New Hampshire is a fly angler's paradise, boasting an array of pristine rivers, serene lakes, and picturesque streams that provide excellent opportunities for fly fishing. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, the state offers a diverse range of fishing locations that cater to various preferences and skill levels. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top 25 places to fly fish in New Hampshire, along with essential gear recommendations, facts about fly fishing in the state, the best flies to use, and the optimal months for your fishing expeditions.
Best Fly Fishing Locations in New Hampshire
New Hampshire's vast, crystal-clear waters are home to trout, bass, and salmon—just some of the species that call this state home. Whether you're into wading or float fishing, there are plenty of spots where you'll find plenty of success.
1. Androscoggin River
The Androscoggin River flows through Maine and New Hampshire in northern New England. It spans 178 miles and meets the Kennebec River at Merrymeeting Bay in Maine before emptying into the Gulf of Maine on the Atlantic Ocean.
The river is popular among anglers due to its abundant fish population. The upper section is ideal for fly fishing, offering opportunities to catch brook, rainbow, and brown trout. Landlocked salmon can also be found near Errol, New Hampshire. However, as the river heads south and east of the White Mountains, water quality changes, resulting in a decline of trout and salmon populations in the central and lower sections.
Flowing through the scenic northern part of New Hampshire, the Androscoggin River is a haven for fly fishing. Its pristine waters wind through valleys, providing breathtaking views for nature enthusiasts. Anglers can target species like brown, rainbow, brook trout, and smallmouth bass. The river's diverse range of pools, runs, and riffles ensures an exciting fishing experience for all skill levels.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Androscoggin River, New Hampshire:
2. Baker River
The Baker River flows for 36.4 miles through the scenic White Mountains region of New Hampshire. Some of its notable tributaries, listed from upstream to downstream, include Berry Brook, Pond Brook, South Branch Baker River, Halls Brook, and Stinson Brook. Additionally, the Baker River valley in the town of Warren is home to a significant fish hatchery.
With its crystal-clear waters and easily accessible stretches, the Baker River beckons anglers seeking tranquility. This river is renowned for its brook, brown, and rainbow trout populations. The Baker River's riffles and pools provide ample opportunities for both dry fly and nymph fishing, making it an excellent spot for honing your fly fishing techniques.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Baker River, New Hampshire:
3. Cocheco River
The Cochecho River is a tributary of the Piscataqua River, spanning 38.3 miles in length, within the state of New Hampshire, USA. It starts in the northern part of Strafford County and flows southeast, passing through the town of Farmington and the cities of Rochester and Dover.
The Cocheco River is an angler's dream for catching brown and rainbow trout, offering a blend of calm pools and riffles. Its close proximity to urban areas provides a convenient escape into nature. The river's varied structure and insect hatches create ideal dry and wet fly fishing conditions.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Cocheco River, New Hampshire:
4. Connecticut River
The majestic Connecticut River boasts a diverse aquatic ecosystem that supports a range of fish species, including trout, salmon, and bass. Stretching across the state, it offers fly anglers the opportunity to explore different fishing environments. The river's expansive waters and varying currents challenge anglers to adapt their techniques. With proper fly selection and strategic casting, you can expect thrilling catches against the backdrop of the river's scenic beauty.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Connecticut River, New Hampshire:
5. Ellis River
The Ellis River flows for 16 miles through the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire in the United States. It is a tributary of the Saco River and merges gracefully with its waters before they continue their journey to the majestic Atlantic Ocean in Maine.
Fly fishing in the Ellis River is known for its challenges, making it a favorite among experienced anglers seeking to test their skills. The river's fast-paced flows and intricate currents demand precision and finesse, rewarding those who master its nuances with the opportunity to catch impressive brook and rainbow trout.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Ellis River, New Hampshire:
6. Exeter River
The Exeter River, which spans 40.5 miles, flows through Rockingham County in southeastern New Hampshire. Its drainage basin covers a vast area of 126 square miles. From its source to its meeting point with Great Brook in Exeter, the upper 33.3 miles of the river meander gracefully, showcasing the region's natural beauty.
