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N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - July 8, 2010

Take Me Fishing!

Stocking report 6/28-7/8:

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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

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North Country

It can be difficult to predict what effect the warm weather will have on gamefish in northern New Hampshire. The current heat wave has been hanging around long enough that there are clear impacts on our waterbodies. Common sense would tell you that coldwater fish like trout and salmon seek refuge from warm water by swimming deeper or near springs and tributaries. They will also respond to the insects that begin hatching in really warm weather, like grasshoppers and other terrestrials. Warmwater fish like bass and pike recognize that our growing season is relatively short and will feed heavily. Baitfish are also reaching a size that makes them worthwhile prey for lunker fish. This is also an excellent opportunity to fish late into the evening. Nothing feels better than fishing a surface lure on calm water as the sun sets. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

Head north or go deep are the watchwords for anglers after the July 4th weekend! A record-setting heat wave has enveloped New Hampshire, and the lack of substantial rains has seen water temps soaring into the mid 70s. Lake trollers will still find good action 20-30 feet down, as the thermocline is actively "setting up."

A few words about the thermocline. In our large, deep lakes, as summer progresses, warmer surface waters increase in depth, and blanket the colder, more dense waters below. Where the two "zones" mix, the water temperature drastically falls, and the water in the deep, cold basins "bottoms out” around 46-48 degrees. The zone where the greatest temperature flux occurs is also the area of high plankton (phytoplankton and zooplankton) activity. At night, rainbow smelt rise up in the water column, and feed in this rich zone all night, until the morning sun drives the smelt back down, well below the thermocline. Early morning anglers will often see the remnants of schools of smelt before they begin their downward movement. Experienced lake trollers know all about the thermocline, and with modern temperature probes, are able to accurately fish this zone consistently. Remember: as waters warm, these fish brought up from the depths need to be treated gently, and quickly released if not harvested.

Mountain streams are still providing excellent fishing, but we need some significant showers to help maintain receding water levels. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

If the hot, sticky weather has got you down and you want to keep cool and yet still feel like you’re fishing, try snorkeling in your favorite lake or stream. An inexpensive pair of goggles or a mask and snorkel will enhance your perspective of fish and maybe even improve your fishing success.

Most of what you hear about fishing on television shows, fishing magazines, or from your fellow anglers is slanted towards a very humanistic perspective. Many times while fishing, I’ve said to myself, “Now if I were a fish, I would be over by that log or in that pool.” If I don’t catch a fish from that spot, it either means nothing was interested in what I was casting or that there weren’t any fish there. By entering the fish’s environment, snorkeling lets you not only see the location fish are holding in, but also gives you an idea of their behavior and feeding patterns.

When snorkeling in streams, move slowly in an upstream direction. Try to minimize any sudden movements and use the stream bottom to pull yourself along. Pools are a great place to watch trout and minnows feed and interact. In lakes and ponds, snorkel along the shore where the water starts to deepen (watch out for jet-skis and motorboats). Keep your eyes open and when you see fish, approach them slowly or observe them from a distance. Docks are also a great place to locate fish. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

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 walleye. That's right...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 most recent reported catch occurred in mid-June and the fish was close to 10 pounds. The records of the first walleye introductions to the Merrimack River are unclear but more recent plantings have occurred in 1977 and 1992. A survey in the 1960s by New Hampshire Fish and Game yielded a fair number of walleyes in the Hooksett/Manchester area. Anglers can take advantage of the low flow 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

The worst of the heat wave is behind us but there are still plenty of warm days left and the best place to beat the heat is on the ocean! Not only was a boat the place to be for comfort this week but for fishing as well. The Hampton area was the big hitter again with reports of stripers landed in the mouth of the harbor. Mackerel continue to be elusive but there have been few reports of them at the Shoals in great number. Striped bass are nocturnal feeders and the tides are once again aligned for some killer early morning and late evening fishing. Take a trip out to the Shoals for some mackerel. Anglers have been doing best with live bait this week, so take those macks and live line for stripers, you might try drifting at the mouth of Hampton Harbor. If a boat trip is not in your future, you can get close to the action from either shore or the bridge. Also, eels are a good alternative to live mackerel and you can find them at bait shops with no need to wet your feet!

In other news, it looks like New Hampshire’s headboat companies have started doing half-day flounder trips. Come on down to the coast and increase your odds of catching one by going with the professionals! – Rebecca Heuss, Marine Biologist

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