Looking for some big lake trout? Lake Winnipesaukee is filled with a variety of species that can be targeted through the ice during the cold NH winter. Nights can bring you 10 plus pound cusk, deep pools can reward you with lake trout, or a school of white perch, and you can win $10,000 just for catching a big fish.

(Featured Banner Image by Robert John Kozlow)

Ice Conditions

People die every year on the lake. Everyone should be cautious on the ice, check ice conditions before going out, and be sure to check the ice while you are out there. No matter what you read on the forums, be sure to always check ice depths yourself.

Lake Winnipesaukee ice conditions right now: http://www.rattlesnakecam.com/watch.htm

Ice Fishing Rules & Regulations

Ice Fishing Season

January 1st through March 31st.

  • No Salmon may be taken through the ice.
  • 2 Traps per person on lakes with lake trout or salmon. Here is a list of lakes:
Waterbody Lake Trout Salmon
First Connecticut Lake Yes Yes
Second Connecticut Lake Yes Yes
Third Connecticut Lake Yes No
Conway Lake No Yes
Big Dan Hole Pond Yes Yes
Big Diamond Pond Yes No
Francis Lake Yes Yes
Granite Lake Yes No
Great East Lake Yes No
Big Greenough Pond Yes No
Merrymeeting Lake Yes Yes
Newfound Lake Yes Yes
Nubanusit Lake Yes Yes
Ossipee Lake No Yes
Silver Lake (Harrisville) Yes No
Silver Lake (Madison) Yes No
Big Squam Lake Yes Yes
Little Squam Lake Yes Yes
Sunapee Lake Yes Yes
Winnipesaukee Lake Yes Yes
Winnisquam Lake Yes Yes

Here is a link to Fish and Game’s Regulations: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/ice-fishing.html

You are also allowed up to 6 cusk traps per person.

Cusk Line Rules

  • Name and address must be on every cusk trap used
  • Weight must be at least 1 oz and lead-free
  • Weight must be 6 at least 6 inches from the hook
  • Weight must be resting on the bottom of the lake

Any type of fish caught on a cusk line other than a cusk must be released. 

Cusk Trap

Image from http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/pubs/documents/samples/winter-cusk.pdf

This is also a great resource to learn about cusk and cusk fishing.

The Fish

Most common fish taken while ice fishing. These fish are the 7 categories of the Meredith Rotary Club ice fishing derby.

  • Lake Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Landlocked Salmon (Illegal to take through the ice)
  • Yellow Perch
  • White Perch
  • Pickeral
  • Cusk

Fishing Derby

Each year, the Meredith Rotary Club puts on an ice fishing derby. Fish can be caught on any legal body of water in NH, but must be checked in on Lake Winnipesaukee at the Meredith Town Docks. You can learn all about the derby and registation here: http://www.meredithrotary.com/

Bait and Tackle Shops Around the Lake

There are a few popular bait and tackle shops around the lake that will help greatly when you need supplies or to find out what has been biting lately.

Alton – Alton Bay Corner Store

Wolfoboro – Hole in the Wall

Meredith – AJ’s Bait and Tackle

Local Ice Fishing Guides




Ice Fishing Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee Lake Trout

Lake Winnipesaukee Pickerel