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:
WaterbodyLake TroutSalmon
First Connecticut LakeYesYes
Second Connecticut LakeYesYes
Third Connecticut LakeYesNo
Conway LakeNoYes
Big Dan Hole PondYesYes
Big Diamond PondYesNo
Francis LakeYesYes
Granite LakeYesNo
Great East LakeYesNo
Big Greenough PondYesNo
Merrymeeting LakeYesYes
Newfound LakeYesYes
Nubanusit LakeYesYes
Ossipee LakeNoYes
Silver Lake (Harrisville)YesNo
Silver Lake (Madison)YesNo
Big Squam LakeYesYes
Little Squam LakeYesYes
Sunapee LakeYesYes
Winnipesaukee LakeYesYes
Winnisquam LakeYesYes

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. 

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.

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
  • Pickerel
  • Cusk
  • 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
  • Sunfish
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Bullhead (catfish)
  • Rock Bass
  • More!

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




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.

Lake Winnipesaukee Boat Launch and Water Access

Ice Fishing Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee Lake Trout

Lake Winnipesaukee Pickerel

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