areas that are 10-20 feet deep and adjacent to deeper water.  I think at this time I will again concentrate on using jigs tipped with live bait.  Above all, I will remain patient.

From early summer to early fall, I plan to pursue walleye using my boat.  I’ll start by trolling crankbaits such as Reef Runners and Shad-Raps and also using crawler harness combined with bottom bouncers to keep the night crawler near the bottom.  Because walleye feed most efficiently at low light levels, I will try to fish on overcast days and at dusk and dawn.  I will troll upstream, alternating among water depths until I find fish.  I will troll as slowly as possible for the most part, but will also increase my speed at times and let the fish tell me what speed they want the lures/bait trolled at. 

I’ll also alternate lures, lure colors and sizes, and bead color, blade size and color on my crawler harness until I find the ones the fish want on that particular day.  If there is a good wind, I will drift jigs and live bait.  I will focus on river mouths, dropoffs, bridge pilings and rock faces.  I will start fishing with smaller lures and then work my way up to larger size lures as the summer progresses, in order to mimic the size of baitfish in the river as they grow.  I want to try using a “side planer board” this year, which will allow me to get my bait/lure away from my boat as I troll, so that the motor does not spook the walleye.  When we get rain and the river comes up, I will use jigs tipped with 3-4 -inch plastic grubs and worms to cast to shallow water that contains structure such as weeds or downed trees. 

Although I will still troll during fall, once the water temperature drops below 55 degrees F, I will mainly concentrate on vertically jigging Thumper and Whistler jigs tipped with plastic baits in deep holes and dropoffs.  When trolling, I will move as slowly as possible and use my largest lures.  I will try to fish until at least Thanksgiving and beyond if the weather permits.  Above all, I will remain patient.

Some suggested water bodies for other notable game fish species found in Southwestern New Hampshire are as follows:

Trout in Streams:
Contoocook River from Hillsboro to Peterborough, Cold River (Alstead, Walpole), Connecticut River (Walpole), Granite Brook (Sullivan, Nelson), Mill Brook (Westmoreland), Nubanusit River (Harrisville), Otter Brook (Keene, Roxbury, Sullivan), Partridge Brook (Westmoreland), Roaring Brook (Richmond, Swanzey, Winchester), Beards Brook (Hillsboro), Blood Brook (Wilton), Nissitissit River (Brookline, Hollis), Piscataquog River (Weare, Deering, Francestown, Goffstown), Souhegan River (Amherst, Greenville, Lyndeborough, Merrimack, Milford, New Ipswich), and Stoney Brook (Wilton, Lyndeborough, Brookline). 

Trout in Lakes and Ponds:
Chapman pond (Sullivan), Forest Lake (Winchester), Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), Emerald Pond (Hillsborough), Coldspring Pond (Stoddard), Firehouse Pond (Bow), Mont Williams Pond (Weare), Gustin Pond (Marlow), Kidder’s Pond (Alstead), Laurel Lake (Fitzwilliam), Newell Pond (Alstead), Warren Lake (Alstead), Deering Reservoir (Deering), Gould Pond (Hillsborough), Horace Lake (Weare), Putnam Lake (Lyndeborough), and Island Pond (Washington).  Larger water bodies that contain lake trout and some big rainbow trout are Nubanusit Lake (Hancock), Silver Lake (Harrisville), and Granite Lake (Nelson).  Lake trout can also be found in Spoonwood Lake (Nelson), a gorgeous remote trout pond located off of Nubanusit Lake and accessed via a short portage.  Dublin Lake (Dublin) consistently produces large (3+ lbs) brook trout each year and Spofford Lake (Chesterfield) is a hot spot for rainbow trout. 

Stumpfield Marsh (Hopkinton), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Lake Monomonac (Rindge), Highland Lake (Stoddard), Contoocook Lake (Rindge), and the old standby Connecticut River (you haven’t really had a smallmouth bass fight until you have landed one from the Ct. River).  Other water bodies to try include: Otter Lake (Greenfield), Baboosic Lake (Amherst), Haunted Lake (Francestown), Pearly Lake (Rindge), Warren Lake (Alstead), Laurel Lake (Fitzwilliam), Stone Pond (Marlborough), and Gregg Lake (Antrim). 

