N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - July 15, 2010
Stocking note: Fish stocking is just about over for the season, so the weekly stocking report will be suspended until next spring. The Androscoggin River was stocked in Berlin, Dummer, and Errol last week, as well as Kids Pond in Jefferson, and that's it. Thanks for reading, and we'll look forward to reporting to you again next year. Click here for past stocking reports.
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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 www.amoskeagfishways.org/public.html.
How quickly things can change. It seems like just a few weeks ago rivers and streams were being refreshed with rain events and cool temperatures. Opportunities were great for catching fish. Even our lakes and ponds were cool and fishermen were having good luck. With the recent heat wave and lack of precipitation, water temperatures have skyrocketed and water levels are down. Just this week, I've investigated “fish kills” in half a dozen North Country ponds -- all have suffered from high water temperatures and low oxygen levels.
Lakes Region/White Mountains
Extensive snorkeling along the shorelines of Lake Winnisquam has revealed that the fish have moved into much deeper water. Young-of-the-year (YOY) bass fry can still be found near old bass nesting areas, while schools of YOY yellow perch are found in the shallow shorelines. Structure, in the form of fallen trees on rockpiles, led to my only observance of fish to speak of, namely a large school of common sunfish (pumpkinseeds). I retrieved several plastic lizards and rattle lures -- these can be hazards to swimmers and ingested by bass or foraging lake trout in the winter. We have seen many winter-caught lake trout with soft baits in their digestive tracts; we’ve found them in rainbow trout and landlocked salmon, too. Whenever possible, please retrieve these artificial baits and dispose of them in the proper manner. Bass fishermen that I have seen are working the drop-offs in 20-30 feet of water.
I have just returned from a brief mountain-stream fishing trip with my daughter Holly, and what a fantastic time we had! Wading in cool water (mid-60s) and catching brook and rainbow trout on Hornbergs was just the ticket on a hot day! We fished the shaded side of the river, and worked the pools and runs hard. Sometimes, it took several casts to get the right drift. The trout we harvested had lots of nymphs and several terrestrials in them. Try these mountain streams with a light fly rod, and wading shoes, it's a cool way to beat the heat, and the solitude you find in the mountains (get off the beaten path) is your reward. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Despite the hot weather, trout can still be caught in many of our area lakes and ponds. However, tactics such as wire line, down-riggers, or lead-core line must be employed in order to get your lure down to the depth where the fish are located. Early morning trips can also help greatly during this time of year in regards to your fishing success and your comfort level.
Reports have been coming in of nice rainbows being caught at Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), and Silver Lake (Harrisville). I also heard that a couple anglers did well at Nubanusit Lake (Hancock/Nelson) over the weekend, landing some landlocked salmon, smallmouth bass, and rainbow trout. Remember, it always pays to bring a spinning rod and some bass tackle in the event that the trout aren't biting. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley
After receiving reports from concerned anglers regarding their fishing experiences at Baxter Lake in Rochester over last year and this season, we conducted a warm water community survey to evaluate the condition of the fishery there. Several species were captured during the survey, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, American eel, common sunfish, yellow perch, golden shiner, white sucker, and banded killifish. This year's recruitment rate of largemouth bass appears to be very good, however, we did not observe any young-of-the-year smallmouth bass. The lack of YOY smallies may be attributed to them seeking deeper, cooler water in which our sampling technique isn't too effective.
Mature largemouth and smallmouth bass were in good condition and somewhat abundant in locations with nearby structure (rocky areas, vegetated coves, shoreline with quick dropoffs, fallen trees, overhanging bushes, etc.). We captured both of these species in excess of 18 inches and 2.5 pounds. Some larger portions of the waterbody lacked habitat complexity and essentially consisted of barren sand flats. These areas contained very few fish of any species.
A survey was also conducted on Sunrise Lake in Middleton to evaluate the resurgence of fish species after the waterbody was dewatered for a large-scale dam repair in 2008. The fishery will take some time to return to the level it once was, but we did see some good indications of its recovery. The success of this year’s largemouth and smallmouth bass and yellow perch spawn appears to have been very good. Smaller common sunfish, white sucker, golden shiner, and American eels were also captured. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist
This past week I was reminded of how exciting mackerel fishing is for kids (and adults). Aboard a boat this weekend I watched kids get excited seeing the school of mackerel swim by the boat, and most every cast ended with another fish flopping wildly on deck. They may not be a prize fish you’ll go home and boast about, but fishing for mackerel is much more action then you will get groundfishing. Mackerel are voracious and will strike most small lures; the most commonly used are one-ounce diamond jigs or mackerel trees. Boat fishing is usually more successful than shore, but shore fishing is not out of the question. Great Island Common in Newcastle is one of the more productive shore fishing sites for mackerel and there is a playground and beach on site. Bring your grill and have a picnic of freshly caught mackerel!
For seashore fishing sites and tips, download our coastal fishing guide: www.fishnh.com/marine/marine_PDFs/seacoast_TMF_guide.pdf – Rebecca Heuss, Marine Biologist
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