The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








 Free Fishing Day

On Saturday, June 2, fishing will be free for everyone statewide. During each Free Fishing Day, Beauchesne said, any resident or non-resident of the state is permitted to fish without a license.
“It’s an opportunity to give people a chance to either try fishing or come back to fishing … and if you like it, you’ll pursue it,” Beauchesne said. “All the rules still apply, so you still need to know the restrictions.”
He said that each of the two annual Free Fishing Days — the other is typically in January — also provide incentives for anglers who are out of state.
“It’s definitely one way to drive people to come to New Hampshire and experience, and we know they’ll be back,” he said. “They won’t just fish one day, because they’re going to have a great time. It’s also good for folks that maybe have been fishing for a long time but want to invite somebody that’s never fished before.”
While Beauchesne said fishing often has a lot to do with putting yourself in the right place at the right time, learning how to do it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be – and the more you learn, the more likely you’re going to be successful.
“The more I learn about the fish, the more likely I’m going to be able to put myself in a position where our two worlds will meet, and that’s what’s beautiful about it,” he said.
Let’s Go Fishing 
New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Let’s Go Fishing Program ( offers free beginner-level fishing classes throughout the state, taught by trained volunteers. Classes include Basic Fishing, Ice Fishing, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying. The Basic Fishing class is open to adults and kids age 8 and up and consists of 4 to 6 hours in the classroom and 2 to 4 hours on the water. The Fly Fishing class is open to adults and teens age 13 and up and consists of 8 to 10 hours in the classroom and 3 to 4 hours on the water. Both classes will cover all of the basics that a new angler needs to know, including rods and reels, safety, knot tying, fish identification, ethics, rules and regulations and aquatic ecology. The Fly Tying class is open to adults and teens age 13 and up and consists of 12 hours in the classroom. Students will learn about the essential equipment and materials needed to tie flies, common fly patterns and what kinds of bait they imitate, insect anatomy and why a particular fly is used, and how to tie several fly patterns. 
Upcoming classes include Basic Fishing on Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, in Manchester, and Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, in New London; and Fly Fishing on Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3, in Stewartstown. 

All about angling
A beginner’s guide to fishing in the Granite State


 By Matt Ingersoll
Whether you’re doing it for food or as a recreational activity, fishing offers an opportunity to connect with nature or to spend time with friends or family. New Hampshire is home to more than 900 lakes and ponds and 12,000 miles of rivers and streams, allowing anglers a wide range of access.
“Unlike other sports, where there’s a beginning and an end, fishing has no time limit. You can go for 10 minutes or 10 hours; the fish don’t care,” said Mark Beauchesne, advertising and promotions coordinator for the public affairs division of the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department. “Fishing is a true pastime and a way to just chill out. In my experience talking with anglers, fishing is truly in the moment. It’s the only thing you’re going to think of when you’re doing it.”
But whatever the reason you’re out fishing, Beauchesne said it’s imperative to know the law, to have a valid fishing license, and to research which species of fish can be found at which bodies of water to ensure your highest level of success.
Getting started
A fishing license is required to fish in the state, and there are several ways to obtain one. Beauchesne said licenses can be purchased online at, at some tackle and sporting goods stores, and even at some town halls. Wherever you get one, it applies to everywhere in the Granite State.
“A resident fishing license is $45 for the calendar year, so if you buy it halfway through the year you need to get a new one at the end of the year,” Beauchesne said. “If you have a driver’s license, that’s the information that they’ll ask you for. There’s no test or anything you need to pass. But if you’re under 16 you don’t need a license. It’s free.”
The rates for non-New Hampshire licenses are a bit higher and vary depending on the number of days they are valid for.
If you’re unsure whether fishing is for you, you can also opt for a one-day resident license, which is available to Granite Staters for $10.
After you obtain your license, Beauchesne said, you need to make sure you’re using tackle, sinkers and jigs that are non-lead when selecting your equipment.
“Lead is a toxic substance, and those are obviously things we don’t use anymore as a way to protect some of our wildlife species,” he said.
Other items to bring include a pair of pliers or hemostats for removing hooks quickly, something you can use as bait, and something to float the line or give you an indication that you have a bite from a fish.
“Almost anything will eat live bait, so like a worm for example,” Beauchesne said. “But whether it’s alive or not, if it’s ingestible, it’s bait. So another ingestible substance that some people use for catching fish could be a piece of corn or a marshmallow, things like that.”
Knowing how to tie basic knots using the monofilament fishing line can also be beneficial. Beauchesne said diagrams and instructions on how to tie a few different fishing line knots are available to view on for free.
Where to go
Rules and regulations vary depending on the body of water you are visiting. If you’re new to fishing in the state and are unsure of where to go or what the restrictions would be, Beauchesne said the best way to learn is by consulting the New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing Digest, an annual publication the state’s Fish & Game Department releases. It’s available in print and online, and can be downloaded by visiting and clicking “Publications” under the “Fishing” tab.
Each body of water is listed under either “lakes and ponds” or “rivers and streams,” with each of those separated by “general rules” and “special rules.” Depending on where you are going, rules may have to do with the time of year you visit, the amount of fish you are permitted to catch per day, the species of fish you can catch and other variables. 
It’s the angler’s responsibility to know what each of these rules is by consulting this publication, Beauchesne said.
“A lot of it is based on what’s there, what we know and what our biological staff has gone out and done research on,” he said. “Those rules are on there to protect the fish, but still allow for opportunity.”
Finding fish
There are dozens of species of trout, salmon, bass, perch, pickerel and other fish native to the Granite State — and according to Beauchesne, a fish’s body shape and type are indicators of where they live.
“These are all strategies for these fish to make their living,” Beauchesne said. “For example, fish in fast-moving streams will have these streamlined bodies that help them move through water faster, so that’s where they’ll occupy their habitats.”
Some bodies of water in the state are known as two-tier fisheries, which include several different species of fish due to the varying temperatures.
“A large lake like Winnipesaukee would have temperatures that would be 72 or 73 and also 58 in the same day, so we would be able to have both cold-water and warm-water fish species living in the same body of water,” Beauchesne said, “and certain times of the year they will cross over when those waters are at the right temperatures for them.”
The weather also often does have an effect on the activity of the fish. While you can’t control the weather conditions, Beauchesne said knowing the fish’s behavior in relation to them can be an advantage.
Because fish don’t have eyelids, they may be more prone to seeking shady areas during bright sunny days, and in turn may be more comfortable about moving around in overcast conditions or low levels of sunlight.
“If you have bright sunlight, you look for the shadows for any shade,” Beauchesne said. “When the sun is out, it also allows osprey, kingfishers, herons and other birds that prey on fish to look down and see [the water] quite well. When it’s flat light, they can’t see into the water as well, so that’s one of the reasons why fish are a little bit more able to move about.” 

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