by Tim Moore
Labor Day signifies the end of summer. Schools are back in session, summer homes get closed for the season, and vacation time has been used up. It’s a depressing time for many, but not for me. After sweating it out through the month of August, one of the hottest on record, I’m ready for the steady fishing that fall brings, especially on Winnipesaukee.
The season for catching lake trout and salmon on Lake Winnipesaukee closes after September 30. These remaining few weeks are absolutely the best time to get out and jig for lakers. Not only are the fish stacked up and hungry, but there is far less fishing pressure. Less pressure means the fish are more likely to bite. During some of my mid-week guided trips, we are often the only boat out there.
Fishing pressure plays a huge role in how actively the lake trout bite. On weekend days prior to Labor Day, it isn’t uncommon to have 15 or 20 boats, with 2-4 anglers per boat, all fishing in the same area. Imagine what it must look like below the surface with jigs bouncing up and down and spoons being trolled by every second. At some point the fish figure it out and stop biting as much. Mornings always start out good, but as soon as the fishing pressure increases the bite slows or stops completely.
The opposite is true after Labor Day. There are days when the fish never stop biting. When we are vertical jigging, sometimes we let our lure free spool until it stops, close the bail, set the hook, and fight the fish. Then repeat until the bite slows or we get sick of catching fish, which does happen. Just don’t get too excited and forget to bring the fish up slowly, handle them with care, and let the big ones go. Lake trout are very slow growing. A 30” lake trout is around 40 years old. If you fish Winnipesaukee often, you know there aren’t that many of them that big.
Tim Moore is a nationally-recognized professional angler and fishing guide. He owns and operates Tim Moore Outdoors, LLC. He is a member of the New England Outdoors Writers Association and the producer of Tim Moore Outdoors TV. Visit www.TimMooreOutdoors.com for more information.