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Freshwater Smelt

Fishing Regulations New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing

Bag Limits and General Rules

The daily bag limit for smelt is 2 quarts liquid measure of whole (head and tail intact) freshwater smelt in the 24-hour period between 12 noon one day and 12 noon the following day. Persons taking freshwater smelt must at all times keep their individual take in separate, unbreakable containers marked with their name. A person cannot take smelt while using a boat propelled by mechanical power.

Season for Taking Smelt by Angling

From June 16 through March 14, smelt may be taken by angling only, except in Trout and Fly-Fishing-Only ponds, which are open June 16 through Oct. 15.

Season for Taking Smelt with a Dip Net

From March 15 through April 30, smelt may be taken by means of a dip net not over 18 inches in diameter, between the hours of sunset and 12 midnight. Only the following waters are open to the taking of freshwater smelt by dip net:

Pond/Lake Name

Town

Deering Reservoir

Deering

Manning Lake/Guinea Pond

Gilmanton

Pea Porridge Pond

Madison

Rust Pond

Wolfeboro

Sandy Pond

Richmond

Suncook Lake

Barnstead

Sunset Lake/Places Pond

Alton, Gilmanton

Webster Lake

Franklin

Stream/River Name

Town

Bearcamp River (From Tamworth/Ossipee town line to Ossipee Lake)

Ossipee

Mascoma River (From Canaan/Enfield town line to Mascoma Lake)

Enfield

Use of Lead Tackle Restricted in N.H.

New Hampshire state law prohibits the use and sale of all lead sinkers and jigs that weigh one ounce or less, regardless of length, in all fresh waters of the state. The law does not apply to lead core line, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, spoons, poppers, plugs, or flies.

Loons and other waterbirds can die from lead poisoning after swallowing lead fishing sinkers and jigs lost by anglers.

Biologists have studied the effects of lead sinkers and jigs on waterbirds, such as loons and swans, since the 1970s. Their ongoing research has documented that, in the northeast U.S. and Canada where loons breed, lead sinkers or jigs can account for up to half of dead adult loons found by researchers.

What You Can Do:

  • Do not use lead sinkers and jigs.
  • Spread the word. Tell other anglers about the problem with lead.
  • Dispose of old lead sinkers and jigs properly. Drop-off locations include
    all N.H. Fish and Game offices.
  • Learn more at fishleadfree.org.