Connecticut River, Surry Mtn. Lake (Surry), Island Pond (Stoddard), Scott Pond (Fitzwilliam), Horace Lake (Weare), Contoocook Lake (Jaffrey/Rindge), Stumpfield Marsh (Hopkinton), Halfmoon Pond (Washington), Mountain Brook Reservoir (Jaffrey), Pisgah Reservoir (Winchester) and Meetinghouse Pond (Marlborough).

We hope you enjoy fishing this year in the Monadnock/Upper Valley Region, and don’t forget to take a kid fishing anytime you can.  We are always happy to talk to you about fish and fishing, so please contact us at Region 4 (603-352-9669; or email if you have any questions. 

For a list of popular water bodies in southwestern N.H. to fish for by species, consult the list below:


Suggested Fishing Locations: Monadnock Region/Southwest N.H.
American Shad Connecticut River below Vernon (Vernon, VT) and Bellows Falls (Walpole, NH) Dams.
Black Crappie Scott Pond (Fitzwilliam), Connecticut River, Contoocook Lake (Jaffrey), Meetinghouse Pond (Marlborough), Monomonac Lake (Rindge), Highland Lake (Stoddard), Surry Mtn. Pond (Surry), Pisgah Reservoir (Winchester), Powdermill Pond (Greenfield/Bennington), Weare Reservoir (Weare), Lake Joe Sylvia (Hopkinton), Stumpfield Marsh (Hopkinton), Clement Pond (Hopkinton), Lake Todd (Bradford), Halfmoon Pond (Washington)
Bluegill Connecticut River, Child’s Bog (Harrisville), Cheshire Pond (Jaffrey), Meetinghouse Pond (Marlborough), Grassey Pond (Rindge), Center Pond & Island Pond (Stoddard), Swanzey Lake & Wilson Pond (Swanzey), Baboosic Lake (Amherst), Halfmoon Pond (Hancock), MacDowell Lake (Peterborough), Waterloom Pond (New Ipswich) and other small warm water ponds.
Brook Trout (EBT) Witches Spring and Flint’ Brooks (Hollis), Sand Brook (Hillsborough), Meadow Brook (Sharon), Caldwell Pond (Alstead), Chapman Pond (Sullivan), Dublin Lake (Dublin), Spoonwood Lake (Nelson), Roaring Brook (Richmond), Shaker Brook (Marlborough), Spaulding Brook (Brookline), County Farm Brook (Wilton), Moose Brook (Hancock), Town Line Brook (Peterborough), Whittemore Lake (Bennington), Beards Brook, (Hillsborough), Baboosic Brook (Merrimack), Coldspring Pond (Stoddard), Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), Sand Pond (Marlow), Blood Brook (Wilton), Mill and Partridge Brooks (Westmoreland), Frenches Pond (Henniker), Nissitissit River (Brookline), Willard Pond (Antrim), Souhegan River (Greenville/Amherst), Stone Pond (Marlborough), Firehouse Pond (Bow), Stoney Brook (Lyneboro/Wilton), Mont Williams Pond (Weare), Smith Pond (Washington)
Brown Trout Ferrin Pond (Weare), Cold River (Alstead/Walpole), Contoocook River (Hillsborough/Jaffrey/Henniker), Forest Lake (Winchester), Gilmore Pond (Jaffrey), Laurel Lake (Fitzwilliam), Newell Pond (Alstead), Warren Lake (Alstead), South Branch Ashuelot River (Swanzey/Troy), Ashuelot River (Gilsum/Marlow/Surry/Winchester), Blackwater River (Webster), Cold River (Alstead/Walpole), Souhegan River (Greenville/Amherst), Beards Brook (Hillsborough), Piscataqoug River (Goffstown), South Branch Piscataqoug River (New Boston), Island Pond (Washington).
Hornpout Connecticut River, Howe Reservoir (Dublin), Grassey Pond (Rindge), Child’s Bog (Harrisville), Meetinghouse Pond (Marlborough), Island Pond (Stoddard), McDowell Lake (Peterborough), Mud Pond (Dublin), Baboosic Lake (Amherst), and most other lakes, ponds and rivers
