About Fly Fishing In The North Country

This page is dedicated to fly fishing in Pittsburg and surrounding locations.  I will attempt to provide you with up to date fishing information. Where the fish are and what to use to catch them. I will also keep you current on the local weather,  river flows for the upper Connecticut River and other useful information.

Please remember that johnsnhweather.com is not affiliated with the town of Pittsburg, NH or any business in the area.

The information provided is my opinion not that of anyone else, unless noted.

 

LIVE RIVER FLOW INFORMATION

Live Connecticut River Flow at 2nd Ct Lake Dam, Pittsburg NH

Live Connecticut River Flow at 1st CT Lake Dam, Pittsburg NH

 

The map below was swiped from Lopstick's web page, thanks Lopstick, this is a nice map of the trophy section.

You will usually find me fishing at the Bridge Pool, however, any spot from the Dam Pool to the Step Pools can be great fishing and I have fished them all. 

 





Weekly Fishing Report and NH Fish and Game Information 



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New Hampshire Fishing Report – August 28, 2015

Not much summer left but still lots of fishing opportunities to be had! Time to get in that coastal excursion you’ve been talking about or that float trip down the Connecticut River. The fish are waiting for you!

• Trout stocking: read this year’s summaries at fishnh.com/fishing/trout-stocking.html. • Fishing licenses: fishnh.com. Don't forget - kids under 16 fish free in NH! • Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/nhfishandgame • Now on Pinterest: pinterest.com/nhfishandgame ________________________________________

North Country

As I sat down to write this week’s fishing report, I asked myself “What exactly does late August fishing provide?” I always try to report on opportunities relevant to the time of year, so I wondered what we can expect right now. I quickly realized that we can explore tons of fishing in August. The water in some places is low and, in others it is very warm, but opportunities abound. Regardless of how you like to fish or what you like to catch, you can walk into any situation right now and satisfy your urge to catch fish. An old friend of mine visited northern New Hampshire and I sent him to a few of my favorite remote trout ponds. He likes to hike in with a float tube and cast a 2-weight fly rod at rising brook trout. He was very successful and would be upset with me if I gave away any of his secrets but most of the fish he caught were on elk hair caddis flies. The natural bug selection was slight, he told me, but skating dry flies slowly across calm water often triggered a strike. It is important to remember that most of these waterbodies are either not stocked or aerially stocked with fingerlings and the way one defines a “trophy fish” must be reevaluated. My friend landed many fish with a few exceeding ten inches and he went home a happy man. Another gentleman stopped by my office with a few questions and let me know how good the bass fishing has been. He had been fishing Martin Meadow Pond in Lancaster and Forest Lake and Mirror Lake, both in Whitefield. He mentioned that water levels are higher now than last year at this time and he had great success casting small spinner baits through/near aquatic vegetation. He picked up smallmouth, largemouth and the occasional pickerel. Water temperatures were in the low seventies and he expects the fast action to last another few weeks. --Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region

Just a brief report this week folks. We have nearly completed our annual pelagic forage fish surveys on the “large lakes” that we manage for salmon and lake trout. These surveys are done after the sun goes down using mobile hydroacoustic equipment (a high-end fishfinder if you will). We are able to measure forage (primarily rainbow smelt) abundance this way which helps us “fine tune” our management of salmon and lake trout. Pending detailed analysis of the data, it appears to be an “above average” year for smelt populations. --John Viar, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

Been a slow couple of weeks down in the Keene region as far as fishing reports go. Just like the fish sometimes, anglers can be ‘tight-lipped” about what’s biting. Drop me line (pun intended!) at gabriel.gries@wildlife.nh.gov to let me know how you are doing. Tight lines! --Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

The downstream migration of juvenile river herring (alewives and blueback herring) leaving Lake Winnisquam has begun. These fish, the progeny of adults stocked earlier in May, will make their way down the Winnipesaukee River into the Merrimack River and ultimately to sea from now until early November. Similar to fishing for striped bass by imitating silversides, Atlantic herring, menhaden, and other saltwater baitfish species, anglers can use this once naturally occurring exodus to their advantage while targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass (and other predator fish) in the Merrimack River. Already, we’ve seen large congregations of impressively sized bass in areas where the herring are either funneled through or locations in the rivers where they take a break to feed. Extra attention should be placed around these staging areas, for example, within impounded areas (upstream of the Garvin Falls, Hooksett, and Amoskeag dams), below these dams, and in the backwater/oxbow sections of the Merrimack (across the river from the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord). Also, be sure to look for bird activity for signs of large congregations of outwardly moving river herring. Actively feeding gulls, herons, mergansers, and cormorants in the rivers from now through fall are a good indication that a school of river herring is moving through. A school of river herring is fairly easy to identify. The size of the school can range from a few hundred to numbers in the thousands. Usually, they appear to be in no hurry, leisurely feeding, following one another. If something spooks part of the school, the entire groups reacts with an erratic change in direction. During the day, the school is likely very close to some form of protective cover or in deeper water. At dawn and dusk they tend to break away from the school and feed on the surface. This can often have the effect of what looks like rainfall on the water surface. Anglers should attempt to use tackle that mimics the appearance of river herring, since both largemouth and smallmouth bass have been conditioned to be aware of their migration. The juvenile river herring can vary in length between three to five inches long, have very large eyes and a well-defined forked tail (see a photo at http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/profiles/alewife.html). They have an extremely compressed body shape, which gives the appearance of a very flat fish when looking downward on them. They often turn on their sides while feeding, revealing a shiny bright white or flashy coloration when reflected by sunlight. While upright, herring appear to be very dark or olive in color. Several lures, spoons, and streamers can resemble this appearance. It’s likely that you already have something in your tackle bag or fly box that would work. Several options are also available which are designed to target striped bass feeding on herring species in salt water. I recommend trolling and casting smaller spoons, including Crippled Herring, herring spoons, and silver wobblers. Several more traditional bass lures (crank baits, soft plastics, spinner baits, and top water lures) are readily available in river herring color and appearance. Some recommended streamers include the herring streamer fly, the herring bucktail, and appropriately sized and colored Clouser minnows. --Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

Squid are still a big presence in the Piscataqua. The high tides will be late at night starting this weekend into early next week, a great time to target squid and bass from your nearest lighted dock or bridge. Stripers are feeding heavily on squid in the river right now and using squid for bait will greatly increase your odds of catching a bass. The few remaining in Hampton Harbor have been hitting about an hour or two after high tide. Successful shore fishermen in Seabrook report that clams are working well. Remember to report your striped bass fishing trips online! http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/surveys/striped-bass.html Attention: Haddock will be closed starting September 1. To sign up for text alerts from NOAA Fisheries regarding in-season groundfish regulation changes visit http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/Sustainable/recfishing/ --Becky Heuss, Marine Fisheries Biologist

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FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH RESTORATION:A USER-PAY, USER-BENEFIT PROGRAM Researching and managing fisheries and teaching people about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at: http://www.fishnh.com/funding/wsfr.html

________________________________________ Follow us on Twitter | Find us on Facebook | Pin It on Pinterest | Watch us on YouTube

Copyright 2015 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources for 150 years. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/about/usage-policy.html Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov



New Hampshire Fishing Report – August 13, 2015

Try going "old school" during the waning days of August and give "horn pouting" a try -- or a re-visit if you haven't done it in a while. Plenty of opportunity for "pouts" to be had in the Granite State! Also in this week's report are some tips for catching tasty white perch. Everyone should have fish at least once a week as part of a nutritious diet and white perch can fit the bill. Get in some fishing before the kid’s go back to school!

• Trout stocking: read this year’s summaries at fishnh.com/fishing/trout-stocking.html. • Fishing licenses: fishnh.com. Don't forget - kids under 16 fish free in NH! • Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/nhfishandgame • Now on Pinterest: pinterest.com/nhfishandgame

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North Country





Jeez folks, my work schedule has got the best of me lately. I’ve been gearing up for our annual "Grant Weekend" where we’ve been monitoring brook trout populations for a number of years in the Dead Diamond River watershed, primarily located in the Second College Grant just north of Errol. Hope to be back next time with a full report. --Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Lakes Region

With more and more requests for "casual" family shore fishing, a prime opportunity for a relaxing, late summer's eve is the often overlooked "horned pout," technically brown (and also yellow) bullhead – the nocturnal, small "catfish" common to abundant in so many New Hampshire lakes, ponds, and even rivers. "Horn pouting" seems to have become a somewhat lost art; back when as many fished for the table, Friday night meant rounding up the family and hitting the local "pout" pond. Maybe such simplicity is just "too much" for modern anglers! No fancy boat, no getting up before dawn, no $300 reels, we are talking (as the "pout" will once caught, hence the latter portion of their name) down and dirty, lawn chair, forked-stick fun where the entire family can line the shore by lantern light – with minimal expense and effort. Special bait concoctions work, but plunking out a couple night crawlers on a slip-sinker rig (large, long-shank hook best for removal) will catch all the pout you want. With biting insects waning in late summer, one less excuse to get the family to water’s edge. And what better way to instill the wonder, magic, and mystery of a starry August night – the bullfrog’s jug-o-rum; a cricket chorus; an amplified, unidentified splash! in the distance; the Milky Way; a shooting star, or maybe many more, if correctly timed with the Perseid meteor showers. Many, many ponds can provide "pout" paradise, but an overlooked location is the fertile bays of large lakes, where some of the largest bullhead can be caught...that said, smaller pout lightly battered and pan seared, the fried "chip" tail an additional delicacy, is the real trophy! One note of caution: the "horned" part of the name derives from the dorsal (top) and pectoral (side) fin spines, which can give a noticeable sting! Simply hold the pout from the locked pectoral fins (the pout locks them outward as defense) with a "forked" index and middle finger grip…sounds complicated, but not really! A couple grips and you’ll be an expert... Large-lakes "trollers," at the risk of the proverbial broken record, the summertime thermocline pattern remains, with some adjustment slightly deeper into the 38-45 foot range (although as many anglers still report success at 30-35 feet, especially at daybreak) for landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, and active lake trout. Some anglers find success even deeper, especially later into morning on the brightest, sunniest days. As always, lake trout seem to cooperate anywhere from these depth ranges (daybreak) to bottom – they really are a different "critter" entirely, with knowledgeable anglers employing very specific techniques that can produce lake trout all day long….maybe a future report, if time allows... --John Viar, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

My last report, which lacked any substance due to my lack of time on the water, was met with an outpouring of sympathy from local anglers who provided me with some great updates on local fishing. Thank you, all! I especially want to thank Mike Bulgajewski, Brad Burnett, Mike Canter, and Chris Russo for their emails. Silver Lake (Harrisville) has been producing some bigger smallmouth bass during early mornings with lots of 1-pound bass being caught during mid-day. Rainbow trout have also been cooperating there along the eastern shoreline. Swanzey Lake is good right now for smallmouths as well and suggestions including fishing plastics deep and slow during the day and switching to topwaters at dusk. Bronzebacks are also hitting in the evening at Spoonwood Lake and in the Connecticut River in deep shaded holes and around downed trees. Walleyes are reported to be hitting jigs and deep running crankbaits in deeper holes in the Connecticut River. Largemouth action is good in numerous small ponds in Marlborough, Fitzwilliam, and Troy. At Forest Lake in Winchester, try deeper water, docks, and the channel near the campground. One motivated angler who likes to target trophy largemouth from dusk to midnight reports catching lots of big largemouth in Hubbard Pond and Contoocook Lake. Finally, another reader reported catching a limit of yellow perch at Spofford Lake and some nice white perch up to 2 1/4 pounds! Thanks again for all your reports and please continue to email any updates on fishing in the Monadnock Region to gabriel.gries@wildlife.nh.gov. --Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley



The pound-for-pound fight and table fare of white perch can receive high praise from many of New Hampshire's anglers. This species is not a true perch and actually is within the temperate bass family (Moronidae). This makes white perch more closely related to striped bass than to yellow perch. Although once found primarily in brackish and salt water, white perch have been introduced into several lakes, ponds and rivers in the state. Anglers should take great care that this species is not introduced into other waterbodies, for the species may have a negative impact on native fish species. When it comes to fishing for white perch in New Hampshire, I get the sense most anglers look to our larger lakes in the central part of the state. However, several lakes in the southeastern part of the state contain healthy populations of white perch, including Bow Lake (Strafford), Harvey Lake (Northwood), Northwood Lake (Northwood), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Pawtuckaway Lake (Nottingham), Pleasant Lake (Deerfield) and the Suncook Lakes (Barnstead). Some of these waterbodies have what is considered a stunted population of white perch. This means you may be more likely to catch smaller fish, and more effort may be required to target larger white perch. White perch primarily feed on insect larvae and smaller fish. They routinely migrate to shallow areas in low light periods and spend their time in areas with greater depth throughout the day. Generally, white perch are very aggressive, hitting countless different presentations when put in front of them. That being said, I've observed times, particularly during ice fishing, when the perch key in on one particular presentation and disregard everything else. In the peak of the summer, I have routinely, but incidentally, caught them while trolling around the thermocline. This is usually while targeting rainbow trout and salmon. I'm not sure if larger white perch prefer somewhat cooler temperatures, or if the species is targeting forage species that live there. While trolling, virtually any smaller spoon can work. Finding the right depth for a particular day may take some time. Casting along areas with sharp drop-offs, working the presentation into greater depths can also be productive. A variety of different panfish jigs, small deep diving crank baits, and spinners can be effective for white perch. There may be times when attaching live bait or imitation live bait to a panfish jig may help. Often, the species schools together by similar size, so be sure to continue focusing on the area once you confirm their presence. --Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Seacoast Area
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The striped bass are not biting but there are many other options on the seacoast. The tides are right this coming weekend to find surf clams along NH’s beaches. With these larger clams you can make chowder, strips, or fritters and you don’t even need a license! To plan your trip you want to consider the tide and make sure the area you intend to harvest from is open for shellfish harvest. Visit http://xml2.des.state.nh.us/CoastalAtlas/Shellfish_Map.html to check which areas are open to harvest and call 1-800-43CLAMS to get up to date information on current open/closed status which can change within season, often due to heavy rainfall. The key is, find a sandy beach and go at the lowest possible tide. Start looking in the sand near the low tide mark, you will be looking for small holes, they may become more evident if you stomp around on the sand. You can use a clam rake, but I find that my hands work just fine. Dig a couple inches down and you should find a clam. If you aren’t having luck, try moving up the beach a few feet, or you may find them under the surf depending on the water level, keep moving up and down the beach until you find one, and this is the line of beach you want to stick with.



Cunner is an often overlooked fish, but historically there was a commercial fishery for them. You may know them by the name perch, or sea perch. They are a reef fish that is closely related to the popular tautog, or blackfish. They are a small fish and are generally caught at 6 to 10 inches in length, but can grow to around 15 inches. Larger specimens provide fillets that are white and fairly firm. These are good fried or in a chowder. The cunner is ubiquitous in our waters and can be found anywhere there is structure. They have small mouths so you want to use a small hook, small pieces of clams and sea worms both work well, cunner are generally not caught on artificial lures. --Becky Heuss, Marine Fisheries Biologist



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FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH RESTORATION:A USER-PAY, USER-BENEFIT PROGRAM Researching and managing fisheries and teaching people about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at: http://www.fishnh.com/funding/wsfr.html

________________________________________ Follow us on Twitter | Find us on Facebook | Pin It on Pinterest | Watch us on YouTube Copyright 2015 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources for 150 years. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/about/usage-policy.html Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov

NH Fishing Report - July 2, 2015

Take Me Fishing! Greetings, anglers! Nothing says summer like fishing and the Fourth of July! Recent rains have brought streams and rivers up quite a bit so be cautious if you head to your favorite riverine haunt. Keep in mind that lots of potential fish food has washed into the rivers and ponds, so think about that when you consider what baits/lures to try. Good luck and stay safe out there this holiday weekend!

Stocking report: fishnh.com/fishing/trout-stocking.html Fishing licenses: fishnh.com. Don't forget - kids under 16 fish free in NH! Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/nhfishandgame Now on Pinterest: pinterest.com/nhfishandgame

NORTH COUNTRY

Brook Trout Smallmouth Bass I feel like the Fourth of July should have some temporal significance in terms of summer. Is it the official start of summer? Is it the middle? Is it the All Star break - time to recognize and evaluate successes and failures? Whatever it means, it has always been synonymous with fishing. I have already fished a lot this season and anticipate fishing much more. In that sense, the Fourth of July is a win-win situation for the New Hampshire angler. The summer feel really sank in last week, when I fished Lake Umbagog looking for smallmouth bass. Thanks to the rainy June, the water was high and cool and bass were especially frisky. Whenever I approach bass, I rig up three rods and keep them ready to cast at any minute. My first tactic was a heavy soft plastic worm. During rainy spells, I always throw worms thinking that natural ones have been washed into the water and fish should be gorging on them. On Umbagog, the response was immediate, and I caught a fish on my first cast. It was a 10-inch fish, but started my day off with a smile. Throughout the day, I caught fish on the surface casting a white Zara Spook, on the bottom with crayfish-colored tube bait, and in the middle of the water column retrieving a 4-inch jerk bait. It turned out to be a great day on the water. The rainy June has also extended opportunities for trout fishing. In more typical seasons, water temperatures would be rising and water levels would be lowering. Right now, our small brooks look very healthy, and I have heard good reports from some of my fishing buddies. From what I’m told, brook trout in small streams have been feeding heavily on aquatic insects that are being swept downstream by heavy flows. Casting a bead-head nymph (specifically a gold-ribbed hare’s ear) has been convincing a lot of fish to strike. In some of these streams, there is little room to cast and not much fly line is being utilized. Often, I will drop the fly straight down into rushing, foamy water and wait for a bite. It has been a good month to fish these small water bodies when you consider that the larger ones are too high and even discolored. I anticipate taking advantage of these conditions for at least another week. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

LAKES REGION

If you missed the rain this spring, well, it’s here now. Put the sprinklers away. The spring drought has been replaced by torrential rains and storms of late, with a storm event this past Sunday that saw Lakes Region high air temperatures topping out around 56oF with stiff east winds. Not so good for “human” fishing conditions, but welcome news for trout in many recently stocked rivers and streams, as well as wild brook trout, basking in the increased flows, terrestrial food input, and long-term habitat availability that, at this rate, will certainly be a far cry better into mid-late summer than appeared in mid-May. Mountain freestone headwaters are the flashiest, but also first to drop. Conditions will soon be primed for some fantastic stocked and vastly overlooked wild brook trout opportunities in the central White Mountains and foothills. Look for traditional rivers such as the Mad, (upper) Pemigewasset, Swift, Ellis, Saco, and others, as well as numerous tributaries, to provide plenty of sustained brook trout, and where stocked, rainbow trout opportunities, for some time to come - partly in thanks to Mother Nature’s recent liquid infusions. And of course, in stocked locales, primarily in thanks to the hard work and dedication of hatchery personnel, which in central NH, have just wrapped up stocking duties - translation: the trout are out there waiting! Bass seem to have had about the most confusing pre-/spawn/post-spawn periods possible in recent memory….low lake levels, warm to cool, drought to torrential cold rains, now higher lake levels, even for New England, conditions have really seemed to teeter. Fear not, plenty of solid reports on the largemouth and smallmouth fronts from local lakes such as Pemigewasset, Waukewan, Wentworth, and many more…including the large lakes such as Winnisquam and of course, big Winni. Not all bass within populations will spawn at the same time, or at all, so at any given point, there is usually plenty of action to be had. That said, time will tell how this year’s particular age class of bass fares over time. And for top-water aficionados on the big lakes, get on your favorite smallmouth bite before many of the quality fish head deep with the progressively warming surface temps….for deep-water specialists, e.g. drop-shotters, your time is nigh. Have a happy and safe Fourth…. - John Viar, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

The recent rains and cooler temperatures have really rejuvenated local streams and rivers to more early summer-like conditions. This is perfect timing for trout anglers looking to get out this holiday weekend to take advantage of these favorable stream conditions before things really heat up this summer. Students from the Monadnock Regional High School Fish and Game Club have been having fun learning how to fish a drop shot rig for bass recently with great success. They were fishing some local smallmouth bass waters and have caught some quality fish using this technique. Channel catfish in the Connecticut River have been biting well. Anglers are reporting good numbers of fish being caught the last couple of weeks. As of a week ago some of the female channel cats were still bearing eggs. - Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

The Merrimack River can be often overlooked as a premier bass fishing destination. What some may not realize is that when driving to the bass waters of the lakes region, they are paralleling some quality bass fishing opportunities closer to home. The Merrimack River has several public access points from Nashua to Boscawen. Anglers can expect to encounter a variety of habitats consisting of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation, fallen trees, rock piles, sand bars, and tributary confluences. Most of these locations can be fished with any type of vessel from a small kayak to large bass boat. One of my favorite access points is at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. This launch puts you in a section of river with a lot of different options. You can drift the current downstream and fish the habitat created by fallen maples and white pines, as well some rocky sections and other habitat created by bridges. If you head straight across from the launch, you will encounter a large vegetated cove. Here, as water levels recede to sometime levels, smaller watercraft may have an advantage. There several oxbows and shallow water sections loaded with aquatic vegetation that hold fish year round. Some of these areas have narrow and shallow entrances, but then open up into large pond-like areas. With all the recent rains, some of these oxbows and backwaters are even more accessible now and can be fun to explore. The main river is running somewhat turbid and fast so be careful out there and wear those life jackets! – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

After a long wait, it is finally fishing season out of the coast. Striped bass are being caught everywhere and anglers are reporting some fish over 40 inches. Anglers are having luck using chunk mackerel from the beaches, especially at night, but don’t limit yourself to the coast! There have been a number of good-sized fish caught within Little/Great Bay recently as well. There are plenty of baitfish around right now, a lot of sand lance in and around Hampton Harbor, and we are seeing a lot of juvenile Atlantic herring in New Hampshire’s harbors again this year. Winter flounder are still being caught within the harbors in Hampton/Seabrook and Rye, but as the waters warm up, they are starting to make their way outside of the jetties as well. Mackerel made their way inshore and have been in good numbers along the Isles of Shoals. We are still waiting on reports of the first squid; let us know if you find it! Remember to report your striped bass fishing trips on our striper survey page at www.fishnh.com/surveys/striped-bass.html - and visit the coast this Independence Day! - Becky Heuss, Marine Fisheries Biologist section Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration: A User-Pay, User-Benefit ProgramSport Fish Restoration Researching and managing fisheries and teaching people about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more.



N.H. FISHING REPORT FOR AUGUST 29, 2014





























Late summer is a great time to be on the water, whether you’re after salmon and trout in the big lakes, drifting downriver and casting for bass, or targeting bluefish, the “wolves of the sea,” on the coast. Enjoy!



























Past stocking reports: http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html

























Fishing licenses: http://www.fishnh.com. Kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!























Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame





















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NORTH COUNTRY

















I have been out of my region of late, so thought I would tell you about my recent fishing experience “down South.” A friend asked me to kayak the Merrimack River yesterday and, because summer seems to be making a serious comeback, I was glad to get on the water. It was around 85 degrees and sunny. I know very little about kayaks and their design, but the model I used looked more like a surfboard and was barely 8 feet long. There was little room for storage so I put my tackle in plastic bag, grabbed one ultra-light rod, and hit the river. Paddling was easy and the kayak glided swiftly through the water. The sun was right overhead and I started casting a yellow Senko into shaded cover and fallen trees. Bass fishing in a river is very different than when doing so in a pond. The strong current allows greater movement of your bait. I would cast upstream of overhanging cover and drift the worm through it. Because of its bright color, I could see well and danced the Senko through the water column. I caught a few smallmouth and one common sunfish. As I drifted, the shoreline started to change from swift current under trees to slow water rolling over rocks. I switched to a rattling chug bug and started catching fish on the surface with my best fish being a 2-pound largemouth. After fishing a few miles of river and swimming to wash off the summer heat, we paddled back upriver and called it a day. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist















LAKES REGION













As summer comes to an end, we are experiencing some of the best big lake fishing for landlocked salmon, lake and rainbow trout. Thanks to a strong thermocline, anglers can “dial in” to the correct depths to find these species. I just parked my boat after a successful morning troll on Lake Winnisquam. Although I got a late start (0600 hrs.), I was greeted by fish slashing the surface, driving bait fish (alewives) across the water. Of course, trolling through surface-feeding salmonids drives you crazy, as my lines were approximately 35-40 feet down. I will, in the future have a sink-tip fly lines out there to possibly take advantage of those situations. I did manage two nice rainbows, both 15 inches, and both released to “grow up”! These rainbows, stocked this spring at approximately 9-11 inches in length, show the great growth potential that rainbows exhibit in the big lakes. They are “opportunistic omnivores,” i.e., they will eat just about anything. In this case, one of the rainbows was spitting up alewives in the boat. Both fish were in excellent shape, and held in the rubber net, alongside the boat, until they swam away. I was using small, tandem Gray Ghost streamers, approximately 3 inches long. One of the flies sported red beads. After a couple missed strikes, the action tapered off around 0900 hrs. I was trolling lead core, 8 colors, and a downrigger at 40 feet. We’ve received reports of some large, trophy-sized salmon coming out of Sunapee, Big Squam and Pleasant lakes recently. Anglers know that salmon over 7-8 pounds don’t come to the net very often, but these lakes do produce some great fish for anglers who patiently fish these lakes. Bass remain deep, as we found out on a recent trip to Big Squam, where we caught them trolling at 40 feet! We also saw some great white perch (over two pounds) mixed in, also caught at the same depth. Trout ponds will soon begin to cool. Give them a try while viewing the foliage. Those brook trout sure are colorful! I’ll be at the Hopkinton Fair, Friday August 29, in the afternoon, in the Fish and Game building. Stop in and have a chat about fishing our wonderful state! - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist











MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY









One thing I rarely think about when choosing a lure color is the water depth at which I will be fishing. Instead, I follow the usual themes of using brighter lures on sunny days, darker lures on overcast days, natural colors in clear water, and darker colors in dark water. This could be a big mistake, especially when trolling for trout and salmon or drop-shotting or throwing football jigs in deep water for bass. While a number of factors, including the angle of the sun, waves, sediment and plankton density, can impact the amount of light reaching a particular water depth, the following is a general list of colors that are reduced in intensity or “disappear” with increasing water depth. The first colors to be reduced in intensity are red and orange, followed by yellow, green, purple and finally the last to be reduced is blue. For example, red and orange lures are said to look black or brown at greater depths. To further confuse things, there is no definitive depth at which these colors are reduced in intensity, as light availability can vary so greatly from day to day and from water body to water body. So, what does this mean to anglers? Perhaps a lot or maybe not much at all! Many of you might be thinking this can’t be true, as you have caught lake trout on orange lures while trolling at 60 feet before. However, a pivotal question is this -- are the fish you are after/catching keying in on lure color, or is it simply the size, silhouette and contrast of the lure that is attracting them? The answer to that question will vary, depending on the species you are pursuing, the water body you are fishing, and the prey they are keyed in on. Interesting and frustrating at the same time? Absolutely. More questions than answers? Yes. But, keep in mind that one of the great things about fishing is the evolution of your techniques and choices and the fact that no angler is ever done learning. Additionally, this might be just the excuse you need to pick up some more lures in different colors and get on the water to test them out! – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist







SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY





I try to fly cast for sunfish species (bluegill, pumpkinseeds, black crappie, etc.) a few times of year. Although there are no guarantees when it comes to fishing, having a successful day with these smaller predators can come close. I enjoy the simplicity of this type of fishing, as well as the respect I have for these species in both fight and appearance. There isn't a need for fish finders, high quality rods and reels or a large assortment of different types of tackle, and a canoe can fish as well as any other type of larger boat. A modest but adequate fly rod and reel setup with a small box of panfish plugs/poppers are all that is needed. I prefer to use floating fly line with a rod's length long leader of 6 pound monofilament and a rod around the 5-weight range. Wielding a 5-weight fly rod could be considered overkill for panfish, but it will give you enough support to land a larger fish if you happen to entice a larger bass or hook a larger pickerel in the outer part of its mouth. It is important to size the poppers appropriately to your target species. There are several different kits available on the market that covers an assortment of colors and sizes. It's best to be well equipped with at least a few different options to offer. When it comes to hook size, 1/0 hooks are suitable for larger fish species (and it couldn't hurt to carry a few of these if the bass are shallow), but a #8 or #10 size popper should be suitable. If you routinely observe your popper getting struck without a hookup, try downsizing. If you are new to fly casting, targeting these species is a great way to learn and refine your skills. Casting from a watercraft provides the ability to have plenty of room for your backcast. Some of recommended ponds to try within southeastern New Hampshire include: Bellamy Reservoir (Madbury), Brindle Pond (Barnstead), Heads Pond (Hooksett), Horseshoe Pond (Merrimack), and Shellcamp Pond (Gilmanton). – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist



SEACOAST AREA

The word this week is bluefish! It has been a few years since their last appearance, but yes, bluefish are here. They have been hanging around for the past few days down in the Hampton/Seabrook area, so dust off those wire leaders and get out there before they are gone! Some of the party boat companies are running bluefishing trips while the fish last; my advice is to call around and reserve a spot.

There is still time for a squid trip; reports are still coming in of successful fishing in the Piscataqua. Schoolies are hanging around in the river as well. Just look for the terns, there are large schools of Atlantic herring that these birds and fish are feeding on.



A reminder that the federal cod and haddock rules have changed in 2014, there will be a closed season for cod and haddock starting September 1. The closure dates are as follows:

Atlantic cod: Closed September 1, 2014- April 14, 2015 Haddock: Closed September 1 – November 30, 2014, AND Closed March 1 – April 30, 2015

-Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.

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Copyright 2014 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/usage_policy.htm. Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov



NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHING REPORT FOR AUGUST 14, 2014

Greetings, anglers. As our North Country biologist puts it, there is still plenty of summer left, so make the most of it! If you haven’t seen the latest NH Wildlife Journal magazine, check out the great cover story on hot weather fishing by biologists Andy Schafermeyer and Don Miller. You can read it online at http://wildnh.com/Wildlife_Journal/WJ_mag.htm Calling all students and coaches participating in the High School Bass Tournament this fall -- please sign up for one of the education seminars by August 19: http://wildnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q3/bass_HS_tourn_ed_seminars.html

Fish stocking report: http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html (Stocking is complete for the season.)

Fishing licenses: http://www.fishnh.com. Kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!

Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame

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NORTH COUNTRY

As a child, I fished with my uncle a lot and, without realizing it, I picked up a lot of “Uncle-Like” wisdom on the topic. What this means is that only half of it was true, none of it was based on science, and everything could be described with the flair and brevity of a bumper sticker. He used to spit on his worm before casting. He owned a ton of fishing gear, but nothing newer than antique-grade. He would use anything for bait, including lunch meat and cigar butts. He had wild ideas about the most successful locations and times to fish -- with one resurfacing in my mind recently. It made sense to fish after a heavy rain, he would say. The downpour would replenish stale water and wash food into it. The result would be frisky fish with lots to eat….sounds reasonable. Last week, I put his theory to the test as I fished a small stream for brook trout. It had rained very hard the night before and the water was flowing at full bank. As I walked through the stream, the leaves of the trees were still wet, so I was quickly soaked. Every trout I caught seemed to have a swollen belly, and I knew that they were eating well. One fish swallowed my size 20 nymph and was hooked badly. I did my best to revive it, but the fish died, allowing for a stream-side autopsy. The stomach contents of the fish were unique, but not surprising. I found a gumball-sized ball of green caterpillars that had been consumed very recently. My thoughts turned to my uncle’s wisdom, as I thought about the heavy rain washing these insects off of the leaves and into the water. There is much to learn about angling and it can be obtained in many different ways, from uncles to good books. There is no substitute for experience, however, and the most successful fishermen are those who do it a lot and stick with it. Every season offers new challenges and every outing is unique. Every fishing trip that you take leaves you better when it’s done. There is still plenty of summer left, so make the most of it. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

LAKES REGION

The rains continue here in the Lakes Region, and lake levels remain high. With the increased flows, we have seen some downstream movement of alewives leaving Lake Winnisquam recently. The Winnipesaukee River has schools of alewives, from the mouth all the way up to Avery Dam. Bass and white perch are taking advantage of this forage, in and around the river mouth. Salmon fishing is steady on Winnipesaukee, now that a strong thermocline has set-up. Salmon are averaging around 20 inches, with a few larger ones mixed in. The areas off Welch and Diamond Islands, and south to Rattlesnake Island and Black Point are all great areas to target salmon and rainbows too. Any type of hardware, flutter spoons, Top Guns, micro-Mooselooks will do the job. Even some action has been reported from anglers using streamers, not too far down in the water column. As a precaution, when releasing fish, stay with them until they either roll to the surface or head to deeper waters. We have many avian predators out there, i.e. eagles and ospreys, which will dive right in on a stunned fish laying on the surface. Sure it’s neat to see this activity, but in my experience, rainbows especially, will lie on the surface for a time before flicking their tail to propel them down. Now is a good time to hit the mountain streams, as water levels are great and the brook trout are on a feeding spree with insect hatches and terrestrials washing into the streams. I recently hiked the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail, which follows the Ammonoosuc River up to the headwaters on the side of Mt. Monroe. There are some awesome pools up there, up to 3-4 feet deep, which hold native brook trout. There are a multitude of these streams in the “Whites” that harbor populations of native trout. Fly fishing for these “natives” is a blast, with short casts and stealth movements to get near the pools. Fisheries staff recently worked a bass tournament on Little Squam Lake, and I was impressed with the quality of bass, both large and smallmouth brought in to the weigh-in. - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

A short report this week as we have been busy preparing for a bass radio tagging study on the Squam Lakes. Staff from all over the state came together on Sunday to outfit 33 largemouth and smallmouth bass with radio tags at the NH B.A.S.S. Nation tournament. A special thanks to Cottage Place on Little Squam Lake for the use of their beach. Please see http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Newsroom/2014/Q3/bass_tags_Squam.html for more information on this study. My assistant Jason Carrier and I just saw what will be the new State Record channel catfish, once the official paperwork has been filed and approved. The fish was caught in the Connecticut River over the weekend and weighed in at an even 12 pounds. The angler that caught the fish commented that the catfish action has been consistent as of late, with many fish between 5 and 8 pounds being caught. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

