Every time I do a video on Cusk fishing or how to cook it in a chowder I always get the question “what is a cusk”? Quite simply it is a fresh water cod. Known as “Lota lota” the fresh water cusk, eelpout, lingcod burbot, lawyer fish are all the same thing. It has different names all over the world but one thing is the same. The Cusk is one of the best eating fish swimming! Back in the 1770’s the last Royal Governor of New Hampshire had Jotham Rindge bring up some saltwater cusk to his estate and dump them into what is now known as Lake Wentworth. It is uncertain the fate of those saltwater cusk (Brosmius brosme} as the cusk in Lake Winnipesaukee are the Lota lota (fresh water cusk). The Winni cusk sticks to the deeper waters and comes in shallow to spawn, usually mid to late January. They like the rocky points and steep banks for feeding. Once they drop their eggs they are abandoned and the fish heads back to the deep water and once the ice is gone they basically hibernate until the ice sets in again. Their dark marble colored skin is perfect for blending in with the lake bottom. Once in a blue moon they are caught in the summer accidentally while trolling for Lake Trout (togue). If you have never fished for these you need to give it a try.
Big Al and I try and hit all the smelt camps in Maine. We recently went to Leightons in Bowdoinham and had a great time. The owner is always there and he is a great guy to talk to. Just seeing his office is worth the trip, not to mention the howling coyotes and the sound of the river as it rises and settles with the tide. We also got to try out our custom Randy Rod Co Spicy Noodle Jigging Rods! I have to say they are The Most sensitive rod I have ever personally used. Randy puts his heart and soul into every rod he makes and the all work in their unique ways. The limit of smelt is 1 gallon per person.