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N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - September 9, 2010

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Stocking report: Stocking is done for the season. Previous reports at

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North Country

Ah yes, September! Crisp mornings full of dew and mountain streams full of active brook trout. Water temperatures are beginning to cool down after the tremendous heat wave. Leaves are just starting to change in some of the low lying wetlands in northern New Hampshire. This time of year is the most beautiful in my opinion. The leaves change to bright orange and red and so do the brook trout. Try attractant patterns if you are fly fishing. This time of year brook trout are getting ready to spawn and prior to the act, they can get quite feisty. Hatches are not real prominent but that’s okay because the fish attack anything that aggravates them so a perfect match is unnecessary.

Warmwater fish are still active right now, too, which makes this time of year the perfect potential. Try ponds or vegetated sections in rivers that you missed over the summer. You may catch quite a thrill.

We are also gearing up for some of our fall stocked waters. Akers Pond, Pearl Lake, and Martin Meadow Pond are worth a try for rainbows. These are just some of the ponds throughout New Hampshire that have no closed season that receive a load of fish in the fall.

Good luck and don’t forget the kids. Just because school is back in session doesn’t mean you can’t save your time for the weekends. They may need a nice nature break! – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

As summer is on the wane and September is here, the big lake fisheries are coming to a close on September 30, for lake and rainbow trout, and of course, landlocked salmon. I have had several good reports of salmon and rainbows caught in Winnisquam Lake recently. The stomach contents of one salmon had a white perch YOY (young-of-the-year) in its gut. During our large lake forage fish studies, we often encounter pelagic (free-ranging) perch, both yellow and white in our trawls. Although our coldwater fisheries are pretty much dependent on the rainbow smelt, juvenile perch, especially in late summer/early fall constitute an important component in our salmonids’ diet.

The forage fish survey on Winnipesaukee was just recently completed, and the smelt population looks to be in great shape, with a good age-class composition of YOY and older aged smelt in the samples. We will continue on to the other big lakes (Sunapee, Big Squam and Winnisquam), and hopefully have similar results.

Word is out about an 8+ pound landlocked salmon caught somewhere in the lakes region. Now that is some kind of salmon!! I will be enjoying these last few days of salmon fishing with my fellow biologists, and other fishing buddies, some I haven't fished with in quite a while. It's a great time of year to look back on the past season, and relish the time left on the water with friends. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

I recently ventured out on Nubanusit Lake in Hancock in pursuit of smallmouth bass. In the year and a half that I have been working here at Region 4, I have yet to have heard much about anglers targeting smallmouth at Nuby, so I thought I would give it a try. I lucked out on this day as it didn’t take me long to find some schooled up smallies. I started on the near shore drop-offs where there was some wood and rocks. I was fishing a drop-shot rigged with a three inch Berkley Power Bait Minnow to imitate a smelt, the main forage in the lake. After fishing near shore with nothing but tiny bass that couldn’t even take the bait, I started to move to the deeper water in the cove I was fishing. As soon as I got into 30 feet of water, I started nailing the bass. They were all solid fish from 15 to 18 inches and for a short time I was hooking-up on almost every cast. What a blast! Other lakes in the Monadnock Region to give this tactic a try are Silver Lake in Harrisville, Spofford Lake in Chesterfield, and Dublin Lake in Dublin. – Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

The cooler nights are slowly beginning to take a bite out of the warm water temperatures throughout the state. This, in concert with shorter periods of daylight, is triggering the spawning stages of mature trout. With only about a month left of fishing in the designated trout ponds of New Hampshire, anglers have an opportunity to catch trout with brilliant coloration that goes nicely with the soon to be changing leaves as a backdrop. Designated trout ponds close on October 15 but several other waterbodies remain open throughout the entire fall. Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Pleasant Lake (Deerfield), Beaver Lake (Derry), Catamount Pond (Allenstown), and Willand Pond (Somersworth) are just some of the examples of waterbodies that can be fished throughout the year. See for a complete list of waterbodies without closed seasons.

While recently speaking with anglers at the Hopkinton State Fair, some expressed concern about their fishing experiences in 2010, particularly when targeting cold water species in rivers and streams. Up to this point, it has been a bad year to be a fish in southern New Hampshire. Record heat and lack of rain have dried rivers to a trickle. In some instances, streams that regularly have consistent flow year round are completely gone, leaving only an exposed stream bed. Other streams have a few disconnected pools with no flow where some fortunate fish have managed to find refuge. This emphasizes the need for vegetated buffers along stream corridors. Not only does vegetation provide cooling shade and habitat when trees are allowed to fall in, buffers also slow the rate of runoff, allowing flows to be released more consistently and gradually. When stream buffers are removed and replaced by impervious surfaces, the valuable rain water is flushed down a stream (along with contaminants associated with parking lots) almost immediately, causing the stream to return to low flows very quickly. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

As we all know, Earl was a bust! The storm was certainly successful in stirring up our waters. Strong northwest winds following the storm further added to the frustration of shore fishers, whereas off-shore fishers took advantage of the abundance of forage stirred up by the turbulence. With the storm and winds behind us, I suspect fishing will return to normal.

The headboat companies and a few offshore anglers have reported some large pollock being caught. One angler reported that as he was reeling in his pollock, a blue shark tore through his fish! The upcoming weeks should produce some exciting offshore fishing as these large fish move into the area.

Striper fishing may soon see significant changes as the fish prepare for their annual fall migration. Stripers will start to move out of the bays and rivers in pursuit of baitfish. They will begin to feed heavily as our daylight hours decrease. This heavy feeding enables the fish to bulk up for their return to their natal spawning waters in the Hudson River, and the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. As the fish move out, look to our beaches for the action! The fish will start to congregate right off shore where you will likely see them actively feeding at the surface. If you see a surface blitz, it’s time to run and gun! A surf caster will do well using either live eels or top water plugs. Evening and early morning hours will see the most action. Good luck and tight lines! – Lon Robinson, Marine Bio-Aide

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