MADISON — The warmer weather has driven many of us off the rivers. Water temperatures over 70 degrees force the trout in our rivers to cold water refuges to ride out the heat wave. For those of you jonesing to fish regardless of weather, it’s time to head to a lake and top-water fish for bass.
Bass fishing in the Mount Washington Valley is a hidden treasure. While anglers flock to Winnepausauke and Squam Lake over in the Lakes Region, we here in the valley head to Silver Lake in Madison and have trophy bass water with no crowds and very little competition.
Silver Lake is a sleeping giant when it comes to bass fishing.
Access to Silver Lake can be had at several locations. We like to launch our canoe at the beach on the west side of the lake. This is close to our favorite bass fishing area. We paddle down the lake casting to shore and any signs of structure or aquatic growth. Silver Lake’s water is so clear that you can see right to the bottom along the shore.
Flies we like to use are all bass poppers. You will never forget your first, or your last, bass taken with this method. Throwing a foam popper, like AD’s Better Frog, will elicit a strike at any moment. Sometimes the strike is so close to the canoe, we get splashed!
Spin casting a Hula Popper or jointed Jitter Bug will bring the same response. On a full moon, we fish into the night and watch the bass take our offerings in the moonlight.
As a special treat, we will choose to fish with a guide. We like to fish with Clay Groves, Fish Nerds Guide Service, on Silver Lake. Clay has a state-of-the-art pontoon boat with room for up to eight people.
We will hire Clay for the day. We fish hard in the morning. The pontoon boat can get us into the shallower bays of Silver Lake and into some prime bass locations. The boat also can move us around the lake faster than we can move using the canoe.
During the middle of the day, Clay will take us to a quiet cove, and we get to swim and cool down, just enjoying the day on the lake. The pontoon boat has enough get up and go to tow us around on a tube and so there is fun for the whole family. It makes a relaxing time for everyone before we get back to the fishing.
Fishing the evening with Clay lets us go back to the bays where we had luck earlier in the day or to explore other parts of the lake. Early in the season, we even target the aggressive rainbow trout while they sip midges over the 160-foot-deep basin in the lake. The rainbow trout get big and feisty. They are a blast to cast to and a blast to watch the aerial antica as they try to escape from the fly they just grabbed.
Silver Lake has excellent ice fishing in the winter. We will revisit Silver Lake in this column once ice has covered the lake.
Tip Of The Week
When top-water fishing for bass, bigger is always better. The loud plop of your popper or lure hitting the water is a dinner bell for ravenous bass. We like to use patterns that look like frogs as this is a favorite bass food during the summer season. If frog does not appear to be on the bass menu, change to a mouse pattern. Yes, bass eat mice.
Steve Angers is a native son to the Conway area. He has been consumed by fishing since catching his first wild brook trout at the base of Champney Falls.