Carp Connecticut River, Horseshoe Pond (Merrimack)
Chain Pickerel Connecticut River. Ellis Reservoir (Sullivan), Fullam Pond (Chesterfield), Warren Lake (Alstead), Forest Lake (Winchester), Hubbard Pond (Rindge), and Millen Pond (Washington), May Pond & Lake Ashuelot (Washington), Crescent Lake (Acworth), Rockwood Pond (Fitzwilliam) and most other warm water lakes and ponds
Fallfish Connecticut River, Ashuelot River (Swanzey/Winchester)
Lake Trout Nubanusit Lake & Spoonwood Pond (Nelson) Silver Lake (Harrisville), Granite Lake (Stoddard)
Landlocked Salmon None at this time.
Largemouth Bass Baboosic Lake (Amherst), Deering Reservoir & Dudley Pond (Deering), Connecticut River, Center Pond (Nelson), Damon Res. (Rindge), Stumpfield Marsh (Hopkinton), Monomonac Lake (Rindge), Highland Lake (Stoddard), Harrisville Pond & Skatutakee Lake (Harrisville), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Warren Lake (Alstead), Pleasant Lake & Shattuck Pond (Francestown), Horace Lake (Weare), Scott Pond (Fitzwilliam), Crescent Lake (Acworth) and most warm water ponds.
Northern Pike Connecticut River and backwaters (Woodsville to Mass. border), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Wilson Pond (Swanzey) and Skatutakee Lake (Harrisville).
Pumpkinseed Most lakes, ponds and large rivers
Rainbow Trout Pleasant Lake (Deerfield), Cold River (Alstead/ Acworth), Gustin Pond (Marlow), Center Pond & Nubanusit Lake (Nelson), Laurel Lake (Fitzwilliam), Warren Lake (Alstead), Forest Lake (Winchester), Granite Lake (Nelson/Stoddard), Silver Lake (Harrisville), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Mont Williams Pond (Weare), North Branch River (Antrim), Willard Pond (Antrim), Beards Brook (Hillsborough), Piscataquog River (Goffstown), So. Branch Piscataquog River (Goffstown/New Boston), West Branch Piscataquog River (Weare), Whittemore Lake (Bennington), Contoocook River (Hillsborough/Bennington/Henniker), Gilmore Pond (Jaffrey), Blackwater River (Webster), Frenches Pond (Henniker), Warner River (Warner), Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), Mont Williams Pond (Weare), Emerald Pond (Hillsborough), Souhegan River (Greenville/Amherst), Ashuelot River (Gilsum/Marlow/Winchester)
Rock Bass Island Pond (Stoddard), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield)
Smallmouth Bass Connecticut River, Gustin Pond (Marlow), Spoonwood Pond & Nubanusit Lake (Nelson), Laurel Lake (Fitzwilliam), Warren Lake (Alstead), Granite Lake & Highland Lake (Stoddard), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Pisgah Reservoir (Winchester), Contoocook River (Hillsborough/Bennington/Peterborough), Emerald Pond (Hillsborough), Deering Res., Weare Res., Gregg Lake (Antrim), Pleasant Lake (Francestown)
Walleye Connecticut River (Woodsville south to Mass. border), Contoocook River.
White Perch Connecticut River, Laurel Lake (Fitzwilliam), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Highland Lake & Island Pond (Stoddard), Contoocook Lake (Jaffrey/Rindge), Franklin Pierce Lake (Hillsborough), Pleasant Lake (Francestown)
Yellow Perch Nearly all lakes, ponds and medium to large rivers.

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