Home to a thriving brown trout population, the Exeter River offers a peaceful escape for fly anglers seeking a leisurely fishing experience. Its easily accessible spots make it an excellent choice for a day of relaxation. The river's riffles and deep pools provide dry, and nymph fly fishing opportunities. Whether you're new to fly fishing or a seasoned angler, the Exeter River provides a serene environment for casting your line.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Exeter River, New Hampshire:
7. Isinglass River
The Isinglass River, which stretches 15 miles, winds through Strafford County in southeastern New Hampshire, United States. It starts at Bow Lake in Strafford and is fed by Ayer's, Nippo, Round, and Long Ponds in Barrington. Flowing eastward, the Isinglass eventually meets the Cochecho River in the southern corner of Rochester.
A hidden gem among New Hampshire's fly fishing locations, the Isinglass River is a haven for solitude-seeking anglers. Its tranquil waters are teeming with brook and rainbow trout, offering a satisfying angling experience away from the crowds. The river's mix of slow runs and riffles creates diverse fishing conditions, ensuring an exciting day on the water for those who venture to its shores.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Isinglass River, New Hampshire:
8. Lake Francis
For those who find solace in Stillwater fishing, Lake Francis offers a tranquil haven nestled within New Hampshire's scenic landscapes. This serene retreat is known for its picturesque beauty and offers anglers the chance to engage in a different kind of fly fishing experience. Set against a backdrop of rolling hills and verdant forests, Lake Francis provides an idyllic setting for anglers seeking relaxation and adventure.
Spanning approximately 2,000 acres, Lake Francis is a sizable water body that hosts the charm of Stillwater fly fishing and the excitement of targeting both trout and salmon. Its diverse fish populations present many opportunities for fly anglers to test their skills.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Lake Francis, New Hampshire:
9. Lake Winnipesaukee
As one of New Hampshire's crown jewels, Lake Winnipesaukee offers a wealth of fishing opportunities for fly anglers. Covering over 44,000 acres, this expansive lake boasts a diverse fishery that includes trout, salmon, bass, and perch. The immense size of Lake Winnipesaukee means that every corner of its waters offers a unique angling adventure.
Fly fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee involves exploring its bays, inlets, and open waters, each offering a chance to encounter different fish species. Whether you're casting your line from the shoreline or venturing out onto the water in a boat, the lake's impressive fish populations promise a rewarding experience.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Lake Winnipesauke, New Hampshire:
10. Lamprey River
The Lamprey River is a fly fishing haven that beckons anglers seeking a dynamic and diverse experience. This river is a prime location for targeting both brown and rainbow trout, making it a favorite among fly fishing enthusiasts. The Lamprey's varied currents and abundant insect life create the perfect environment for casting a line and immersing yourself in the art of fly fishing.
Flowing for approximately 50 miles through southeastern New Hampshire, the Lamprey River offers various access points for anglers to explore. Its combination of deep pools and swift runs allows you to adapt your tactics to the changing conditions, ensuring an engaging day on the water.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Lamprey River, New Hampshire:
- Kaufmanns Stimulators - Orange - Size 16
- Glo Bug Red Dot (Egg) - Orange) - Size 10
- Prince Nymph - Size 12
11. Merrimack River
The Merrimack River is a testament to the dynamic fishery flowing through New Hampshire's heart. Its urban proximity and accessibility make it popular for anglers seeking diverse fishing opportunities. From its origins in the White Mountains to its convergence with the Atlantic Ocean, the Merrimack River offers a mix of trout species, bass, and more.
While fly fishing on the Merrimack River presents challenges due to its changing currents and expansive size, it's rewarding for those willing to explore its stretches. The river's vibrant aquatic life and varied flows provide a canvas for anglers to adapt their techniques and target different fish species.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Merrimack River, New Hampshire:
- Clouser Minnow - Size 2
- Royal Wolf - Size 12
- Poppers Chartreuse - Size 4
12. Mirror Lake
Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, Mirror Lake provides an intimate and picturesque backdrop for fly fishing. This peaceful lake spans approximately 377 acres and is stocked with trout, offering an excellent opportunity to catch impressive fish against the backdrop of serene landscapes.
Fly fishing on Mirror Lake is a delightful escape from the bustle of daily life. Whether you're casting from the shore or a small boat, the lake's calm waters create ideal conditions for fly anglers seeking tranquility and productive outings. As the sun glistens on the surface of the water and the mountains provide a breathtaking panorama, Mirror Lake becomes a haven for anglers in pursuit of both relaxation and rewarding catches.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Mirror Lake, New Hampshire:
13. Newfound Lake
Known for its remarkable clarity, Newfound Lake is a gem among New Hampshire's fly fishing destinations. Spanning approximately 4,100 acres, this lake offers not only stunning views but also a thriving trout population. Fly anglers are drawn to Newfound Lake for its vibrant fishery and the promise of an unforgettable angling experience.
