1-603-569-HOLE (4653) • Store hours: Mon. - Sat.: 6am-6pm Sun.: 6am-2pm • See Map
Did you know that there are regulations regarding the use of live bait in New Hampshire and other states around the country? If you are planning on a New England fishing trip at any point this year, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local laws. Whether you are looking for winter fishing supplies to try your hand at ice fishing or if you want to rent Lake Winnipesaukee fishing tackle for a summer vacation, you can find everything you need at the New Hampshire Hole in the Wall bait and tackle shop in Wolfeboro.
Approved Bait Fish in New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game states on its website that it is illegal to “import, possess, sell, exhibit, or release any live marine species or wildlife, or the eggs or progeny thereof, without first obtaining a permit from the NH Fish and Game Department’s Executive Director.” That is pretty clear-cut and up front that you should not bring any bait fish, eggs or other type of live bait into the State of New Hampshire for fishing. While most fishermen already understand that local live bait is always better than anything you could bring from home because it is specialized to the type of fish in the local waters, it is still important to know these facts about the laws regarding importing and releasing wildlife.
That being said, the State of New Hampshire also has a list available that specifies the only species of bait fish that are allowed to be used as live bait in New Hampshire, whether you are ice fishing in winter or fishing off the shore in the summer using Lake Winnipesaukee fishing tackle and gear. Your best bet is to purchase your live bait in Wolfeboro at the Hole in the Wall where you get your summer and winter fishing supplies. That way you know that you are getting approved bait fish for your fishing trip and won’t have any misunderstandings about what is or is not allowed for use.
Some of the species sold locally as live bait in New Hampshire include:
- rainbow smelt
- lake chub
- common shiners
- longnose dace
- eastern silvery minnow
- longnose sucker
Know the Seasons in New Hampshire
If you are not from the northeastern states and are not familiar with the local seasons, it is important to take some time to learn more about when New Hampshire ice fishing and open water fishing seasons occur. Open water fishing out on the local lakes begins each year on April 1st, making available an abundance of local fish, including lake trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. Depending on the weather, many fishermen end up waiting for ice-free conditions so they can get out on the water, sometimes three or more weeks after the start of open water fishing season. Pick up your live bait in New Hampshire and get out on the water to enjoy the springtime bounty of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding region.
It is also important to note that regardless of the weather, the only fishing allowed between January 1 – March 31 is New Hampshire ice fishing. Winter fishing supplies can be purchased or rented at the Hole in the Wall on Main Street in Wolfeboro, where you can also get live bait in New Hampshire for lake, river and stream fishing year round. Lake trout and landlocked salmon in managed lakes are closed to all open water fishing until April 1st, regardless of what you are targeting. There are fourteen managed lakes for landlocked salmon in New Hampshire, including Lake Winnipesaukee. The average size salmon in Lake Winnipesaukee in 2015 was 19.9 inches and nearly three pounds.
General Fishing Tips in New Hampshire
If you are fishing for salmon, it is important to note that it can be caught successfully with a wide range of live bait in New Hampshire, including live smelt or shiners. It is highly recommended that you use rubber nets and that you practice proper techniques for release to prevent releasing hooked salmon back into the lake. This has been an ongoing issue, particularly at Lake Winnipesaukee, and it is everyone’s responsibility to prevent it from happening any further. Released fish that are hook-wounded are typically shorter and smaller all around than fish that are not wounded. This healthy approach helps to create a better pool of quality fish for future seasons.
To learn more about New Hampshire ice fishing or to rent Lake Winnipesaukee fishing tackle for your next trip, visit the Hole in the Wall bait and tackle shop in Wolfeboro. We have a wide variety of summer and winter fishing supplies, as well as a range of live bait in New Hampshire for local lake, river and stream fishing. Call the Hole in the Wall at 603-569-HOLE (4653) to get more information about any of our products and services or to find out about our Lake Winnipesaukee boat rentals.