Merrimack River

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Fishing in Merrimack River

Whether you’re an angler from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or any other place on the East Coast, chances are that fishing the Merrimack River is on your to-do list. And how can it not be, when it boasts everything a fisherman wants? We’re talking about an excellent fish population and waters that only get clearer every year.
If you’re coming to this watershed, you’ve probably set your sights on lunker Striped Bass, the most popular catch on the river. Carp, Atlantic Salmon, and Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass follow close behind, as well as a variety of Trout that call these waters home. Fishing is usually open from January to mid-October, though some areas and species have special seasonality.
The best fishing spots are usually accessible by boat, so hiring a local guide to lead the way is always a good idea. Trips on offer vary from 4–9 hours, so it all depends on how much time you’d like to spend on the water.
The river is over 115 miles long, so there’s a wide array of fishing spots to choose from. If you’re fishing with a charter, you’ll probably start in Newburyport, Salisbury, Nashua, or Manchester.
Wherever you cast your line, from central New Hampshire to coastal Massachusetts, rest assured that fishing the Merrimack River will be a blast!

Rules & Regulations

Local fishing charters cover all the necessary gear and licenses. Because Merrimack River flows through two states, some regulations and catch limits vary, but your guide will inform you about everything you need to know.

Merrimack River
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Merrimack River Fishing Seasons

It’s cold in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, so if you’re brave enough to hit the water, you’ll be rewarded with some Trout and Bass. Just remember to dress for the weather!

It’s still chilly out there, but that shouldn’t discourage you, because it doesn’t discourage Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass from biting. In some parts of the river, you can also target Trout.

You can almost smell spring in the air, and with spring comes top-notch fishing. These days, you can target Carp, Bass, and Trout, as well as Atlantic Salmon in the Massachusetts section of the Merrimack.

If you live in Massachusetts and you’re in the mood for excellent Trout fishing, we’ve got good news!  The Merrimack’s Trout season opens in April. Meanwhile, the season for Atlantic Salmon is open in New Hampshire. Carp and Bass are available all over the river.

Take your pick of what you’d like to target this month – Salmon, Trout, Carp, and Bass are all in the cards. Mid-May marks the return of mighty Striped Bass that are officially entering the river, hungry and ready to fight.

This is one of the best months for fishing the Merrimack River! Stripers are strictly catch-and-release until mid-month, and if you’d like a mixed bag, Carp, Salmon, and other Bass species are active all over the river.

Come July, the whole river is your playground. Whether you’re on the water to catch some dinner or you’re looking for your biggest catch yet, you won’t be disappointed.

Fishing is still going strong in the middle of the summer, so if you’re in need of some reprieve from the heat, grab your rod and go. Atlantic Salmon, Trout, Carp, Striped Bass, and many others are on the menu.
In New Hampshire, Salmon fishing is open until the end of September, so if you’re on that section of the river, make the most of this month. Bass, Carp, and Trout are still very active all over the river.

Fall is officially upon us, which means that you should pay extra attention to the closing of the fishing seasons in your parts of the river. Fishing for Carp is open year-round, and Bass are available in Massachusetts.

As the days are becoming colder, there aren’t that many anglers on the river. Because the fishing pressure isn’t as strong, you can find some nice Carp and Bass swimming around.

The Merrimack River is usually quiet in December, as anglers are putting their rods away for the holidays. If you still find the time to get out, you can expect some Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, as well as Carp.

Merrimack River Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Merrimack River

Bass (Striped)

Bass (Striped)