Fly fishing on Newfound Lake allows you to explore its expansive shores and find the perfect spot to cast your line. The lake's crystal-clear waters provide an opportunity to observe your fly as it dances beneath the surface, making for a captivating and immersive fishing journey. As the sun sets behind the mountains, casting your fly onto the tranquil waters of Newfound Lake becomes a moment of connection with nature and the anticipation of a successful catch.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Newfound Lake, New Hampshire:
14. Pemigewasset River
The Pemigewasset River, affectionately known as the "Pemi," is a celebrated fly fishing destination in New Hampshire. Flowing through the heart of the White Mountains, this river offers a mix of pools, riffles, and diverse fishing conditions. It's a favorite among anglers seeking varied fishing opportunities and the chance to target a range of fish species.
The Pemi's approximately 70-mile course provides ample access points for anglers to explore its stretches. From tranquil pools to swift runs, each section of the river presents an opportunity to test your fly fishing skills. Whether you're casting dry flies, nymphs, or streamers, the Pemigewasset River invites you to embrace its ever-changing currents and vibrant aquatic life for a fulfilling and engaging fly fishing adventure.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Pemigewasset River, New Hampshire:
15. Phillips Brook
While it may be relatively small in size, Phillips Brook offers a fly fishing experience that is rich in intimacy and productivity. This brook's clear and cold waters provide ideal conditions for fly anglers seeking a secluded fishing environment. Spanning only a few miles in length, Phillips Brook offers a haven of tranquility for those looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in nature.
The brook's intimate size allows you to explore its length, casting your fly with precision into its inviting pools and riffles. As you wade through its cool waters, the surrounding forests and peaceful ambiance create a backdrop of serenity.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Phillips Brook, New Hampshire:
16. Piscataquog River
The Piscataquog River weaves through southwestern New Hampshire, offering a range of fishing opportunities for fly anglers. This river is a dynamic fishery with a mix of slow pools and fast runs, providing an inviting environment for both trout and bass. Its accessibility makes it a family-friendly destination that appeals to anglers of all skill levels.
Fly fishing on the Piscataquog River involves navigating its diverse currents and exploring its scenic surroundings. From casting dry flies to drifting nymphs, the river's varied fishing conditions cater to different techniques and preferences.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Piscataquog River, New Hampshire:
- Spanish Bullet Quill Nymph - Size 14
- Formerly known as prince - Size 14
- Parachute Mahogany Duns - Size 18
17. Saco River
Flowing through both New Hampshire and Maine, the Saco River is a sought-after destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. This iconic river offers a diverse fishing experience, with its waters housing a vibrant population of brown and rainbow trout. The Saco River's picturesque landscapes and varied currents create an environment that caters to anglers of all skill levels.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Saco River, New Hampshire:
18. Souhegan River
The Souhegan River, located in the northeastern United States, is a significant tributary of the Merrimack River. Spanning a length of 33.8 miles, this majestic river meanders through southern New Hampshire, flowing in a northerly and easterly direction until it converges with the Merrimack River. With a substantial drainage area of 171 square miles, the Souhegan River boasts a remarkable journey.
The Souhegan River's charm lies in its mix of slow pools and fast runs, offering a dynamic fishing environment for fly anglers. Renowned for its trout and bass populations, this river provides the opportunity to target different game fish within the same stretch of water. Exploring the meandering course of the Souhegan River promises an exciting day of fly fishing amidst its stunning surroundings.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Souhegan River, New Hampshire:
19. Success Pond
Nestled in tranquil surroundings, Success Pond offers a unique fly fishing experience in New Hampshire. Anglers can look forward to catching trout and bass in its peaceful waters. The pond's serene ambiance and abundant fish populations make it an excellent choice for those seeking solitude and fruitful fishing sessions. Fly anglers will appreciate the serene backdrop as they cast their lines and reel in memorable catches.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Success Pond, New Hampshire:
20. Sugar River
The Sugar River's gentle pools and inviting riffles create a welcoming environment for fly anglers in New Hampshire. This river is home to a variety of trout species, making it a versatile destination for those seeking diverse catches. With its accessible access points, the Sugar River is a great option for both newcomers to fly fishing and seasoned experts looking for a productive day on the water.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Sugar River, New Hampshire:
21. Swift River
The Swift River, spanning 25.6 miles, gracefully winds through the picturesque White Mountains of New Hampshire in the United States. As a notable tributary of the Saco River, it joins forces before making its way to the majestic Atlantic Ocean in the beautiful state of Maine.
