The Lamprey River is a popular resource for recreational fishing. Fishing from the shoreline or by wading is popular at a number of reaches that are accessible by the public from roads or park areas. The flat-water areas in Epping and Raymond provide recreational anglers with opportunities to fish from small boats. In the Newmarket section of the river, where it is impounded by the Macallen Dam, fishing opportunities can be accessed by larger watercraft (powerboats) via the Piscassic Street boat ramp. Aside from these locations the Lamprey River above Raymond and each of the tributaries – North Branch River, Pawtuckaway River, North River, Little River and the Piscassic River – must be accessed on foot.
The fisheries resource of the Lamprey River and the tributaries includes both coldwater and warmwater species and a variety of both native and introduced species that are popular among recreational anglers. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, rainbow trout, and brown trout are all species that have been either historically or currently introduced to the Lamprey River system and were found within the designated segment during the 2003 baseline survey. A number of native fish species are also popular with recreational anglers. Included in this group are: redbreast sunfish, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, eastern chain pickerel, and Atlantic salmon.
Eastern brook trout, a fish species native to New Hampshire, do occur within the Lamprey River but appear to be limited in distribution to the headwaters. Trout are the most targeted fish species by recreational anglers within the Lamprey River. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the Great Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited both routinely stock trout into the Lamprey River. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department releases hatchery-reared trout into the Lamprey River in the towns of Deerfield, Raymond, Epping, Lee, and Durham.
Although returns are generally small and variable by year, upriver spring movements of Atlantic salmon occur within the Lamprey River. During 2007, a single fish passed through the fish ladder at Macallen Dam in Newmarket (Dionne, personal communication 2008). In addition to Atlantic salmon, over 55,000 river herring (alewife and blueback herring), 255 sea lamprey and four American shad passed through the Macallen Dam and into the lower reach of the Lamprey River during the spring run (Dionne, personal communication 2008). These fish are currently able to access the river as far upstream as the Wiswall Dam (approximately three river miles).
A Denil fish passage is proposed for the Wiswall Dam and completion of this project will allow anadromous fish access to an additional 45 miles of riverine habitat in the mainstem of the Lamprey River and its associated tributaries.