12 Best Places for Fly Fishing New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a sleeper in terms of amazing fishing destinations. We found that it wasn't on the lists of top spots to fish in the USA, so the rivers are much less congested.
Fly Fishing New Hampshire

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New Hampshire may be a small state, but it’s vast, offering great fishing spots, spectacular scenery and amazing water for an exciting day of fishing in New Hampshire. In this post, you will find some of the best fly fishing spots in New Hampshire; read on to learn more.

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12 Best Places for Fly Fishing New Hampshire

1. The Saco River

The Saco River

The Saco River is a freestone stream that originates from the Saco Lake and flows through North Conway with sparkling clear waters. You can expect to find a big population of brown trout in this river. There are reports of people pulling out 20-inch brown trout here, and they’re fairly common in these parts of New Hampshire too.

The Saco is occasionally stocked with rainbow trout, browns and even brookies. You won’t have a tough time casting here either fishing rod because you can easily wade in low river levels.

Although this is a great New Hampshire fishing destination, you need to follow the special fishing regulations. For instance, you can only fish a daily limit of two brook trout around Lucy Brook through Artist Falls Brook confluence. So check the regulations [1].

2. The Connecticut River

The Connecticut River

The Connecticut River offers some of the best New Hampshire fishing destinations, especially the trophy stretch through New England. The New Hampshire stretch in New England offers great catch-and-release fishing opportunities. However, the fishing experience around the Connecticut River depends on the water flow and the season. Therefore, always double-check the river levels [2] and the weather before heading out!

Although the Connecticut River may seem like a freestone stream, it is actually a tailwater river, which means you can get great fish populations throughout the year. The best time of the year to fish the Connecticut River is around May. Then, the best fishing is concentrated on the upper headwaters. We also recommend our fly fishing around Tall Timber Lodge [3]. The lodge offers premier New Hampshire fishing guide services, and for that, you will get to land some big ol’ browns, giant salmon and beautiful brookies.

We also have a full guide here on Fly Fishing Connecticut – 9 Best Places to Fly Fish

3. The Androscoggin River

The Androscoggin River

The Androscoggin River is a 178-mile-long river flowing from Northern New Hampshire through Maine. The headwaters are near Errol, where the Umbagog Lake outlet and the Magalloway River meet. Only some sections of the river support a salmon and trout fishing population. Therefore, you may want to ask a local fly shop where they recommend before heading out on your fishing adventure.

Although there are brown, brook and rainbow trout, you can also find some landlocked salmon. The Androscoggin River maintains its fish population throughout the year, coupled with great all-year-round hatches, like the Alder fly or the zebra caddis. These flies are awesome for just about all dry fly fishing opportunities. However, over the summer, you can expect some Great Winged Olive Dun hatches for fishing some landlocked salmon or trout.

The best place to fish in these parts of New Hampshire is around Androscoggin Wayside State Park, Seven Islands Bridge, Paul Bofinger Wayside State Park, or the Nansen Wayside State Park. You can also try your luck fishing in new areas, like around Lopstick Lodge, where you can learn a few new things about fishing.

4. The Upper Pemigewasset River

The Upper Pemigewasset River

A lot of people refer to this New Hampshire fishing destination as Pemi, and it is one of the most beautiful rivers for fishing expeditions. It boasts of very productive fisheries, and the flow of the river water begins with small streams from the White Mountains in Franconia Notch. Since the New Hampshire river starts from the White Mountain National Forest, the water temperature stays cold, ensuring that the Atlantic salmon and trout thrive throughout the year.

The river polluted for many years by a local paper mill. Through a collaboration of the local governing agencies and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, new regulations have contributed to the restoration of the river’s former glory, including restoring fish population. You can now find native brook, rainbow and brown trout.

Although the river can be crowded at times, you can put on your hiking boots and find yourself some new fishing spots in these parts of New Hampshire. Remember, salmon is only a catch-and-release species, so take care. That said, you can always go for the trout with flies like blood midges, sowbugs and terrestrials in the summer.

5. The Swift River

The Swift River

If you want to fly fish for an incredibly large brook trout, this is the river to visit. Like many other New Hampshire fly fishing rivers, the Swift River source is at Mt. Kancamagus right in the White Mountains Forest close located near Livermore. The river is 23 miles long and it injects its cold water into the Saco River.

