N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - August 26, 2010
Note: Fish stocking is over for the season. Click here for past stocking reports.
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The leaves are beginning to change in Coos County, days are getting shorter, and successful fishermen are again changing their approach. Fly anglers are noticing subtle differences in the insect hatches on their favorite waterbodies. In August, I always enjoy fishing large terrestrial flies like grasshoppers and flying ants. Lately, they have not been as successful. I've seen very small mayflies and stoneflies in dark greens and browns. After a whole summer of feeding on them, most fish are very wary and it takes a perfect cast to fool them. I also like to fish a lot of streamers. After an entire growing season, those fish born in the spring are reaching a size where larger fish are noticing them as a food source. An overlooked streamer is the squirrel-tail, which mimics all kinds of minnows - especially dace. My favorite standby streamer is the Black Ghost or the Coachman.
When fish are rising to flies that I can't see or identify, I will usually cast a very small (#24) Griffiths Gnat. I've landed some very large fish on these and other tiny flies. When darkness approaches and visibility decreases, I go to a special fly box filled with chartreuse Wulffs that make a strike easy to see. Although temperatures are decreasing there still exists a "heat-of-the-day" fishery where fish seem to go into a period of inactivity. At these times, I flip bead-headed nymphs into fast water. For the past few seasons, I've been using a strike indicator to help notice hits. My favorite bead-headed flies include hare's ears, pheasant tails, and prince nymphs. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Lakes Region/White Mountains
Well, we have finally received a much-needed soaking rain here in the Lakes Region! We are now in the third day of a hard east/northeast wind, which is not the best weather to go trolling on our big lakes! Actually, surface temps have dropped, and this may trigger landlocked salmon to head "shoreward." I have noticed a trend the last few years where adult landlocked salmon can be seen in rather shallow water, running along sandy/gravel shorelines, as early as the first week of September! These salmon can be seen leaping out of the water, several feet into the air, and then crashing back into the water, only to repeat this tactic along the shoreline. All I can figure, is this is a pre-spawn activity, enjoyed by the salmon, as part of their spawning ritual. I have seen schools of these fish along the shorelines, and have successfully fly-casted to them with small streamers - bright colors are best.
Remember, not all salmon partake of this activity, so don't completely give up on off-shore trolling. Also, early morning anglers on Lake Winnipesaukee may encounter salmon slashing schools of smelt off of Welch, Diamond and Rattlesnake islands as surface waters cool. This is an exciting time for anglers, as these fish have no respect for boaters – I’ve had them 5 feet from my boat during these times! Lake trout are "setting up" at this time of year, so try some vertical jigging on those calm mornings. Small jigs, tipped with plastic grubs, fished over or near suspended bait pods, will often have lake trout launching up from the depths after these targets. Use your electronics to locate bait pods (suspended are the best) as they’re being attacked by trout. As always, remember you are angling for coldwater fish, try to minimize fight time, and decide quickly to harvest or release fish.
The southern White Mountains reveal splashes of color already, it makes me yearn to grab a fly rod and pursue the most beautiful trout, the squaretail! With some more rain, look for remote ponds to be productive. I know I will be fishing the same mountain streams after things quiet down up north, before the foliage season peaks. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist
I haven’t been able to bass fish for a couple weeks but managed to get out on Saturday for most of the day with a co-worker. I had a plan going into the day as I have noticed that the majority of the time two bass anglers are in a boat together, both tend to cast in the same direction. For example, both anglers will concentrate on the shoreline or emergent vegetation or a rocky point or shoal. This weekend, we took the opposite approach. I positioned the boat within casting distance of the shoreline and one of us would cast to shore and the other would cast in the opposite direction towards deeper water. This allowed us to cover more water, find fish faster, and made it so the person fishing in the back of the boat was not casting into areas that the front angler had already fished.
Another strategy we used this weekend was to throw lures to places where you wouldn’t normally fish them. For example, we threw jigs and topwaters to deeper water and casted drop-shots and small crankbaits towards shore. It is important to remember that most anglers are creatures of habit and fish can become conditioned and wary of the same old lures. While a bass that frequents a particular log on a shoreline will likely see hundreds of jigs during a summer, it is likely that this same fish has not seen many drop-shot rigs or tiny crankbaits and that might be just the advantage you need. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley
Southeastern New Hampshire has several multi-tiered fisheries that may be worth a try at the tail end of the summer. These waterbodies have fishable populations of both stocked trout and warmwater fish species and give the angler an opportunity to completely change tactics if things are working too slowly. Some of my recommendations are Massabesic Lake, Bow Lake, Lucas Pond, Hothole Pond, the Suncook Lakes, Pleasant Lake, and Tower Hill Pond. The accessibility of these waterbodies can vary (i.e. Lucas Pond has a no motor restriction and Tower Hill Pond is only accessible by walking in). Some of these waterbodies can be sleepers, particularly when it comes to warmwater species in the lakes and ponds more well known for their trout fishing. Multi-species rivers that I would recommend are the Cocheco River, Lamprey River, Exeter River, and Merrimack River. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist
The blues are still here so they must not have read my last report or they would have disappeared for sure! These are nice sized fish, too, not the little snappers you can find in the rivers. Unfortunately we still don’t have any reports of them coming in close enough for you shore fishermen out there, but keep trying, it’s bound to happen one of these days. The most striper action lately has been down in the Hampton area, the river and harbor down there have been producing lots of schoolies and some nice keepers as well. Groundfishing has stayed pretty good, some days slower than others, but overall everyone is doing well out there. Of course it doesn’t really matter what I write because by the time this comes out that storm front will have passed through and everything will change!
These cool nights may have fooled you but there is still plenty of summer left and lots of fishing opportunities on NH’s coast! – Rebecca Heuss, Marine Biologist
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