The 5 Best Fish to Catch in New Hampshire This Summer

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: May 1, 2023
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New Hampshire is the perfect state in which to go fishing. It’s away from all the bustle of the cities to the south, and you can find a wide variety of fish to catch. Not only do you have some truly picturesque lakes and rivers to fish along, but you can also catch the bounty of the sea on the coasts. Today, we’re looking at five of the best fish to catch in New Hampshire to show you what’s available in the state.

What Makes the Best Fish to Catch in New Hampshire?

We didn’t just choose five fish out of a hat and called them the best fish to catch in New Hampshire. We tried to include a wide variety of fish. That includes some that are common, those that don’t require a special rig to reel in, as well as one or two for experts in the sport. That way, everyone can find something to like in all these fish.

Infographic showing the five best fish to catch in New Hampshire this summer.
The Common Carp is one of the fish you can catch in New Hampshire this summer!

1. Northern Pike


The northern pike can be up to 4 feet long.

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The northern pike or Esox lucius is one of the largest freshwater fish that you can catch in New Hampshire. They can measure anywhere from 2 feet long to just about 4 feet long and regularly reach 20 pounds or more in weight.

Northern pikes aren’t heavy-bodied. They’re thin, usually greenish or gray with plenty of white spots on their sides. Their underside is white or even an off-white yellowish color. You can catch these creatures throughout the summer and even into the fall.

These fish are usually found in rivers, lakes, and streams where they live in rocky-bottomed areas with vegetation as adults. Remember that they’re aggressive fish, so move to new areas quickly if they aren’t biting where you’re at. Also, watch for their teeth when removing hooks!

2. Lake Trout

Lake trout makes tasty meals.


The lake trout can be found in lakes throughout New Hampshire. They are especially found in places like Second Connecticut Lake, Squam Lake, Newfound Lake, and others in the northern and central portions of New Hampshire.

These fish made their way onto our list of the best fish to catch in New Hampshire because they are good to catch for sport while also making a tasty meal in the wild. The largest members of this species caught within the border of New Hampshire measured 3.5 feet long and weighed over 30 pounds!

These fish are known for having a green or gray body and a light dorsal side, a forked tail, and light-colored spots that are found on their body and fins. If you’re trying to find these fish, make sure to stick to cooler waters and keep an eye on your rod because these fish like to grab the bait and get out of the area!

3. Common Carp

common carp

The common carp frequents slow-moving rivers and lakes.

©Edvard Ellric/

You’re most likely to find the common carp in slow-moving rivers and some lakes in New Hampshire. In particular, you’ll have the best luck finding them in the Connecticut River and the Lower Merrimack River along with Mascoma Lake.

They are usually found in water less than 10 feet deep, and they like having some cover available. They will congregate under overhanging vegetation and even near structures like bridges.  

These fish aren’t the most common ones in the state, but they aren’t exactly rare. We included them on this list because they are great fish to catch for food. Also, they’re not so difficult to catch that a moderately experienced fisher couldn’t pull one in.

While you may not set any records for this fish since it rarely weighs more than 20 pounds, a mature carp is commonly 10 pounds or more.

4. Striped Bass

Striped Bass

Striped bass is very popular for sport.


The striped bass is the state saltwater fish of New Hampshire, and it certainly belongs on the list of the best fish to catch in New Hampshire this summer. Stripers are great fish to catch because they can get so large, and they are very edible. They do well when they are roasted, sauteed, and broiled.

These fish are very popular for sport as well. They can measure anywhere from 10 to 50 inches long and they can weigh over 40 pounds! The best part is that these fish are frequently caught near the coast in estuaries rather than out in the open sea.

Striped bass are often caught near the rocky shorelines of the Atlantic Coast. For example, they’re along the oceanfront in Wallis Sands State Park, North Hampton State Park, and the tidal estuary of Great Bay. Most people catch striped bass by using live bait, so you may want to stock up. Moreover, you’ll want to attempt catching these fish in the early morning or around dusk when they’re ready to feed.  

5. Bluefin Tuna

Types of rare fish - Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin tuna can grow very large.


Finally, we have the bluefin tuna. This is a great fish to catch off the coast of New Hampshire. Being that this state is on the Atlantic Coast, we have to include at least one marine creature that is tough to catch. The bluefin tuna is not something that you’ll want to try catching from the shoreline, so get in a boat and head out from the Hampton coast to find them.  

These fish are very large, with a rhombus-shaped body and a conical head. Their bodies are dark blue with gray on the underside. Also, they’re known for having smaller pectoral fins than other tuna.

Bluefin tuna can weigh over 1,000 pounds at their largest, and many of them weigh 300 pounds on average. For reference, the largest one ever caught in New Hampshire waters was almost 950 pounds, and they grow several feet large.

This is a fish that is best attempted with the aid of professionals. You’ll need a boat, fresh bait, the right waters to catch them. A little bit of power and luck to bring one onboard aren’t bad, either!

Now that we have looked at the best fish to catch in New Hampshire this summer, it’s time for you to determine what kinds you want to catch. Make sure you prepare yourself with the right rod and bait before you head out. It’s also important to keep an eye on the weather. Lastly, research what sort of wild animals live near the bodies of water you intend to fish in.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Martin Pelanek/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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