The downstream migration of juvenile river herring (alewives and blueback herring) leaving Lake Winnisquam has begun. These fish, the progeny of adults stocked earlier in May, will make their way down the Winnipesaukee River into the Merrimack River and ultimately to sea from now until early November. Similar to fishing for striped bass by imitating silversides, Atlantic herring, menhaden, and other saltwater baitfish species, anglers can use this once naturally occurring exodus to their advantage while targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass (and other predator fish) in the Merrimack River. Already, we’ve seen large congregations of impressively sized bass in areas where the herring are either funneled through or locations in the rivers where they take a break to feed. Extra attention should be placed around these staging areas. For example, within impounded areas (upstream of the Garvin Falls, Hooksett, and Amoskeag dams), below these dams, and in the backwater/oxbow sections of the Merrimack (across the river from the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord). Also, be sure to look for bird activity for signs of large congregations of outwardly moving river herring. Actively feeding gulls, herons, mergansers, and cormorants in the rivers from now through fall are a good indication that a school of river herring is moving through. A school of river herring is fairly easy to identify. The size of the school can range from a few hundred to numbers in the thousands. Usually, they appear to be in no hurry, leisurely feeding, following one another. If something spooks part of the school, the entire groups reacts with an erratic change in direction. During the day, the school is likely very close to some form of protective cover or in deeper water. At dawn and dusk they tend to break away from the school and feed on the surface. This can often have the effect of what looks like rainfall on the water surface. Anglers should attempt to use tackle that mimics the appearance of river herring, since both largemouth and smallmouth bass have been conditioned to be aware of their migration. The juvenile river herring can vary in length between three to five inches long, have very large eyes and a well-defined forked tail (see a photo at http://wildnh.com/Fishing/Fishing_Reports/2014/081414.html). They have an extremely compressed body shape, which gives the appearance of a very flat fish when looking downward on them. They often turn on their sides while feeding, revealing a shiny bright white or flashy coloration when reflected by sunlight. While upright, herring appear to be very dark or olive in color. Several lures, spoons, and streamers can resemble this appearance. It’s likely that you already have something in your tackle bag or fly box that would work. Several options are also available which are designed to target striped bass feeding on herring species in salt water. I recommend trolling and casting smaller spoons, including Crippled Herring, herring spoons, and silver wobblers. Several more traditional bass lures (crank baits, soft plastics, spinner baits, and top water lures) are readily available in river herring color and appearance. Some recommended streamers include the herring streamer fly, the herring bucktail, and appropriately sized and colored Clouser minnows. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

Schoolies are still being reported in abundance in both the Hampton Harbor Estuary and in the Great Bay System. Recently, one of my fellow biologists was on a kayaking trip in the Bay and found himself amidst “hundreds” of breaking stripers, chasing what appeared to be herring. There have been an enormous amount of juvenile Atlantic herring in the Piscataqua River this year and some are making their way down into the bay; apparently the game fish are following them in when conditions are right. The Bay has been rather clear recently, with little rainfall, allowing the water to remain relatively silt free and warm. Bigger fish are being caught out along the coast. I received a phone call from a Hampton Beach fisherman who claimed to have landed a 51 inch, 70 lb striper one night! Other large fish include one 46 incher caught in Blackwater River, landed on an eel.

We received photos of a rare catch last month from Christopher S. and his family. These are photos of a 4 foot juvenile sand tiger shark taken off of the Odiorne State Park jetty in Rye. (See the photos at the online version of this report at http://wildnh.com/Fishing/Fishing_Reports/2014/081414.html) No need to worry, sand tigers are not generally a threat to human safety and not known for unprovoked attacks. The shark was released unharmed. Keep the pictures coming! – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist (Rebecca.W.Heuss@wildlife.nh.gov)

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FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.

-- Copyright 2014 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/usage_policy.htm. Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov



New Hampshire Fishing Report for July 31, 2014



Greetings! Here's a look at the angling action around the Granite State this week. First, a few notes of interest.



Fish rule hearing: As publicized previously, a public hearing is taking place tonight (July 31) at 6:30 p.m. at the Fish and Game Department in Concord, N.H., on proposed freshwater fishing rules for 2015. Deadline for written comments is August 7. Summary at http://wildnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q3/fish_rule_hearing_072314.html Free Intro to Fishing program August 15 at Umbagog Lake Campground in Cambridge, NH: http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q3/LGF_Umbagog_072914.html



The Ashley Ferry boat ramp on the Connecticut River in Claremont, N.H., will be closed for dredging from August 11-15.



Fish stocking report: http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html (Stocking is complete for the season.) Fishing licenses: http://www.fishnh.com. Kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!



Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame



NORTH COUNTRY



A fishing experience, like any other, can be gauged a success or failure based on many different factors. For example, we’ve all had great fishing in terrible weather. Maybe you caught your best fish the same day you got your worst sunburn. Perhaps you have floated a beautiful section of river only to catch no fish at all. Fishing in New Hampshire is what you make of it. Opportunity abounds and, whether the fish cooperate or not, fishing will always be my favorite hobby. My son and I took our kayaks out on South Pond in Stark on Saturday. Bass fishing from a kayak forces an angler to prioritize. In contrast to the bass boat and its seemingly unlimited storage, the kayak can transport two rods and one tackle bag. Most bass fishermen that I know have more gear than they could use in a lifetime, and I’m no exception. Selecting one tackle bag can be difficult. I decided that the surefire combination would be a medium-light spinning rod and wacky-rigged senkos. It was a good decision. After an hour of fishing, I had landed 8 to 10 smallmouth. The fish were rising at something, most likely emerging dragonflies, and they would make their presence known with a splash and a few bubbles. Every time I threw my worm at a rise, I caught the fish. They were in a comfortable feeding frenzy, and my son loved having a target to cast at. I just got off the phone with a friend who fishes the Androscoggin a lot. He was out three days last week and caught some monster rainbows. He mentioned that it is starting to get dark a little earlier now and most of his luck is coming around 7:30 p.m. After chasing fish with nymphs and streamers, he approaches the last hour of daylight with small caddis imitations. The rises are very subtle and strikes can be hard to see in the diminishing daylight. Even more difficult under these conditions is tying a small fly on as the clock ticks away and fish rise around you. The Androscoggin definitely offers great rainbow fishing, with an occasional brookie or brown ending up in the net. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist



LAKES REGION



Central New Hampshire and the Lakes Region have just experienced near tropical rainstorms! I received 3.5 inches of rain in the last two days! My dock is ready to disappear underwater! What does this mean for our lake and stream habitats? Water temperatures are warm, 75 degrees in the big lakes, and a tad less in streams and rivers with good riparian buffer zones. Obviously, literally tons of food and debris have entered these systems. Water becomes cloudy in streams, less so in lakes. Coldwater species in our big lakes (rainbow trout and salmon) have retreated to an area just below the thermocline, while lake trout, the “denizens of the deep” are near bottom. Rainbow smelt (young-of-the-year) are growing larger, to the point where they become available forage for the aforementioned species. Smelt migrate up in the water column at dusk, and continue this migration until they begin to enter the upper reaches of the thermocline, where they stop and feed on the rich abundance of zooplankton, which are, in turn, feeding on smaller plankton. This feeding behavior ends as dawn appears, and clouds of smelt descend to the depths of the lake to wait for the next round of feeding. This means that dawn and dusk time intervals could very well be the peak times for anglers to find salmon and trout in a feeding mode. On a recent trip on Lake Winnisquam with fishing buddies Marc Vigneault and Allen Leighton, we saw a mixed bag of lake trout and a real decent rainbow trout. John Viar had stocked some surplus rainbows, in several lakes, as surplus from our Warren Hatchery. These trout were primarily 3+ years in age, and upwards of 4 pounds. You guessed it, Allen was working a lead core line, with a Maynard’s Marvel when one of these trout hit! The look on his face was priceless! Allen’s trout was a superb female, 4 pounds, 22 inches long. Trout ponds in the White Mountains are holding up very well, as many of these ponds have received surplus brook trout from our New Hampton Hatchery. Some of these brookies were in excess of two pounds, and should support some great fishing, right through fall. Streams and rivers will take a week at least to drop down and become fishable. Try the upper Pemigewasset River in Woodstock and Campton, and lower reaches of the Mad River, as many fish planted upstream have found their way downstream to new reaches of stream. - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist



MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY








A man came into the office recently who is the new owner of the Ashuelot River Campground in Swanzey; he was asking about the fishery in the Ashuelot River from Keene to Swanzey. He has a lot of campers that paddle the river and fish it and he wanted to be able to inform them a bit more on the fishery. One of his first questions was, “What is a dace?” What many people call a “dace” is in fact a fallfish, which is the largest of the minnow species native to N.H. Fallfish inhabit waters statewide, from rivers and streams to ponds and lakes, and can grow upwards of 20 inches long. They are abundant in the Ashuelot River and can be a lot of fun to catch on light tackle. This section of river, from Keene to the Thompson Covered Bridge in West Swanzey, is flat and winds through some silver maple swamps. There are plenty of blowdowns that provide some good woody habitat for some of the warmwater fish that inhabit this section of river. It is unlikely that you will catch a “trophy” fish here, but you will keep pretty busy catching a variety of fish species. You will likely encounter fallfish, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, sunfish, and maybe black crappie or largemouth bass in the right spot. Trout may be caught at certain times of the year, or near the mouths of cool water feeder streams, but this section of river is typically too warm and slow moving in summer months for trout. My go-to lures for floating rivers like this are in-line spinners and small spoons. Drifting a bobber and worm as you lazily let the river current take you downstream is also very effective. – Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist




SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY




Although the traditional mantra regarding catching mid-summer smallmouth bass is to fish deep, on a recent multiday fishing trip to one of New Hampshire’s premier smallmouth bass fisheries, we found there are some exceptions to this theory. Despite air temperatures close to 90 degrees and surface water temperature pushing 80 degrees, we were pleasantly surprised with the amount of aggressive smallmouth found in the shallows at all times of the day. Perhaps dropping barometric pressure played a role in this, as a warm air mass was being pushed out by a cold front, resulting in darkening skies and impending thunderstorms in the evening. Most fish were caught on surface poppers and wacky rigged soft plastics. Fish were most commonly found along expansive rocky outcroppings and within a larger tributary. This emphasizes the need for experimentation while fishing. Our catch rates would not have been nearly as high if we focused on the traditional deeper sections and drop-offs we normally find smallmouth bass in late July.



While we anticipate several people are still actively fishing the area and hopefully doing well, we haven’t heard many reports from anglers. This is not out of the ordinary for this time of year. A lack of reports from anglers in southeastern New Hampshire is likely a result of us being out of the office conducting field surveys. For the most part, our office time is limited to grabbing equipment and charged electrofishing batteries in the morning and returning after a long day to return equipment and put batteries back on the chargers in the evening. We take advantage of rainy days to catch up on emails, data entry, and planning. The only recent report I’ve received was regarding some anglers doing well at Pleasant Lake in Deerfield. These folks left the lake very happy after catching several yearling rainbow trout and two larger brown trout, both over three pounds. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist



SEACOAST AREA



The waters are teaming with baitfish. Atlantic herring are being caught on sabiki rigs in the Piscataqua River; mackerel and pollock were being caught at the mouth of the river this past weekend, while schools of silversides abound. Unfortunately the plentiful baitfish makes it a little more difficult for the striped bass angler to entice his prey. The Piscataqua River and Hampton Harbor and its tributaries are still fairly bountiful with schoolies, but the bigger fish are along the coast.



There are reports that some of the mackerel have retreated to deeper waters, so if you aren’t having luck in the river, you may want to double up your efforts and do some groundfishing, as well. We have run into numerous people over the last few weeks that had luck with cod and occasionally a haddock inside the 3-mile line.



I’ve gotten conflicting reports on squid; some say “everywhere,” some say “nowhere to be seen.” I would give it another shot before I count them out for the season; it’s early yet! It’s best to find a well-lit spot (bridge or dock) and go at night. The squid may be lurking just beyond the lighted area, so you may need to cast out your squid jig and jig it back in to find the area where the squid are hiding. If you aren’t having any immediate luck, try switching colors or weights of your jig. Changing the weight will alter its position in the water; you can try differing your jigging technique as well, or simply let it hang just off the bottom. Post some pictures on our Facebook page and let us know how you do!



