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N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - July 22, 2010

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North Country

Sorry folks, no report from the North Country this week. We’ll be back next week! –Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

This is beginning to look like the summer to break all heat wave records. Luckily, our big lakes stratify and are able to support our various coldwater species, i.e., landlocked salmon, rainbow and lake trout (and don't forget the smelt, without which we would have no coldwater fisheries!). Deep-water trolling is best accomplished through the use of downriggers, although lead-core line will get you down to the approximate depths also. Trolling small, single-hook streamer flies, in a myriad of patterns, will do the trick. For even more excitement, try pinching down the barb on your flies; this may lead to the loss of some fish, but will allow a quicker release at the boat. Reports from Winnipesaukee reveal that some fine 3 year-old landlocked salmon are being taken at depths approaching 30-40 feet. Also, lake trout seem to be "on the bite," just a little deeper, near bottom structure.

Hexagenia (mayfly) hatches are still evident, as I have seen the empty nymphal cases floating in Lake Winnisquam. Early morning anglers should be able to attract rainbow trout and possibly salmon at first light with lighter lines near the surface, as these fish gorge on mayflies. As always, remember that as you bring these fish up from colder waters, they will be stressed and every precaution in handling should be exercised!

My favorite hot-weather fisheries are still going strong, brookies in our mountain streams and ponds. It seems lately that we have been receiving more thundershowers; this is much needed to keep these fisheries afloat. –Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

In the past, I have generally stayed away from thick aquatic vegetation while bass fishing. It wasn’t that I didn’t realize warmwater fish species are attracted to vegetation because it provides shade, oxygen, food, and a place to ambush prey from, I just didn’t feel like dealing with all the snags and wasted time removing vegetation from my lure, as well as the fish I continually seemed to lose once hooked. That all changed a few years ago when I started using some different lures and leaning more towards the “superlines.” These superlines (Berkley Fireline and Stren Microfuse are two of those available) are fantastic for fishing in vegetation as they are incredibly strong, don’t stretch, have a thin diameter relative to the same pound test in monofilament, and cut through vegetation very easily when snagged or when fighting a fish. Any superlines in 15-20 lb. test should do the job, although I know some anglers that use up to 50 lb. test when fishing in thick vegetation.

For bass fishing in vegetation, I like to use a weedless frog or 5-6” plastic worm or senko-style lure. Frogs that I have had good luck with include the SPRO Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog and the Tru-Tungsten Mad Maxx Frog. These baits cost about $9 apiece and less expensive Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops name-brands are also available and work well. These lures are virtually snag-proof, and you can cast them a long way. Either reel them in a steady fashion or alternate between fast reels and stops. To fish a plastic worm or senko-style lure, I simply thread it onto a hook so that the lure covers the straight part of the hook, making sure the lure sits straight when I am done. I use a weedless hook such as those available from Eagle Claw in a size 1/0. By keeping your rod tip high and reeling at a moderate pace, the worm will swim across the surface of the water and over and around vegetation. A good trick with this technique is to stop reeling as the bait reaches any open spot in the vegetation and let it sink. Often, a bass that has been following the lure will take that opportunity to strike.  –Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Fish community surveys are continuing in the Lamprey Watershed with an emphasis on identifying self-sustaining brook trout populations. Although the majority of the watershed tends to be warmer wetland streams, some new populations of wild brook trout have been documented. These streams appear to have the ability to stay cooler from groundwater (springs) entering them. Water temperatures at these streams have been close to 20 degrees cooler. Additionally, we spent a day last week looking at fish communities in the Winnicut River watershed. This information will likely help prioritize and guide restoration projects in the future, as much of this watershed is now free-flowing and a variety of different diadromous species (those that migrate between fresh and salt waters) have access to the watershed. American eels, redfin pickerel, and wild brook trout are some of the species we captured. These species are designated “species of concern” in New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan. –Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

What a week for fishing! Anglers are doing well with just about everything lately. Mackerel are back in force and with them came the stripers. Most of the reports coming in are from outside of the harbors, not much action on shore recently. While performing Fish and Game’s juvenile lobster SCUBA survey in the Piscataqua River this past week we were approached by some surfacing stripers, no doubt looking for a lobster snack. It’s nice to know they’re around, even if lobster is expensive bait! These stripers were seen on an incoming tide in Sprague Cove, the first cove downstream of Dover Point on the NH side. The groundfishing has been steady out at Jeffrey’s Ledge, unfortunately they’ve been catching a similar number of dogfish, but if you are willing to fight with the dogs it is well worth the effort.

The most common question around the coast these days: Are the blues in yet? We are still getting a few reports of them from our south but have yet to see them in NH waters. –Rebecca Heuss, Marine Biologist

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