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N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - July 1, 2010

Take Me Fishing!

Happy Independence Day - have a wonderful weekend!

Stocking report 6/21-6/25: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/fish_stock_current.htm

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

Saltwater Angler Registry: www.countmyfish.noaa.gov

FLY TYING WORKSHOPS from our friends at Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester! July 17, 24, or 31 from 10am to noon. Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned fish-wrangler, this series will explore new tying tips and tricks to some classic fly patterns.  Each workshop focuses on a different fly and costs $8 per person. For ages 8 and up (children must be accompanied by an adult), all abilities. Advance registration with payment required. For info on this or other programs at Amoskeag, call (603) 626-3474 or visit www.amoskeagfishways.org/public.html.

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North Country

This week, instead of writing about the same old same old, I thought I’d give a brief overview of what your Fisheries Biologists have been doing in the North Country. We have been working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Trout Unlimited, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED), Dartmouth College, the Society for the Protection of NH Forests (SPNHF) and many more including various advisory groups and guides to gather information on brook trout migration patterns and habitat preferences in two of the major river systems in northern NH. We have been angling fish in the upper Connecticut River near the confluence of Indian Stream and so far have captured one fish that has been radio-tagged. Our hope is to capture more and see how these fish utilize the Connecticut River above Canaan Dam and the surrounding tributaries. The other watershed involved is the Dead Diamond River system. We have tagged fish in both the Swift Diamond and Diamond Rivers. The tags will last a little over one year so they will provide us with information on summer habitats, spawning grounds, and over-winter areas. These assessments are important management tools and the information gathered will aid management across the state.

The weather is supposed to be great this holiday weekend so head out and fish for that trophy. – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region

The end of June is the time of year when almost all the trout stocking has been completed, except for a few North Country rivers. It also is the time when hatchery managers finalize the numbers of various trout species that they will hold in their respective hatcheries for the 2011 production season. At this time many hatcheries realize a surplus of fish, and due to warming water temperatures, these fish need to be stocked out ASAP! The central Lakes Region trout ponds and bigger streams are now receiving these surplus trout, likewise the waters in the southern White Mountains will receive perhaps the lion's share of these fish due to better water levels and temperatures. Things have warmed up considerably, large lake temps are in the low 70s, and surface temps in trout ponds may even be higher. These times call for early morning and late evening fishing for trout, as sunlight is off the water and insect hatches appear often at dusk. Take advantage of these time slots, they will perhaps be the most productive times for anglers. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

Last weekend a co-worker and I ventured out on the Connecticut River in Chesterfield in pursuit of walleye. The game plan was trolling for them with bottom-bouncers and crawler harnesses on shoreline dropoffs, a first for me and a technique my co-worker had only dabbled in a couple of times before. This is a great way to explore and learn the Connecticut River and you never know what you are going to catch with this setup. Plan on bringing plenty of bottom bouncers (essentially a wire and weight rig that you attach to the crawler harness to that gets you to the bottom), crawlers and crawler harnesses because there are plenty of snags on the river bottom. We only managed to catch one walleye but we caught a big white perch, some chunky smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and rock bass. This is a beautiful section of the Connecticut River to spend a day on and if the fishing is slow or you just need to take a break and stretch your legs there are numerous places to stop and have lunch or take a swim. Hopefully after a few more outings we will find a few more walleye and a few less snags. – Jason Carrier, 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 hold more dissolved oxygen with more tolerable water temperatures where the fish will spend most of their time. In some instances, diets shift away from hatched insects to forage fish, zooplankton, and any emerging macroinvertebrate not fortunate enough to make it to the surface. 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 temps 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.

Wild brook trout studies are well underway in New Hampshire. As part of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, crews are surveying several streams at the watershed level. The intention of these surveys will help summarize the status of wild brook trout population at the specific watershed level. In addition to obtaining records of where fish are found, crews detail surrounding habitat impacts in the stream and land around it. The watersheds that encompass Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Winnisquam have been completed this month and at first glance, reveal wild brook trout populations that are not so robust. We encountered several first-order streams that directly enter these large lakes and appear to offer suitable habitat, but no wild populations were found. I can only speculate that several of these streams once had populations but some sort of catastrophic event displaced them. Because they enter large lakes with minimal brook trout presence, recolonization is difficult. In the end, it is anticipated the survey data and comments will be incorporated into town and regional land use plans; this way, the public can become more aware of what fish species are present in their area and learn of ways to protect them for future generations. The survey crews have switched their focus to the Lamprey River Watershed where we have very limited data; an active watershed stewardship group is willing to use these surveys for future planning guidelines and recommendations. We will be spending the rest of the week in the Connecticut Lakes Natural Area, where we will develop baseline data and survey index sites to monitor wild brook trout in somewhat more pristine conditions. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

Not much change on the fishing front this week. Mackerel were a little harder to come by in the past few days, so if you find them, let us know! Anglers are still doing well on striped bass; Hampton Harbor has been the hot spot this past week. Shore fishing at the mouth of the harbor is still productive, especially if you don’t mind catching schoolies. The wait continues for those blues, but reports keep coming in of them just south of our waters.

Share your fish-pics and success stories with us at www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame. – Rebecca Heuss, Marine Biologist

 
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