And don’t forget to report your striped bass trips online! http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/marine/striper_survey.html – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist



--------------- FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.



-- Copyright 2014 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/usage_policy.htm. Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov



NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHING REPORT FOR JULY 3, 2014

Greetings, anglers! Hope you get in plenty of mid-summer fishing fun over the holiday weekend.

Fish stocking report: http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html

Fishing licenses: http://www.fishnh.com. Kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!

Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame

NORTH COUNTRY

My 12 year old son is learning to fly fish. To the casual reader, this may seem like a wonderful development, strengthening bonds between father and son. To the experienced angler or anyone who has taken a child fishing, there is a clear sense of underlying frustration. Before this new interest, fishing with my son was a rewarding culmination of years’ worth of experience. He could cast, retrieve, and land a fish – never causing injury to himself or other bystanders. His interest in fly casting has brought us right back to the beginning – wiped the slate clean and ensured that I don’t fish nearly as much as I used to. On the rare event that he doesn’t catch a tree in his back-cast, his leader is twisted and sounds like a wounded moth as he whips it back and forth. When he does lay the line down smoothly, his reel is either wrapped up in fly line or completely submerged. He needs my assistance constantly. I’m sure that this particular challenge will pass and will someday be remembered as one of many fond memories between my son and me. (See a photo at the online version of this report - http://wildnh.com/Fishing/Fishing_Reports/2014/070314.html.) In the meantime, I look forward to him going back to school in the fall so I can catch some fish.

I still have the satisfying experiences that I gain from my job as a biologist that keep my angling attitudes sharp. Yesterday, I was electrofishing a brook that gets stocked with rainbow trout. The fisherman in me took over and I kept imagining where I would cast and what I would use. It was very hot and the sun was oppressive where it shone down on the water. Electrofishing leaves little doubt about the whereabouts of a fish and most of the deeper water, with a turbulent surface creating cover, had happy trout in them. There were fish in almost every spot that I expected them to be in. Undercut banks and deep bends were full of both trout and the smaller fish that may make a meal for them. Making these observations on the river yesterday made me realize that I need to spend as much time studying the water as I do casting into it. In my travels, I have seen anglers kneeling down on the banks of a river or stream and they seem to be in deep thought. It occurred to me that the most successful casts will be the ones made after reading the water before splashing around in it. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

LAKES REGION

Summer has officially arrived here in the Lakes region of New Hampshire. Big lake, surface water temperaturess are in the low 70 degree range. This hasn’t stopped anglers from some great lake trout fishing. In the last few days we have seen a 13-pounder from Winnipesaukee, a 20-pounder from Winnisquam and a fine 22-pound laker from the Pittsburg area! I believe all three were caught on lead core lines, on a variety of hardware lures. Salmon fishing has slowed down a bit, but anglers are still picking up a few fish in the early morning on Winnipesaukee. The thermocline will be set-up soon, as our daytime temps have been in the mid 80’s for several days now. I re

cently had a chance to “pop” for smallmouth bass on Winnisquam with my good friend Jim McCoy. We trolled early for salmon and rainbows with no luck. We switched over to fly rods and poppers and started to work the rocky shoals on the northern end of Winnisquam with good success. The smallmouth were caught on the deep side of the shoals, with some fish busting up from 20 feet to hit our panfish poppers. These bass fought hard on fly rods, taking 10 minutes to come to the boat! Fish early, from before sunrise until 9:00 am or so, and again in the evening from 6:00 pm until dark. I have even fished in the moonlight, casting my popper in the moonshine on the water with great success! The Hex hatch is in full swing on our trout ponds now. I saw evidence of a heavy hatch of mayflies on Saltmarsh Pond last Saturday. Even though our area ponds have warmed up, working the hatch in the evening can bring fantastic action on trout, as they gorge themselves on these giant mayflies. I like to use any of the high floating Wulff patterns, in white or cream color. Recent thunderstorms have kept our mountain streams at good levels for fishing. I saw some great looking pools on a recent hike in the Mt. Chocorua area Sunday. Water temps in these mountain streams are still in the mid 50 degree range. Thunderstorms bring a lot of food into these sterile streams, resulting in a feeding spree by the native brookies.

A brief note on illegal introductions of fish in New Hampshire: I received a film clip from a SCUBA diver a few days ago, revealing a 30-inch plus northern pike he encountered on Lake Winnisquam. This is the third documented northern we have seen in Winnisquam. Not only is it illegal to “move” fish around, it can disrupt aquatic ecosystems and introduce invertebrates i.e. (zebra mussels) and may be a vector for disease transmission to a new waterbody. Please report any suspicious behavior to our toll free hotline 1-800-344-4262 or online at http://www.wildnh.com/OGT. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

I always enjoy a fishing experience that brings back memories and I had such an opportunity the other week when I went trolling for warmwater fish. I don’t see many anglers fishing this way for bass or perch or sunfish these days, but when I was in high school in the North Country in the 1980’s, this was how you fished for warmwater species. There were no bass boats or fancy fishing rods, and you had to get the fish in the boat any way you could.

The best part about this technique is that it requires limited gear and is usually almost always successful. First, get a boat (gas or trolling motor or oar powered), canoe or kayak. Next, add a 6-7 foot medium action spinning rod. Finally, tie on a crankbait (a Rapala shad rap for example) that will match the depth you are fishing.

Cast your lure about a hundred feet behind you and slowly move along the shoreline of whatever waterbody you are fishing. You will likely need to adjust the amount of line you have out, depending on the speed you are trolling, the depth you are fishing, and the lure you are using. Then, relax and enjoy your time on the water until you get a bite. There is no need to set the hook and this simple technique works great for bass, sunfish, perch, pike, pickerel, crappie and walleye. When you get the lure snagged, and you will, simply back up until you are above the lure and it should come free. As an aside, I have also had good luck trolling curly tailed grubs on a jig head and spinnerbaits. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

Although stocking has essentially ended in southeastern New Hampshire, plenty of trout remain. Anglers may have to change tactics and focus on deeper, cooler water in trout ponds and faster moving waters with falls and drops in rivers and streams. In some ways, knowing the fish are restricted to these areas can result in more successful angling outings. These areas that hold more dissolved oxygen, with more tolerable water temperatures, are where the fish will spend most of their time.

In some instances, diets shift away from hatched insects on the surface to forage fish, zooplankton, and any emerging macroinvertebrate not fortunate enough to make it through the water column. Surface action, particularly at or before dawn and dusk still can occur, but the trout likely give up their habitat preferences only momentarily to get a meal, then quickly return to the thermocline (the “layer” of water where temperatures change rapidly).

Anglers who practice catch and release this time of year need to keep stress of trout at a minimum for them to survive. Preparedness and skill are very important. Have a form of pliers handy, wet your hands, and minimize the time the fish is hooked and handled. These steps will go a long way to allowing the fish to grow and be caught again in the future.

For those looking for some different scenery while targeting warmwater species, the Merrimack River is often overlooked this time of year as a fishing destination. As anglers drive north on I-93 in pursuit of quality fishing destinations, they are potentially passing up some trophy-sized large and smallmouth bass, black crappie, and even walleye. From time to time we receive reports of the species being caught, and we occasionally encounter them in our surveys along the mainstem of the river. The Merrimack watershed should be back to normal flows by the weekend. Anglers can take advantage of the low flow summer conditions of the Merrimack and do some exploring to find where the fish are holding. Access to the mainstem varies from town to town, but anglers should be looking at changes or variability in habitat along the river (i.e., deeper channels, patches of aquatic vegetation, rocky structure, etc). – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

Fishing is in full swing on New Hampshire’s coast! Stripers are being caught from Portsmouth to Seabrook by boat and shore anglers alike. Live bait has been the key this season and there is plenty around. Head out to one of our beautiful jetties to catch some mackerel and pollock on a diamond jig or sabiki rig and then go for the big ones. There has been plenty of action for keeper-sized striped bass along the shore.

Flounder have been keeping anglers busy as well. While they can be caught from shore, with their subtle bite it is more productive to fish by boat.

Stripers and flounder not enough reason to hit the water? There have been reports of bluefish, squid and black sea bass arriving in our waters. Try fishing the Piscataqua River if you are looking for variety. Get out fishing before the dog days hit us; now’s the time to wet a line! – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.

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Copyright 2014 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/usage_policy.htm. Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov



NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHING REPORT FOR JUNE 19, 2014



Greetings anglers – hope the fishing is fine. Here’s the latest from the field!

Fish stocking report: http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html

Fishing licenses: http://www.fishnh.com. Kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!

Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame. _

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NORTH COUNTRY

Getting on the water in June can offer a million ways make a fisherman happy. Sometimes, the month provides more daylight than I can handle. Fishing all day is next to impossible, but early mornings and late nights create some excellent opportunity. Last Sunday morning found me on the Connecticut River at 6:00 a.m. The air temperature had already begun to rise, but a light fog over the river kept me in a protective cover and the fish were not wary. I fished a medium-sized dry fly with a tiny (size 20) nymph dropper. I caught a few rainbows on the dropper before the fog lifted and, predictably, the fish were much more hesitant to feed. By 9:00 a.m., the bite had completely shut off and I made an effort to recognize the positive side of my morning. By 10:00 a.m., I was at baseball practice with my waders hanging off my truck, my fly rod still rigged in two pieces in the back, and a freshly beat-up fly in my ball cap. How could life get any more picturesque? By the time lunch rolled around, I felt like I had already put in a full day. I was tired, a little sunburned, and my skin was coated with a curious paste of bug spray and dirt. With 9 hours of daylight left, I had some planning to do. Hot summer days are synonymous with bass fishing and have been that way since I was a child. I decided to remove the fly fishing gear from my truck, throw it in the garage, and load my 10-foot canoe. I grabbed a medium-action spinning rod and two tackle bags. A life jacket and seat cushion completed my packing, and I was out of the driveway 15 minutes after I had pulled in. I slid my canoe into Pontook Reservoir in Dummer and started drop-shotting a 4-inch plastic worm. June is a great time for this method, as the aquatic vegetation hasn’t reached an intolerable level yet. I picked up a few smallmouth before a pickerel chewed my worm in half. No matter what my target species, I’m a sucker for surface fishing. I put on a 3-inch rattlin’ chug-bug and started snapping it near shoreline plants. Again, I caught a few smallmouth and a pickerel did its best to chew it in half. After a small operation with my needle-nosed pliers, the beast was removed and let go. I got off the water with plenty of daylight to aid the process of loading canoe and gear. As I drove home, I saw a few fly fishermen wading the Androscoggin, and I watched them with jealous excitement. I was exhausted and had caught plenty of fish, but I was frustrated that I had left my fly-gear at home. I thought about wading into the river in my shorts and spinning rod, but I lacked the tackle – all I had were bass lures. Maybe it was a good thing, because I was literally out of steam when I got home. I managed to get the canoe off the truck and put my spinning gear in the same spot in the garage as my fly gear. I was inside just long enough to check the Red Sox score before my eyelids started to get very heavy. I slept soundly and went to work on Monday with plenty of fishing stories to share. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