The Swift River lives up to its name, providing fly anglers with a thrilling and challenging fishing experience. Known for its fast currents and varied flows, this river demands precision and skill from anglers. For those seeking a test of their abilities and an opportunity to land impressive trout, the Swift River offers an exciting adventure against the backdrop of New Hampshire's natural beauty.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Swift River, New Hampshire:
22. Tewksbury Pond
Tewksbury Pond is a hidden gem that beckons fly anglers to its peaceful shores. Nestled amidst picturesque surroundings, this pond offers a quiet escape for fishing enthusiasts. With its waters stocked with trout, Tewksbury Pond ensures a satisfying experience for anglers of all levels. The intimate size of the pond and its tranquil ambiance create an idyllic setting for fly fishing and relaxation.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Tewksbury Pond, New Hampshire:
23. Umbagog Lake
Spanning the border between New Hampshire and Maine, Umbagog Lake is a true angler's paradise. Its pristine waters offer a rich fishery that includes trout, salmon, and bass. The expansive lake provides diverse angling opportunities for fly fishing enthusiasts seeking different species. Exploring Umbagog Lake's shores promises not only a rewarding fishing experience but also the chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of the region.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Umbagog Lake, New Hampshire:
24. Webster Lake
With its varied fish populations, including trout, bass, and perch, Webster Lake is a versatile fly fishing destination. The calm waters of the lake and its picturesque surroundings create an inviting atmosphere for anglers of all skill levels. Fly fishing on Webster Lake offers a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature while targeting a variety of game fish, ensuring a fulfilling and enjoyable outing.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Webster Lake, New Hampshire:
25. White Mountain Streams
Flowing through the enchanting landscapes of the White Mountains, these streams offer a unique fly fishing experience in New Hampshire. The clear and cold waters of these streams are home to various trout species, making them a haven for dedicated anglers seeking pristine fishing environments.
Recommended Fly Patterns for White Mountain Streams, New Hampshire:
What Gear Do I Need to Fly Fish in New Hampshire?
Before embarking on your fly fishing adventure in New Hampshire, it's essential to have the right gear to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. Here's a list of must-have items:
- Fly Rod and Reel: Choose a rod and reel combo suited for the type of fishing you plan to do. A 5 or 6-weight rod is versatile and suitable for most New Hampshire waters.
- Fly Line: Opt for a weight-forward floating line for most situations. Sink-tip lines can also be useful for certain locations.
- Leaders and Tippets: Pack a variety of leaders and tippets in different sizes to accommodate different fly patterns and fish species.
- Flies: Stock up on a selection of local fly patterns, including nymphs, dry flies, and streamers. Be sure to include patterns that mimic the insects found in New Hampshire's waters.
- Waders and Wading Boots: Invest in comfortable waders and sturdy wading boots for safely navigating rivers and streams.
- Fishing Vest or Pack: Keep your gear organized and accessible with a fishing vest or pack.
- Polarized Sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses help reduce glare on the water's surface, making it easier to spot fish.
Additional Facts About Fly Fishing in New Hampshire
What Are the Best Flies for Fishing in NH?
The best fly patterns for fishing in New Hampshire depend on the specific location and the time of year. It's essential to observe the local insect hatches and match your fly patterns accordingly for the best results.
Is There Good Trout Fishing in New Hampshire?
Yes, New Hampshire is renowned for its excellent trout fishing. The state is home to various trout species, including brook, brown, rainbow, and lake trout. Whether you prefer fishing in rivers, lakes, or streams, you'll find ample opportunities to target these prized game fish.
What Month Is Best for Fly Fishing?
The optimal months for fly fishing in New Hampshire vary depending on the fish species you're targeting and the specific location. Generally, spring and fall are considered prime times for trout fishing, as the cooler water temperatures are favorable for trout activity. Spring hatches, such as Mayflies and Caddisflies, attract hungry trout to the surface, making it an exciting time for dry fly fishing.
During the summer months, early mornings and late evenings are ideal for fishing, as fish tend to be more active during cooler parts of the day. Fall offers another excellent opportunity for fly fishing, as trout become more active before the winter months.
Keep in mind that each location may have unique peak fishing times based on local conditions, so it's essential to research your chosen fishing spot beforehand.