The 10 Best Lakes for Ice Fishing in New Hampshire

Written by Kristin Hitchcock
Updated: April 16, 2023
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New Hampshire is home to many passionate ice fishers that spend their winter huddled in huts, hoping to reel in some of the hardest-to-catch species. There are tons of different fishing locations in New Hampshire, so there is something new to do even if you’re an experienced fisherman. Whether you’re just looking for something new or something unique, we’ve listed some of the best lakes for ice fishing in New Hampshire below. Keep in mind, regulations can differ depending on the lake. Therefore, be sure to read the current regulations before you take to the ice.

1. Lake Winnipesaukee

One of the most popular lakes for ice fishing in New Hampshire is Lake Winnipesaukee. Lake Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire’s largest lake at more than 44,000 acres, which is about 71 square miles. Its size is comparable to the famous Lake Champlain and Moosehead Lake, which are also popular ice-fishing spots. There is an annual derby here put on by the Meredith Rotary Club. This derby has high cash prizes, which often attracts many fishermen each year.

While there are many fish available throughout the year, salmon cannot be taken through the ice. Therefore, if you go ice-fishing here, you’ll need to catch other fish instead, such as cusk. You can also find smallmouth bass in the drop-off areas of the lake. There are several islands where these fish like to hang out, too.

Lake Winnipesaukee offers many access points. One of the most popular is the public boat ramp in Meredith. However, there are several others scattered around the lake, too.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire.

© Fagan

2. Massabesic Lake

This lake covers about 2,500 acres and provides practically all the drinking water for Manchester, which is located near the lake. This lake holds about 15 billion gallons of water, allowing the town to take plenty of water without really draining the lake.

On top of providing drinking water, the lake also has plenty of fishing opportunities. For instance, it is stocked with trout of several species each year. The lake also has self-sustaining populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Therefore, there are lots of fishing opportunities during many of the months.

This lake isn’t terribly deep. However, there are some larger holes that reach about 50 feet deep in some cases. There are many public access areas, as well. Therefore, getting on the lake is pretty straightforward.

Massabesic Lake, in Manchester, New Hampshire

Lake Massabesic covers over 25,00 acres in Manchester and Auburn, New Hampshire.

© Bilous

3. Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake is a smaller lake that doesn’t get as much traffic. Therefore, it’s a good option for someone looking for a more solitary fishing experience. This lake is only 54 acres. There are many other lakes nearby, so many people tend to choose larger lakes. This lake offers just about everything the larger lakes do — just in a miniature size — making it one of the best lakes for ice fishing in New Hampshire.

Plus, the lake is stocked with brown, rainbow, and brook trout. Therefore, you can easily find most kinds of trout in this lake. Plus, there is public access on the western shore.

4. Squam Lake

Despite being in the shadow of Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake is a great opportunity for fishermen. At 6,791 acres, it has a range of different species. For instance, you’ll find perch, pickerel, lake trout, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass.

There is easy access to this lake, too. If Lake Winnipesaukee is a bit too crowded for you, you may want to consider visiting this lake, instead. It offers a similar fishing experience on a smaller scale.

Squam Lake

Squam Lake is northwest of Lake Winnipesaukee.

© Heid

5. Tewksbury Pond

As the name suggests, this is more of a pond than a lake. It takes up only 47 acres and only goes down to about 50 feet deep. The state stocks the pond with brown trout in the spring and fall, which is the main reason it draws fishermen.

You can find other species of trout as well. Rainbow and brook trout are also stocked in the pond periodically. However, because it is so small, there aren’t many sustaining fish populations. If you’re interested in trout, this may be a solid option for you.

6. Lake Winnisquam

This lake isn’t one of the most popular in the area, but you can still find a healthy population of rainbow trout, bass, white perch, and lake trout here. All of these species are pretty easy to catch within the lake, where ice fishing is open from January to March.

If you’re interested in rainbow trout, most experts recommend fishing in shallower parts of the lake, which is 4,214 acres. However, lake trout often congregate in the deeper part of the lake.

Lake Winnisquam

Lake Winnisquam is the fourth largest lake that is entirely in New Hampshire, with over 4,000 acres.

© Broder Van Dyke

7. First Connecticut Lake

This lake is positioned in the far northeastern portion of the state, so many people have to drive a bit to get to it. However, it is 2,800 acres long, making it plenty big and more than able to support several fishermen.

It has a healthy population of many types of fish, including lake trout and cusk. Plus, much of the lake’s shoreline is covered by forests. Therefore, it offers a more secluded option for fishermen looking for more secluded fishing spots. This is the top reason so many fishermen like coming to First Connecticut Lake, making it one of the best lakes for ice fishing in New Hampshire.

First Connecticut Lake

First Connecticut Lake is the largest lake on the First Connecticut River offering some of the best fishing in New England.


8. Newfound Lake

Newfound Lake features two lighthouses and is in a beautiful part of the state. The lake is 4,451 acres and often a destination for ice fishers interested in a more scenic view. It’s one of the best lakes for ice fishing in New Hampshire and it even has its own annual ice-fishing derby. You can purchase tickets at one of the local boat launches and partake.

You can find many different fish species here. However, the rainbow trout is the biggest draw. The lake produces large rainbow trout every season, so it’s a great place for those looking for larger trout. You can also find lake trout, though they aren’t usually as plentiful here.

Newfound Lake

New Hampshire’s Newfound Lake has around 22 miles of shoreline.

© Wilson

9. Lake Sunapee

Lake Sunapee is best known for its crazy water clarity. You can see down to around 30 feet in some places! Of course, you won’t be seeing down nearly this far when ice fishing. Both types of bass can be found in this lake, which are the main species fishermen seem to go after here.

There are several boat launches on Lake Sunapee that allow for easy access. This lake, which covers 4,136 acres, does sometimes freeze later than others, so be sure to check if it is open to ice fishing before heading out.

Lake Sunapee

Lake Sunapee is the fifth largest lake located entirely in New Hampshire and contains 11 islands.


10. Highland Lake

This lake is very small at only 700 acres. Therefore, it is considered one of the least challenging lakes in New Hampshire, as you can move across it much easier. The fish tend to be easier to find as well because they just don’t have as many places to go.

Usually, anglers look for smallmouth and largemouth bass on Highland Lake. However, in the shallow areas, you can also find pickerel, perch, and crappie. There is a boat ramp on the lake that allows for easy access. Because this lake is smaller, there isn’t as much access difficulty as with some of the other lakes.

Summary of the 10 Best Lakes for Ice Fishing in New Hampshire

Here is a list of the 10 best lakes for ice fishing in the state of New Hampshire:

RankLakeAreaTypes of Fish
1Lake WinnipesaukeeMore than 44,000 acresCusk, smallmouth bass
2Massabesic Lake2,500 acresTrout, smallmouth and
largemouth bass
3Mirror Lake54 acresBrown, rainbow, and brook trout
4Squam Lake6,791 acresPerch, pickerel, lake trout,
smallmouth and largemouth bass
5Tewksbury Pond47 acresBrown, rainbow, and brook trout
6Lake Winnisquam4,214 acresRainbow and lake trout,
bass, white perch
7First Connecticut Lake2,800 acresLake trout, cusk
8Newfound Lake4,451 acresRainbow and lake trout
9Lake Sunapee4,136 acresSmallmouth and largemouth bass
10Highland Lake700 acresSmallmouth and largemouth bass,
pickerel, perch, crappie

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © irwin

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About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

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