LAKES REGION

Summer has finally arrived in the Lakes Region, bringing much warmer water temperatures in the big lakes. The Winnipesaukee lake temperature is 67 degrees, while our small trout ponds are near 70 degrees. The mayfly hatch is noticeable here on Lake Winnisquam, and early morning (0430 hours) trollers have seen surface activity, primarily rainbow trout across the lake. I spoke with my neighbor, who has had some luck with rainbows, down 15 feet in the morning. Winnipesaukee anglers are catching salmon in the 25-30 foot depths. Generally small 2 year olds, with a few older age classes. Sunapee Lake recently produced a 9 lb. salmon! Sunapee Lake has seen a tremendous reversal in producing some real quality fish, including some great lake trout. Fishing is slow in the lake at times, but it is well worth the effort. Congratulations to Harold Orr, who caught a great rainbow trout from a seacoast trout pond recently weighing in at nearly 9 pounds! Harold fishes this pond quite a bit, and certainly knows the techniques that work there. Remote trout ponds were stocked by helicopter last week. I am amazed with these ponds, and their great diversity; some deep (70 ft. Cole and 100 ft. Big Sawyer)) others quite large (Mountain Pond 124 acres) in Chatham. The reports state that they are fishing well. While most daytime action is relegated to fishing deep (dredging) with wooly buggers, surface activity can happen at any time when a hatch occurs. (Read more about fishing remote ponds in New Hampshire at http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q2/aerial_stocking_061314.html.) The catch-and-release bass season recently ended (June 15), and most bass have left the nests, but adult males are close by, guarding the bass fry. Most anglers are working the edges of drop-offs during the day, but shoreline activity is hot near dusk. At this time of day, I love to work small panfish poppers on a fly rod over rocky areas 4-10 feet deep. We will continue to stock some fine surplus trout from New Hampton and Warren hatcheries this month; don’t be alarmed when you hook into brown and rainbow trout in excess of 4 pounds in a central N.H. trout pond! – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

Things are starting to heat up in the Monadnock Region. Most bass are post-spawn now, and water temperatures are still favorable for catching fish shallow before things really heat up for the summer and bass go deeper. I love using top water baits this time of year early in the morning and later in the evening. I also like using creature baits or tubes rigged Texas style or with a weighted hook and also shaky head-style jig heads with a straight plastic worm known as a shaky head rig. One local angler recently reported fishing the riverine section of Powdermill Pond in Hancock/Benningtion with his grandson and having a blast catching numerous fish species. They caught largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, fallfish, common sunfish, rock bass, and crappie. They were fishing very simple setups with floats and small panfish jigs and they were also casting small spinners. The Milford Hatchery is nearly done stocking trout for the season. All waterbodies in the Monadnock region that receive stocked trout have been stocked. Anglers should be hitting the lakes and streams now, while there is an abundance of trout to catch and before water temperatures get too warm, making it more difficult to find and catch salmonids. The Monadnock region has so many waterbodies to explore and fish, so get out and do a little exploring this summer. – Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

We’ve been putting on some mileage with the N.H. Fish and Game shad truck over the past two weeks. This (almost) daily effort attempts to transport captured American shad in the lower portion of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts around dams to ideal spawning areas in Concord and Boscawen. The goal of this restoration project is to increase the spawning success and subsequent production of American shad returns to the Merrimack River Watershed. This is very similar to our efforts with river herring (alewives and blueback herring) to the watershed. Once the adults spawn, their juveniles provide a temporary food source for several of our resident fishes. We have received reports from four different water bodies recently regarding fish kills. We appreciate how observant our anglers and others are and thank them for their reports. The report of fish kills in a lake or pond during this time of year is not that uncommon. We typically attribute these die-offs as a natural condition attributed to stress associated with spawning and a rapid rise in water temperature, resulting in a decrease in dissolved oxygen. For the most part, fish kills like this are typically restricted to a particular fish species or a group of species that have very similar habitat preference and seasonal behaviors. Currently, we are seeing sunfish species being the group mostly vulnerable to a fish kill. The fish are well underway with their spawning period. Their nests are clearly visible as a one-to-two-foot diameter circular cleared-off area in the shallows. Often colonies with multiple nests can be observed. Like bass, after a nest has fertilized eggs deposited into them, males will guard the nest while waiting as the eggs incubate and hatch. It is likely the males will attempt to withstand intolerable conditions in order to defend their nests and eventually succumb from being stuck in a lethal setting. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

We are in the midst of the mackerel. Anglers have been reporting them pretty much everywhere, right up into the river. High tides are swinging back to evening hours this coming weekend. This means that the next week would be the perfect time for a night fishing trip and a great spot is the Portsmouth/Newcastle bridges. With so much bait around, you are almost certain to see action beneath the lighted bridges. Recently, successful striped bass anglers were using swimming shad lures as well as live mackerel. Another great trip would be to the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion. This is a great low-tide fly fishing spot, as well as a lovely spot to spend the day. At low tide, there is an expansive shoreline along the channel that connects Little Harbor and the Piscataqua River. Other activities at this site include tours of the historic mansion and a hiking trail. – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist ___

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FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.

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Copyright 2014 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/usage_policy.htm. Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov



NH FISHING REPORT FOR MAY 22, 2014



Trout are being stocked for your Memorial Day weekend fishing enjoyment! Looking ahead, plan to take a friend along on Free Fishing Day – June 7 (no license needed in fresh or salt waters; except for brood stock salmon). State Fish Hatcheries are also open for visitors on June 7 - http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q2/free_fishing_day.html Access note: The boat ramp at Stinson Lake in Rumney remains closed for repairs http://www.wildnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q2/access_Stinson_Lake_closure.html Learn to fly fish at a free weekend workshop in New Hampshire’s North Country – two opportunities in June: http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q2/LGF_FF_No_Country_052214.html Fish stocking report: http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html Fishing licenses: http://www.fishnh.com. Kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!

Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame And on to this week’s report from our fisheries biologists:

NORTH COUNTRY

As I look back on my work details for the last two weeks, I realize that stocking fish has occupied a large part of my time. I have always enjoyed stocking fish and, like many of our biologists, started my career in a fish hatchery. Today, I put 2,500 rainbows in a North Country pond and loved every minute of it. I imagine this weekend some young people may be fishing from shore – enjoying the opportunity that I just created. I also imagine a family in a boat trolling around on an early morning watching these fish rise around them. Often, these fish provide good angling for a whole season, and they are caught in the fall or even through the ice in winter. There are also times that I stock fish and know that they will survive and grow for several years. When I put brown trout in the Connecticut River, for example, they may be much older and larger when they are finally caught. Last week, I was sampling the Connecticut with our electrofishing boat and caught the fish in the picture posted in the online version of this report at http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Fishing_Reports/2014/052214.html. Certain characteristics allowed me to determine that it was stocked as a hatchery-born fish many years ago. This was one of eight fish I caught of similar size! It is great to think that our stocking program can create such awesome fish. Water temperatures in our trout ponds have not hit 60 yet, and fishing is as good as it gets. Mirror Lake in Whitefield has been great, with lots of fish being caught. Dummer Pond in Dummer has also been great, with one angler reporting a 20-inch brook trout caught on a dry fly. I saw the picture, and it was no fish story. Look for this early season success at Akers Pond in Errol and Success pond in Success. May is also a good time to look for trout in our rivers and streams. When water conditions cooperate, I love casting an ultra-light rod into waterbodies such as the Israel River or Stearns Brook. Generally, I use a small spoon or in-line spinner like a Rooster-Tail and find fish very eager to feed. As our water temperatures climb, bass fishing is beginning to pick up. Moore Reservoir and Lake Umbagog have been giving up good numbers, and fish are being caught in shallow water around structures. Remember that all bass must be released from May 15 to June 15 and live bait is prohibited. Good spring bassin’ can also be found at Forest Lake in Whitefield. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

LAKES REGION

River flows and lake levels have stabilized in the Lakes Region. Lake temps are in the low to mid 50 degree range. Smallmouth bass have begun nest building, with some of the warmer coves already showing nesting bass. The recently held Winni Derby was a success, with a 3.9-pound salmon winning the major prize. Anglers reported high catch rates of salmon during the three day event. Congratulations to all the anglers who participated in the derby, and we hope to see you back on our beautiful lakes this summer! My recent trip on Lake Winnisquam produced a mixed catch of lake trout, salmon and bass. Trolling small streamers in the 30-40 foot shoreline zones produced a number of strikes. Fisheries biologists Matt Carpenter and Ben Nugent are in the process of stocking river herring (alewives) into Lake Winnisquam. We will monitor the progress of this species, as the YOY (young-of-the-year) alewives grow throughout the summer and into the fall as they prepare to leave the system on their journey back to the Atlantic Ocean. Trout pond fishing is fantastic now, with some great brook trout in the mix, some up to three pounds! A recent trip to Saltmarsh Pond/Gilford with my daughter Holly produced some great aerial displays from the rainbow trout that craved our heron flies! Although trout were sipping on tiny chironomids (phantom midges), they were quick to strike the attractive heron flies, fished on sinking and wet fly lines. Just about all our trout ponds have been stocked, with the exception of some ponds off the Sandwich Notch Road, which remains closed due to culvert replacement. Those ponds should be stocked soon after Memorial Day. Aerial pond stocking will occur the week of June 9. JBI helicopter services of Pembroke, NH, will again be guiding us across the New Hampshire landscape as we stock fingerling Kennebago strain brook trout into 48 remote, high-elevation ponds. Approximately 110,000 fingerlings are stocked in this one-day event. If you have never fished these ponds, you are missing out on some fantastic fishing, in remote, wilderness settings. Don’t forget that Saturday, June 7, is free fishing day in New Hampshire. Take advantage of this day with a friend and enjoy the wonderful outdoor opportunities we have here in the Granite State. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

I had an opportunity to take a youngster fishing for pre-spawn largemouth bass last week and had a great time. We targeted shallow backwater coves that were a full 6 degrees warmer than the main lake. It seemed like every bass in the waterbody was crammed into a half acre, taking advantage of the warmer water, and we caught about 20 in a little over an hour. Wacky-rigged Senkos were all we brought for tackle and were all we needed for a shallow-water situation with spooky fish. Don’t forget that the catch and release, artificial lures only season for bass runs from May 15 to June 15. Trout anglers have been doing well in southwestern New Hampshire, although it seems as if not as many people are out fishing as they are during most springs. Silver Lake (Harrisville) is giving up lots of rainbow trout, and Noone Falls on the Contoocook River (Peterborough) has been a trout hotspot as of late. Smith Pond (Washington), Beard’s Brook (Hillsborough), and Whittemore Lake (Bennington) have all been fishing well. I also received a report of several holdover brown trout being caught in Sand Pond (Marlow), and even if they don’t bite for you, the brook trout likely will. If you have a canoe or kayak, Spoonwood Lake (Nelson) is a great place to try for brook trout and smallmouth bass. It is accessed from Nubanusit Lake via a short portage. The lake has no development of any kind on it and makes you feel like you are fishing on a lake in the Canadian wilderness. There are camping sites available, as well, that can be reserved by calling the Harris Center in Hancock. - Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

We get a lot of calls with questions about trout stocking this time of year. Some people are excited to get back on the water, and they are just looking for a tip on where to fish. Others are disappointed that they did not catch any fish in a spot that they can usually count on. The target numbers for trout for every river, by town, are prescribed by the Inland Fisheries Division biologists, but trout are stocked by hatchery staff usually partnered with a Conservation Officer (CO). The officers typically have the most local knowledge about popular fishing spots, and they know the best places to access a river or stream.

