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)
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.
We have created a Facebook group so that you can ask about specific areas or see recent updates. View Facebook Group
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:
|First Connecticut Lake||Yes||Yes|
|Second Connecticut Lake||Yes||Yes|
|Third Connecticut Lake||Yes||No|
|Big Dan Hole Pond||Yes||Yes|
|Big Diamond Pond||Yes||No|
|Great East Lake||Yes||No|
|Big Greenough Pond||Yes||No|
|Silver Lake (Harrisville)||Yes||No|
|Silver Lake (Madison)||Yes||No|
|Big Squam Lake||Yes||Yes|
|Little Squam 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 at most 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.
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.
Lake Winnipesaukee 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
- Yellow Perch
- White Perch
- Black Crappie
Landlocked Salmon cannot legally be taken through the ice. Anglers must release the fish without taking them out of the water.
Other fish species in the lake:
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Brook Trout
- American Eel
- Brown Bullhead (catfish)
- Rock Bass
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 registration 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
Wolfboro – Hole in the Wall
Meredith – AJ’s Bait and Tackle
Local Ice Fishing Guides
If you are looking for a Lake Winnipesaukee ice fishing guide, fill out our form here.
Also, here is a list of local ice fishing guides (but please reach out to us first!):
Lake Access Points
Lake Winnipesaukee has a lot of public access points. The pdf below lays out a large portion of the public access points for summer months. Many of these boat launches are not accessible in winter months, however often times, people can get on the ice from the beaches.
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Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about