Sunday, September 6, 2015

Ol’ Pork Chop and Smallies of Conway Lake



Conway Lake is located east of the White Mountains in New Hampshire and is part of the Saco River watershed area. The lake is approximately 1,300 acres and the deepest section of the lake is 45 feet. Fish species include the chain pickerel, brown bullhead, landlocked salmon, largemouth bass, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass.

There is a public boat ramp located off Mill Street in Conway. Also there is a canoe/kayak launch at the south end of the lake. Access to this primitive launch is located along Potter Road. Parking for the primitive launch is off road and limited.

For me, Conway Lake is a wonderful fishery for smallmouth bass. The lake structure consist of stumps, fallen trees along the shoreline, weedy areas along deep water drop-offs, rocky shorelines, rocky points, and submerged rocky islands. These structures make ideal areas to target for the bass and pickerel. For my two weeks on Conway Lake I will be using a Rat-L-Trap lures for targeting bass.

Water temperature according to the Raymarine Dragonfly ranged from 77 – 79 degrees. Water clarity in my opinion water was clearer then on previous trips. Although this is my opinion but talking to some of the local residents and their observations were the same. In fact one day, I managed to observe a loon chasing after my lure under water. Another observation was a large snapping turtle waiting to ambush some type of prey. Whenever I stop a snapping turtle on Conway Lake I think about the legend of Ol’ Pork Chop. 

According to the year-round residents around Conway Lake there is a very old and large snappy turtle named “Pork Chop”. The turtle received its namesake because a summer resident claims to have fed the turtle pork chops each year. Stories of Ol’ Pork Chop are used successfully to coax children out of the water. However there are no known snapping turtle attacks reported on people. At the north end of the lake resides a snapping turtle called “Scar” due to a prominent laceration across his face. Scar does not like pork chops but prefers to favor leftover pizza crust.

Smallmouth fishing on Conway started out a little slow but started to pick up about half way through the first week.  During this time period I worked water depths in the range of 3 – 6 feet using the Rat-L-Trap lure getting some hook ups on several small size smallmouth bass. I did manage to get a nice largemouth bass as well.

Using the same lure I decided to try some deeper water in the range of 6 – 12 feet of water just a little further away from the rocky points and sunken rock islands. In these areas I managed to locate some bigger smallies but the schools also appeared to consist of bass around 12 inches. Moving to the deeper water I did manage a few bass in the range of 15 – 18 inches.

If you are in or visit Conway, New Hampshire I would highly suggest that you check out Conway Lake for smallmouth bass. This lake is getting to be known as a trophy lake for bass in the New Hampshire area. While on the water watch out for Ol’ Pork Chop and Scar; they just might give up their favorite food choice for that stringer of fish that you have on your stringer.

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