TROUT FISHING SECRETS REVEALED:

There is actually nothing secretive about trout stocking. CO’s and hatchery staff are doing their best to get the fish in the water as efficiently as possible, so that anglers have plenty of time to fish before water temperatures warm up in the summer. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trout fishing in streams: - Stocking usually takes place a few net-fulls at a time, anywhere that a river and stream can be accessed from a stocking truck. Bridges, places where the road parallels the river, parks, boat ramps, and short hiking trails, all make good stocking locations. If you are not having success at one location, move to another. - Stocking locations can change. Sometimes a veteran hatchery worker or Conservation Officer will retire and their replacement may do things a little differently. If a CO’s patrol area temporarily increases in size due to a vacancy, the number of waters they need to stock also increases, possibly preventing some waters from getting stocked as quickly as they have been in the past. - Use the stocking report on our website as a guide. Once you know that stocking has been going on for a while, you will have much better luck if you go to a river and explore various locations than you will if you stay home and wait for your favorite area to show up on the stocking report. - Fish do spread out. Often the pool right next to the bridge will be quickly fished out, but the larger pool about 300 yards down river may get less pressure and hold more fish. Don’t overlook the more subtle holding area behind a large boulder in riffle habitat or downstream from the old bridge abutment that causes a break in the current. You will probably have more success if you keep moving up or down river than you will by continuously casting into the same spot. - Some days fish just don’t bite. That doesn’t mean they weren’t stocked. The fish may be stuffed from feeding on invertebrates that washed into the stream during a recent rain. A sudden temperature shift or change in weather may have affected their behavior, or you may have simply spooked the fish as you approached the bank. You can always try a different bait/lure/fly or come back another day. In other words, don’t wait until you know the exact timing and location of stocking before you decide to go fishing. Just get out there and see what you can find. – Matt Carpenter, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

Waters are still high and turbid, but things are starting to warm up in Great Bay and surrounding tributaries. Today the water temperature in Great Bay was 59 degrees, while the coast remained a little cooler at 54 degrees. The river herring continue to pour into Great Bay and surrounding tributaries, so the larger striped bass can’t be far behind! There have been mixed reports from anglers catching schoolies, but I have yet to see one myself. I did recently witness, aboard one of our local head boats, some mackerel caught for the first time this year by anglers fishing 3+ miles from Hampton Beach! The last few days, lobstermen have reported large schools of mackerel offshore 10+ miles, so the large schools should be in close to shore any day now. The party boats have been groundfishing consistently for a few weeks now, and are reporting above-average catches of haddock, cod, redfish and pollock. As of May 1, there have been changes made to groundfish regulations. For anglers fishing in federal waters you can look at the posted link for a list of length and bag limits for species in the Gulf of Maine at http://www.nero.noaa.gov/sustainable/RecFishing/regs. Winter flounder fishing season should be starting up as well. I have not heard any reports from anglers yet, so if you go, let us know how the fishing is! (reg3@wildlife.nh.gov) This year it seems everything is behind, so I would expect the flounder fishing to pick up any day now! – Shane Conlin, Marine Biological Aide

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FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.

-- Copyright 2014 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/usage_policy.htm. Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov



N.H. Fishing Report for April 24, 2014



Greetings, anglers, and welcome to the first New Hampshire Fishing Report of the season. The stocking trucks are rolling. See where the fish were delivered last week on our weekly Stocking Report at http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html. One change for 2014 is that this fishing report will come out on a bi-weekly basis. We will still post a trout stocking report on the website each week at the link above, and you will get a full fishing report every other week. You can receive a link to the weekly stocking info on Facebook if you sign up at http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame. Or just visit the Fish and Game website on Thursday afternoons and click on the “Fish Stocking” link on the home page.



Designated trout and fly-fishing-only ponds open this Saturday, April 26: http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q2/trout_pond_opener_040914.html



Free fly-fishing workshop – May 17-18 in Hancock: http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q2/FF_Hancock_041614.html



Purchase your fishing license online at http://www.fishnh.com or from any Fish and Game license agent. Don’t forget -- kids under 16 fish free in N.H.







North Country



The winter that wouldn’t seem to end has done just that. Most of the snow is gone, rivers and streams are swollen, and our lakes and ponds are either open or covered with dark, soft ice. Mid April is following a typical pattern and fishermen are preparing to take advantage. Trout season on our ponds opens the fourth Saturday in April which falls on the 26th this year. By this time, stocking trucks will have been rolling for a couple of weeks and there should be hungry trout in the ponds, mostly in the southern part of the region. This type of early stocking results in fish spreading out and occupying different habitat throughout the whole pond. Most fish will be caught by trolling bait through these different zones and depths. Remember, if you fish for a period of time without success, try something new. For example, if nothing seems to be biting at a certain depth, try a different one. If a fly pattern hasn’t been hit in a while, tie on a different one. Too often, I hear about fishermen struggling for hours, hoping the fish will come to them. One unfortunate side effect of this late-season ice will be for those anglers targeting northern pike. One of our earliest spawners, they look for shallow water with water temperatures around 40 degrees. They creep into shallow edges and flooded fields. This year, they will be forced to spawn under the cover of ice. It should have minimal effects on the success of the fish, but they will certainly be hard to cast at. Normally, a fast-moving spinnerbait or a noisy crankbait will induce a vicious strike from these super-predators. Pike fishing is a good way to jump start your season. The opportunity to catch your biggest fish of the 2014 season starts early. Moore Reservoir and Partridge Lake near Littleton are the best bets for pike in our region. With your first fishing trip just a few days away, now is a good time to check your gear and see how everything works. You may also find that you are short on certain things and require a quick trip to your sporting goods store. One thing that is often overlooked is fishing line. When it spends a year or two on a spool, line becomes stuck in that curled-up pattern in a condition known as “memory.” Even stretching it may leave it in a spiral pattern that leads to an unnatural look and fish can be spooked. Every minute that your line spends outdoors, it is being slowly decomposed by the sun. If line isn’t changed every year, you may find it snapping off on a large fish. Now is also a good time to check lures for rust or dulled hook points. This forces you to keep a mental inventory and may save time when chasing fish on the water. Every new season offers a chance to get better and try new things. Maybe this is the year you try fly-fishing. Seek out a few new spots. Maybe buy an ultra-light rod and reel and fish for panfish. Before you know it, the season will be winding down and you’ll be wishing you fished one more time. Make 2014 a great season. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Lakes Region



It always amazes me how quickly an ice pack can deteriorate and disappear! I was ice fishing with friends on Winnipesaukee on March 28, with a good 22 inches of ice beneath us, and 24 days later, presto, ice is gone! Actually, the ice on Winnipesaukee opened up back on April 16th, from Glendale to Alton and over to Wolfeboro. Right now, there still is ice left in the northern bays, i.e., Center Harbor, Melvin Bay and around Long Island as well, but the big lake could be declared “ice-free” by the time you are reading this report. The smelt ran in tributaries to Winnipesaukee about 10 days ago, and schools of smelt are still hanging around brook mouths now, especially with the warm brook temps we are experiencing now (mid 40’s). Fellow biologist Ben Nugent and I plied the waters of Winnipesaukee this past Monday and although it started real slow, the fishing improved as we trolled off a stream mouth where there were actively feeding salmon and pods of smelt. I spotted several smelt floating by the boat, always a good sign of what is going on down below! We trolled golden shiners; just lip-hooked and were able to land two very decent fish 20-22 inches and one old girl that had seen better days, which we harvested. One salmon had 8 smelt in the gut, including a golden shiner. The salmon were active and jumped several times, at one point throwing the hook back in Ben’s face! The trick right now is to find the “warm” stream water as it enters the lake, and work the edges, especially where bait pods are present. The fellows next to us trolling streamers did equally well. There is some good action down on the Merrymeeting River in Alton now with the increased flows, with mostly salmon hitting the flies. Other streams in the area are fishable now, except the main stem of the Pemigewasset River which is still experiencing heavy flows. All the big lakes in our area are either ice free or have lingering pockets of ice, which can be fished around. Always keep an eye on the wind if fishing around ice, have an escape plan in your mind if the ice shifts suddenly. Sunapee Lake is nearly 100% ice-free and it looks like the smelt will be running soon up there. Lake Winnisquam is free of ice, but hasn’t seen a lot of activity yet. Opening day for trout ponds is fast approaching (Saturday, April 26) and the hatchery trucks have been rolling for several days now. Ponds as far north as Perch Pond, Campton are ice free, even Echo Lake in Franconia is clear, although Profile Lake is still ice-covered. The early season fishing in the ponds can be quite good, bait or flies (fished slowly) will do the trick. Saltmarsh Pond (Gilford) and Spectacle Pond (Hebron) are just two of my early season favorites. Get out and enjoy the open water, it has been frozen long enough! – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Monadnock/Upper Valley



At long last the “winter that would never end” is over and anglers are chomping at the bit to get out on the water. Our office has been flooded with calls and visitors asking about the best waters to fish, what areas have been stocked, and if the ice is out yet on their favorite lakes and ponds. The most frequent ice-out question has been for our three lake trout/salmon lakes (Nubanusit, Granite, and Silver) and I can report that they are all ice free and fishable! Numerous anglers get confused each year about when they can fish rivers and streams for trout with most thinking they have to wait until the fourth Saturday in April (opening day of designated trout ponds). As we let them know, most rivers and streams are open to fishing from January 1 to October 15. Some suggested trout ponds to try on opening day are Dublin Lake (Dublin), Mt. Williams Pond (Weare), Whittemore Lake (Bennington), Willard Pond (Antrim; fly fishing only), Hunts Pond (Hancock), and Millen Lake (Washington). Some other good early season general regulation ponds for trout include Forest Lake (Winchester) and Laurel Lake (Fitzwilliam). Best bets for trout in streams include the Cold, Ashuelot, Contoocook, and Souhegan Rivers. Otter Brook (Sullivan) is also an early season favorite for trout. Walleye fishing in the Connecticut River has been hit or miss this spring due to high water. Water temperatures in the main river are running in the low 40’s and hopefully the walleye start hitting once the river comes down and clears up a bit. Remember that even if you miss the pre-spawn bite, the walleye fishing can be good for a couple weeks after they spawn as well. The only consistent bass reports I have been receiving are from the Connecticut River setbacks in Hinsdale where anglers are reporting catching a few quality fish on most trips. A friend of mine reported doing well throwing jigs along rocky shorelines and casting a chatterbait along the edges of last year’s stands of vegetation. - Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley



Trout stocking is well underway in the southeastern part of New Hampshire. Our fish culturists and conservation officers have been supplying hatchery fish to several of the regions lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in the area for the last couple of weeks now. Anglers should be prepared to encounter brook, brown, and rainbow trout yearlings up to 12 inches long. Some waterbodies, typically, our designated trout ponds, receive older, larger trout as well. The opening of trout ponds (April 26) usually results in large crowds of anglers, some posturing for their preferred location well before sunrise. For a list of the designated trout ponds in the area, go to: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/trout_ponds.html. If a less crowded experience is desired, our ponds with no closed season for trout have likely already received a good allotment of hatchery fish, but lack the congestion and anticipation that comes along with an opening day. Some of waterbodies that come to mind are Bow Lake (Strafford), Massabesic Lake (Auburn/Manchester), and Pleasant Lake (Deerfield). Extreme caution should be given if fishing the Merrimack River. Although some sections of the river look rather placid, there is a great deal of current right now. A slip from the shoreline or motor malfunction could turn into a dangerous situation. While still somewhat high in flow, the Cocheco (Dover) and Lamprey (Durham) rivers are expected to go down quickly and soon be fishable. These rivers are managed for catch and release and single barbless hook lures and flies before the fourth Friday in April. Between the fourth Saturday in April and October 15, regulations allow for all legal fishing methods and a five fish limit. New Hampshire Fish and Game supplied these rivers with surplus broodstock brook and brown trout this past fall in addition to normal trout stocking targets. The size of these larger fish should make these rivers a place to focus. For obvious reasons, most anglers invest a lot of time pondering about what gear and presentation to use while fishing. Knowledgeable anglers try to select tackle that mimics a resident forage fish or a hatching aquatic macroinvertebrate in which their target fish species is already conditioned to feed upon for that time of year. In the spring, gear selection could be done to perfection but still result in poor catch rates unless other variables are considered. One thing that is often overlooked at this time of year is water temperature. As water temperatures gradually rise, a single degree or two variation can make all the difference if the species you want to target will be present and active in a section or river or on a particular shoreline. Both forage fish and game fish seek warmer waters this time of year either to feed or prepare for spawning. Fish finders with water temperature gauges or simple thermometers can help delineate pockets of warmer water, but there are other ways to predict where warmer water can be found. While low light periods (dawn and dusk) are thought to be the best times to fish, fishing the mid-day and afternoon bite can be more effective in the spring due to the sun warming shallow waters. For rivers and streams, look to the slow moving shallows along the edges, particularly if there is a great deal of sun exposure. Here, warmer temperatures and less current typically cause forage fish to congregate and macroinvertebrates to hatch. For lakes and ponds, focus on shallow shorelines with northern exposures (where the sun’s angle has the ability to warm them throughout the day) and near the mouths of warmer tributaries entering the waterbody. Once you locate a fish, try to focus on the area, as it is likely that other fish have gathered in that location. A recent boat electrofishing survey showed a high number of largemouth bass in one specific area in a local Concord pond. While most of the shoreline was void of fish, largemouth bass were stacked up along this particular shoreline with a great deal of sun exposure. At the same pond, large schools of spawning yellow perch were also in the shallows nearby. Water temperatures can be highly variable in this region of New Hampshire. Our ponds near the southern border are already close to 50 degrees and the northern ponds (some just losing their ice this past week) are still around 40 degrees. The range in river temperatures in the region are similar. As previously mentioned, the current flow rate of much of the Merrimack River is unsuitable for fishing. This is going to delay the stocking of the Atlantic salmon broodstock. Unless the flow drastically reduces soon in the Merrimack and Pemigewasset rivers, the broodstock will likely not be released until a time in early May. It is worthy of noting that this is expected to be the last time these fish will be released into these rivers. Given that the restoration program to restore Atlantic salmon to the Merrimack River watershed has ended, this will be the last time anglers can purchase a brood stock permit and target these tagged salmon. These fish are in exceptional condition this year, with plenty of them weighing greater than ten pounds. The number available allows us to stock all traditional locations (Below the Hooksett Dam, Sewall’s Falls, the mouth of the Contoocook River, the Winnipesaukee River/Pemigewasset River confluence, and below the Ayers Island Dam in Bristol). To learn more about the broodstock program and the regulations and access points that go along with it, go to: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/atlantic_salmon.htm. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Seacoast Area



Unfortunately for eager cod fishermen, spring weather is as unpredictable as fishing and the season started off with most boats in port. Cod season opened April 16 with 30 knot winds and a very cold day. Luckily, the fish have been slightly more cooperative, with some excellent days mixed in. Fishermen are reporting a good number of haddock and fewer cod, with the majority of fish having to go back over the rails.



The rainbow smelt run appears to be at its end, and river herring have started making their way up some of the coastal rivers on their spawning run; striped bass won’t be too far behind. I expect we will hear the first reports of them in a week or so, they should be showing up full force to gorge themselves in just a few short weeks.



There is a NEW ONLINE striped bass survey available this year. The Fish and Game Department is looking for any and all striped bass anglers to report on their catch and fishing effort in N.H. waters. Please take a few minutes and complete the survey each time you fish for striped bass; we want to hear about ALL trips, even ones without catch! http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/marine/striper_survey.html



Rule changes coming May 1 for federal waters: Atlantic Cod - Minimum size, 21 inches; bag limit, 9 fish; closed season September 1, 2014 - April 14, 2015. Haddock - Minimum size, 21 inches; bag limit, 3 fish; closed season September 1- November 30, 2014 AND March 1 – April 30, 2015. For more information on these rule changes see http://www.nero.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2014/recmeasures14.pdf – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist



----- FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.



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-- Copyright 2014 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301.







Fishing Report for August 22, 2013

Greetings, anglers. Fishing is hot around the state, with some especially good action in the twilight hours. And did you know that ocean sunfish can top 2,000 pounds?

ACCESS NOTES:



* Vehicular access to Sky Pond in New Hampton will not be available from Monday, August 26, to Thursday, August 29, due to road work being done in the area by the Town. Anglers should check for updates at http://www.new-hampton.nh.us or 603-744-8025.

* Reminder: Thorndike Pond in Jaffrey will be closed to all fishing from September 3 through November 30 while they repair the dam. http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2013/Q3/Drawdown_Thorndike_072413.html

* The boat access facility on Baxter Lake in Rochester, N.H., is closed for repairs for about three weeks while we repair the boat ramp. http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/2013/Q3/baxter_lake_closure_081313.html

Past stocking reports: http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html

Fishing licenses: http://www.fishnh.com. Kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!

Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame

NORTH COUNTRY

I ran into a friend from high school last week and he reminded me of the many fishing adventures we had. At that age, neither of us had much equipment, but we enjoyed fishing and learned a lot from each other. One of our favorite types of angling was nighttime hornpout fishing. We would meet just before dark and gather fishing rods, bait, and some firewood. Most of our locations were on the Merrimack River but we also visited some small farm ponds in the central part of the state. Once the fire was built, we would secure a large sinker and treble hook to the end of our medium-heavy spinning rods. We experimented with all types of bait, including night crawlers and dough-baits. Our favorite was beef liver picked up at a convenience store meat counter. It was cheap and seemed to lure the hornpout in. After a long cast into the dark water, we would set our poles into forked sticks so that we could see the ends in the firelight. The rest of the night became a waiting game, as we poked at the fire and talked about high school stuff. Eventually, one of the rod tips would start to dance, and someone would reel in a brown bullhead. The hooks were generally secure and a pair of pliers was necessary to get them out. We often kept our fish and cleaned them at the end of the night, but we had just as many catch-and-release evenings. We would fish for a few hours until someone got tired or the fishing slowed down. Occasionally, one of us would catch an eel and argue about who had to take it off the hook. After dousing the fire, we would walk home carrying fishing poles and a bucket full of fish. I was glad that I bumped into that friend, and he reminded me of such great memories. I made it a point to go hornpouting with my son one night this week. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

LAKES REGION

Our night-time smelt surveys are keeping us busy right now. We just finished up on Lake Winnipesaukee, and I was pleased to see the level of smelt we have in that lake. Fellow biologists, Ben Nugent, John Viar and Matt Carpenter were nice enough to give me a night off last night, as they surveyed Lake Winnisquam. They found alewives and smelt pretty well mixed together around the depth of the thermocline (30 feet) or so. This is the second year that anadromous alewives have been stocked into Lake Winnisquam, and the results appear promising. I caught a lake trout the other morning at 40 feet on the downrigger, where I assume he was feeding on alewives. This additional, short-term forage will be a boon to Winnisquam’s cold-water fisheries. Landlocked salmon fishing continues to be hot on Lake Winnipesaukee. Try fishing with single-shank flies in white or copper colors 30-45 feet down, and you should have some luck on rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. I favor the Maynard’s Marvel or some combination of red-headed flies sporting white or purple wings. The preponderance of salmon are running up to 19-20 inches, and close to three pounds. These fish, for the most part, constitute the two-year-old age class, stocked in the spring of 2012. There are also a few three-year-olds in the catch. Winnipesaukee is a fast-paced fishery, with fewer older fish found in the catch. River fishing has picked up, with cooler night-time temps…Charlie reported some luck on nice rainbows recently fishing the larger rivers in New Hampshire. The dog-days of summer are here, but not for long. Get out and do some dusk-to-dark fishing for largemouth bass on any of our bass ponds in central New Hampshire. Try Wicwas Lake and the Moultonboro end of Winnipesaukee and work the weed beds at dusk with top-water plugs. The largemouth are feeding heavily right now after dark. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

A friend of mine just emailed with a report of some great largemouth bass fishing in the Connecticut River over the past couple days. Sounds like a number of 3+ lb bass were fooled by frogs, spinnerbaits, and shakey head presentations. Another friend spoke of a great time he recently had on Loon Pond (Hillsborough) while taking a 12-year-old neighbor fishing. They started at 6:30 in the evening and fished till dark. Due to a late Hex hatch, they used small topwater lures and had a blast. Fish caught included some big yellow perch, 20-inch pickerel, and a number of largemouth and smallmouth bass. The big fish of the day, caught by the youngster, was a 21-inch largemouth bass that went 5 lbs. 4 oz. on a digital scale. Remember to try small topwater lures the next time you are fishing for warmwater species on your favorite waterbody when there is a good insect hatch. I have been having some good largemouth bass outings as of late on local ponds. My best trips have been in the early morning and late evening. I too have been having success with topwater lures (frogs and poppers) and have caught good fishing using drop shot rigs, Carolina rigs, wacky rigged Senko type baits, and chatterbaits. Bass have been spread out pretty well across a range of depths and the edges of stands of vegetation and fallen trees have been particularly productive. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

American eels are arguably one of the least understood species that occupy the rivers, lakes, and ponds of the Merrimack River watershed. In an effort to better understand the distribution and density of American eels in the Merrimack River basin, we’ve partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to learn more about this reclusive species. American Eels are catadromous, the species matures in fresh or brackish water and then returns to the ocean to spawn. This is the opposite life cycle pattern observed with anadromous species such as Atlantic Salmon, American Shad, Blueback Herring and Alewives. It is suspected that eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea (near the Bahamas). They undergo several different morphological life stages throughout their lives. Initially, the young are called “glass eels.” They are translucent, having a willow leaf shape and utilize ocean currents to carry them to the coast United States. This can take as long as a year. As the species reaches freshwater tributaries along the coast, their body shape changes to more of the traditional eel shape and they enter into the life stage known as “elvers.” The goal of this life stage is for the species to ascend freshwater rivers and find a desirable larger river, lake, or pond to grow in. The elver life stage can last up to three years before the species matures into the “yellow eel” stage. Once a yellow eel, the species becomes a voracious predator of fish and aquatic macroinvertebrates. They yellow eel life stage can last as long as 20 years, where lengths of the fish can reach close to five feet. Eventually, the final maturation stage is reached when the species changes into the “silver eel” phase. These mature adults then get the urge to try to make their way out of freshwater and return to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. Our records indicate the presence of American eels as far upstream as Squam Lake. We have used both eel pots (similar to a lobster pot) and electrofishing to get a sense for the distribution of American eels in the watershed. We still need to better refine our sampling techniques to develop a more efficient way to capture them. It would also be helpful if any anglers who have a location where they routinely catch eels in the Merrimack River watershed to report it to us. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

The mackerel have been pretty quiet recently, with most of the action out by the Isles of Shoals. We are still waiting for the larger bluefish to come into our waters as well; most of the fish we are seeing are less than 12 inches, but there are some of those around in the river as well as the bay. Striped bass are still being reported down in the Hampton Harbor and the rivers flowing into it, among lots of baitfish. The more exciting news of late has been of larger fish.

A number of reports have come in recently of Mola mola or ocean sunfish. These fish are unmistakable, with an average adult size of 2,000 pounds! Their most distinguishing feature is their apparent lack of a caudal (tail) fin, which has been replaced by a “pseudo tail,” a short fleshy finlike structure that retains some of the characteristics of a fin but is not used in propulsion. The dorsal and anal fins are elongated and, as it swims near or at the surface, the dorsal fin may stick out above the water, resembling a shark fin. The sighting of a Mola mola is often mistaken for that of a shark, but can be distinguished by the movement of the dorsal fin, as sharks use their caudal fin for propulsion and the dorsal fin remains still. – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION: AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teaching people about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Learn more at http://www.wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.

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Copyright 2013 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. For usage policy, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/usage_policy.htm. Comments or questions concerning this list should be directed to jane.vachon@wildlife.nh.gov









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