A Few of My Favorite Ponds

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One of draw backs of living in the White Mountains is that our streams are never ready to fish until Memorial Day. The run off from the hills keep the water high, cold and discolored far longer than streams to the south of us. The good news is that rivers like the Saco and the Ellis stay colder longer which translates to good fishing usually into the middle of August. For dyed in the wool river fishermen, like myself, this can be a problem. In the end we have two choices; we can either head south or we can stay close to home and fish the ponds. Fortunately we are blessed with some if the best trout ponds the state has to offer.

Some trout ponds can be waded, but in most cases it is helpful to have some type of boat to get around in. I am fortunate to own a small fleet of watercraft suitable for trout pond fishing. My fleet consists of a wonderful 13 foot Old Town canoe that I inherited from my Dad, which sadly gets little use these days, an inflatable one-man pontoon boat that works just as well on rivers as it does on ponds, two inflatable belly boats and two Hobie pontoon boats with hard plastic pontoons. The Hobie boats have, in recent years become my favorites for pond fishing. These boats are rowed, however you could use flippers to help maneuver them, they easy to get into and very comfortable to fish from. It is possible to add a small motor; however I have never found it necessary as the oars provide adequate speed. Unfortunately these boats are no longer being made. The one thing I am missing is a kayak, although many fishermen love them, I find them difficult to get into and too low in the water. Recently stand up paddle boards (SUPS) have become popular and I must admit that they look like fun, I probably won’t buy one though; getting old I guess.

Bill's wife Janet, with her first trout of the year

Bill’s wife Janet, with her first trout of the year

One of the first ponds that show up on my radar each spring is Stonehouse Pond in Barrington. This lovely little pond is a fly fishing only pond. Stonehouse is limited to car-top boats only with no petroleum motors. An added bonus to fishing Stonehouse is that is also near the Isinglass River so that it is possible to get in some pond fishing early in the day and then do a little river fishing. Stonehouse is only 13 acres; however it is one of the prettiest ponds in New Hampshire. The pond, despite being located in a populous area of the state, is undeveloped. The land is privately owned and it took a concerted effort by Trout Unlimited, NH F&G and the landowner to work out an agreement to allow access. The pond is managed for brook trout and some pretty good sizes ones are caught every year.

Sky Pond in New Hampton is another favorite destination. Like Stonehouse, Sky Pond is “Fly Fishing Only” and there is a slot limit on the size of trout that can be taken. No motors of any kind are allowed. The pond is 14 acres and with the exception of one home the pond is undeveloped. Sky Pond has been favorite with fly anglers for years.

The town of Ossipee probably has more trout ponds within its borders than any other town in New Hampshire. Connor Pond, high in the Ossipee Mountains, ranks as one of the best trout ponds in the state. Connor is general law; however boaters are restricted to electric motors only. Duncan Lake has been a destination for generations and President Cleveland once kept a fishing camp on the lake. Duncan is also general law and petroleum motors are allowed with a 6 mph speed limit. White Pond, just down the road from Duncan Lake is another great trout pond. White Pond is fly fish only although there are no restrictions on boats. The boat landing is quite small and there is limited parking.river-bank-trout-gear

Basin Pond in Chatham is always a good choice, however it is often wise to plan a trip here late spring. The section of Route 113 that goes to the pond is not maintained in the winter and spring comes late to this part of Maine and New Hampshire. Basin Pond is a great place to spend a day or do some overnight camping. The pond is general law; however there is a no motor restriction.

The last pond on my short list is Mountain Pond, also in Chatham. Mountain Pond is a walk in pond. It is not much of a hike to get to the pond from the trailhead; however the road is gated and has been closed to traffic for the last three years thanks to Hurricane Irene. With any luck maybe they will get the road open this year. No motors are allowed although the pond is general law. Mountain Pond is perhaps the best Brook trout pond in the state. It is darn near impossible to fish from shore, even with spinning gear and with few exceptions wading is also difficult. A float tube is just about the best way to fish this pond although some rugged individuals might want to carry a canoe in. Must have flies are leach patterns, Black Ghost and a Parmacheene Belle.

Too be sure this is just a short list of the numerous trout ponds that New Hampshire has to offer. Give these a try, but do a little scouting of your own and you will soon have your own list fsvorites.

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