This small cove use to be a smelt haven. The local fishermen would net smelt during the spring run. Rainbow smelt still exist in the lake, but not to the levels that actually support harvest. The DNR maintains a healthy population for the landlocked salmon and trout that call Conway Lake home. I’m sure that the pickerel, largemouth, and smallmouth bass take their fair share of the smelt, as well.
This year on Conway Lake I fished from a Jackson Kayak “Coosa”. The Coosa is better suited for fast-moving water like the Saco, Androscoggin, and Ellis Rivers of the White Mountains. The Coosa performs well on small lakes and ponds, like Conway Lake or Labrador Pond.
The next challenge was the fabled ”Dog Days of Summer”, when the fish activity can decrease because of the heat. While we were in the White Mountains, the weather in New Hampshire can still be hot during the summer. There was a difference though; the water temperature of Conway Lake read nearly 78°F,and in the shallower waters touched 80°Faccording to the Raymarine “Dragonfly”. In the past, the water temperature always felt like the low to mid-70s.
The lures I used this trip were: the Rapala “Jointed Shallow Shad Rap” in crawdad and firetiger; Rapala “Scatter Rap Shallow” in crawdad; a white Poe crankbait; and a Rapala “Shad Rap” in crawdad. In addition to these hard-body crankbaits, I also fished the Captain Ken’s Frog and the ZMan “Pop FrogZ” in areas covered with lily pads. I also fished the ZMan “Sawtail WormZ” in a Texas rig.
During the last week of August, I tried using the Captain Ken’s Frog in the lily pads. I fished the ZMan Sawtail WormZ Texas rig along the rocky shorelines and rocky points to the south of the Greely Family Cabin, towards a small hidden cove. The first day resulted in three small smallmouth bass, with the largest at 11”.
Day two had me taking the Coosa on the same float plan. I did not have any luck along the path heading to the hidden cove. When I reached the cove, I decided to fish the frog lure in a shallow area with small openings in a blanket of lily pads. I managed to get some blowups, but no hookups. Working my out of the lily pad area and back into some deeper water, I started throwing the Texas rig towards the rocks and downed trees back in this cove. I finally got a good hookup on what felt like a nice fish, and landed a nice largemouth bass.
As we approached the end of August, the fishing still was hard, but the targeted smallmouth bass started to get bigger. I don’t know if changing over to the crawdad-colored Rapala Shad Rap was the key for locating the smallies. The biggest one measured nearly 16”. I also managed to land a nice pickerel.
When September arrived, the smallmouth fishing on Conway Lake turned on. Heading north from the cabin, every cast with the jointed Shad Rap produced a smallie. They were not huge, but the action that I was experiencing gave me the impression that the bass were jumping out of the crystal-clear water and taking the lure before it landed. After three or four smallmouth bass, I managed to get a good hookup by a small rock island with a 17”largemouth. When I reached a bigger island on the north side, I landed several smallmouth bass in the 15” – 16” range. This day of bass fishing was just super.
The fishing action on Conway Lake continued to improve as the water and the air temperatures started cooling down. I managed another nice 18”largemouth bass and several more smallmouth bass in that same 15” – 16” range. I even hooked a small fallfish, a perch, and a pickerel. I had a smallmouth bass decide to take revenge and put one of the barbs of a treble hook deep into my index finger. This resulted in me paddling back to the cabin to have Marian run me to the clinic for a hook removal. By the end of the week, I managed to get a truly nice 18” smallmouth bass.
After fishing out of the Coosa for two weeks on Conway Lake, I was really impressed. The comfort of the Jackson Elite Seat, the stability of the Coosa while standing, the tracking of the kayak when drifting alone the shoreline, and the stealth of the Coosa when working the shallow waters for bass really worked for me. For these reasons, I would recommend the Coosa as a great bass fishing kayak. As for Conway Lake, give this crystal-clear lake a try for fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass. This lake holds some huge bass for New Hampshire.