The upper part of the Swift River moves quickly, and the pocket water is mostly characterised by small riffle sections, small pools and a few short runs. It doesn’t matter whether you are new at fishing or a veteran at it; you can put your stealth fly fishing tactics to good use here. You will probably fly fish some 6-8-inch brookies. Although they may not be the biggest trout in New Hampshire, you will be stunned by their beauty.

As you start progressing downstream, you will begin finding rainbow and brown trout populations. In these parts, you may want to consider changing from your 3 weight to probably 4 or 5 because the river gets wider and the fish get bigger. 

Finding the best New Hampshire fishing spots around the Swift River shouldn’t be much of a task because the Kancamagus Highway, State Highway 112, runs parallel to the river right from the headwaters down to Conway. However, you may have to beat a path for yourself to find the best spot, just make sure you have some midges or small dry flies like Parachute Adams. You just have to make sure that you keep an eye out for signage to make sure you aren’t trespassing.

6. Souhegan River

Souhegan River

If ever you are in the southern part of New Hampshire and you’re wondering where you go for an exciting New Hampshire fishing expedition, this is one great place to start. It hosts populations of rainbow, brown and brook trout, which means you don’t have to worry about the numbers. Most brookies are natives, which should add to the excitement as you fly fish. Most parts of the river meander their way through public land, meaning that finding a great spot should be relatively easy.

There are different popular New Hampshire fly fishing spots around the Souhegan River. Since it is a 31-mile-long river, you are bound to find lots of pull-offs easily, especially near North River Road Bridge around Monadnock Water.

7. The Contoocook River

The Contoocook River

This is a hidden gem in New Hampshire fishing that anglers should explore. Located near Henniker, the Contoocook River is an amazing trout fishery with some pretty challenging big and deep sections and some pocket water in other sections that will make your New Hampshire fly fishing trip more adventurous and exciting.

When planning to head out to Contoocook River, make sure you carry a decent trout fishing setup, like the 9-foot 5 weight rod and an extra 3 weight rod in the bag. Good quality wading boots are a must because you will want to cover a lot of water on this river!

8. Lamprey River

Lamprey River

The Lamprey River is actually one of the best-known New Hampshire fishing streams because it’s not only located near large population centres but also a very productive stream. It is heavily stocked with brook, brown, and rainbow trout.

Since it is located in large population centers, it is bound to be congested, so you may have to fight the crowds to find your ideal spot. Make sure that you bring along a good number of trout flies as there are a lot of overhanging branches that love a wayward cast!

9. Isinglass River

Isinglass River

This is a 15-mile-long river with cold and warm water fisheries that are regularly stocked with brown, rainbow, and brook trout. It is a relatively small river, which is best experienced with a good pair of waders. The small size means of the river means you will generally come across small fish.

Therefore, when packing to head to Isinglass River, just carry a 2 or 3 weight trout fishing rod. The best time to fish in these parts of New Hampshire is in the summer or early fall.

10. Cocheco River

Cocheco River

The river is about 35 miles long and flows through New Hampshire near the Maine border via Dover, Gonic, Farmington, and Rochester. The river flows through lots of public lands, which makes accessibility free and easy for everyone. Here, you’ll find a good population of trout and smallmouth bass.

11. Exeter River

Exeter River

The river flows from Chester and through the town of Sandown as it flows to Exeter. It is well known for warm and cold water fishing. The river is stocked with browns, rainbows, brookies, and some eels as well.

12. Sugar River

Sugar River

The Sugar River is located in the western region of New Hampshire, and it is a tributary to the Connecticut River. The river flow starts from the Sunapee and flows through Newport and Claremont and ends in Vermont when it drains into Connecticut. Although there are many hydroelectric power stations along the way, the fish population doesn’t seem to be disturbed.

The best fishing section of the Sugar River is in Newport, and it is relatively easy to access. It holds huge populations of fish like browns, rainbows, and brookies. There are also many hatches throughout the year. The best flies to try are Brown Stoneflies, Slate Drakes, Green Sedges, and the Blue-Winged Olives to ensure you have enough for fishing.

New Hampshire Fly Fishing References

[1] https://wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/index.html

[2] https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nh/nwis/current/?type=flow

[3] https://talltimber.com/

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