NH Weekly Fishing Report - April 28, 2011

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Stocking report: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/fish_stock_current.htm

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North Country

The North Country is an interesting place this spring. It is sort of like a stratified lake. The northern part of Region 1 is still quite socked in with snow. Snowmobiling on the Magalloway Road is still a plausible activity and people still need snowshoes to get around in the woods. Whereas down in the Littleton/Franconia area, people have been out on Streeter Pond and Echo Lake enjoying the first few days of the trout fishing season. Spring peepers and wood frogs have been heard for the last couple of weeks and grass is starting to green up. Daffodils and tulips are in full bloom in many of the yards I pass on my way to work. It has been a long, persistent winter up here and we have been looking forward to ice-out in a lot of locations. Speaking of that, many of the waterbodies in the southern portion of this region broke this last week. We have had some tremendous rain and wind and that seemed to be the back-breaking straw! Mirror Lake is fully out and ready for action. Stocking is in full swing, getting fish into these waterbodies as soon as the ice goes out. The rivers have been out for a while, and the Conservation Officers and hatchery staff have taken advantage of that. Visit the Gale or Ammonoosuc, or try your luck on the larger Connecticut or Androscoggin Rivers. Don’t get me wrong, the area is still stratified; so if you plan on fishing northern NH, you may want to give your northern friends a call first to check the waterbody conditions – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

We have total ice-out in the Lakes Region as of this report! Sunapee, Newfound and Big Squam lingered a bit more after Winnipesaukee cleared of ice on the 19th. Reports from Winnipesaukee show that salmon are being caught, but you have to work for them! Anglers putting their time in will find concentrations of salmon, primarily close to the shoreline. Flies, small streamers (2 inches or less) and bait, smelt or shiners seem to be producing the bulk of the fish. Four-year-old salmon seem to be the most numerous, with fish up to 22 inches in the catch. This is the remainder of the three-year-old age class that produced our great fishery last summer/fall. Smelt runs are winding down, with Sunapee close to having its run of smelt. Newfound is mostly ice-free, just a few lonely chunks floating around south of Mayhew Island. Speaking of Newfound: this lake, in my estimation, has quickly become a trophy rainbow trout lake, with the possibility of rainbows over 5 pounds! Try trolling either mono flat lines or sink-tip fly lines along the “break” of the large sand flats found off the Fowler and Cockermouth Rivers. Colorful, neon-bright flies (Mickey Finn, Pumpkinhead, Maynard’s Marvel) will do the trick on rainbows. Remember, these trout didn’t get to be this size by striking everything in the water. Be patient, put some time in, and you will be rewarded. And don’t forget, there are landlocked salmon and a very good population of lake trout in Newfound Lake also.

I have just returned from a stocking adventure in the Baker River valley where Atlantic salmon fry were introduced to several area streams. River and stream conditions in the northwest part of the state right now are pretty bad. High water from overnight rains and a heavy melt from the abundant snowpack have resulted in very high water conditions. We will need several days of clear (well, non-rainy at least) conditions before this area is conducive to angling. I did check the Newfound River, and although high as well, there were sections that are fishable. The Pemigewasset River is running high and muddy now, as there is considerable snow left to melt up in the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

Trout ponds are open, and should provide good fishing, even though we still haven’t “turned the corner” on this spring weather yet. The stocking trucks have been rolling these past few days and, pretty much, the trout ponds south of the White Mountain National Forest have seen stocking activity. I have seen incredible amounts of phantom midges hatching from Lake Winnisquam, so smaller ponds should have some insect hatches occurring also. Take advantage of this special time, before the black flies appear! - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

Trout ponds opened last Saturday and thousands of hungry brook, brown and rainbow trout await anglers throughout southwestern NH. Despite the snow on opening day, anglers that braved the poor weather were rewarded with some beautiful fish. Hot spots to try include: Dublin Lake (Dublin), Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), Mt. Williams Pond (Weare), Whittemore Lake (Bennington), Smith Pond (Washington), French Pond (Henniker), and Center Pond (Nelson). Don’t forget about Silver Lake (Harrisville) and Nubanusit Lake (Nelson/Hancock) for big rainbows and lake trout. This is an easy time of year for anglers to troll, as there is no need for downriggers or wire or lead-core line; trout and salmon are typically found in the top 15 feet of the water column at this time of year. I have also heard the landlocked salmon in Nubanusit are biting well and anglers are catching some very fat fish. As a last remark, Forest Lake (Winchester) is producing lots and lots of trout for the few anglers that have been fishing there. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Atlantic salmon fry stocking occupies most of our time in late April. With the help of volunteers and cooperative river flow, we hope to have most of the 800,000 fry in the Merrimack River watershed out by the end of next week. The remaining fry will be released into the upper Pemigewasset River in the first week of May. We wish to offer a big thank you for all those interested in helping this year. Unfortunately, the enormous response of those wishing to help out was so great that we had to turn down some folks. The opening day of fishing in the designated trout ponds has come and gone. The weather seemed to preclude all but the hardiest of anglers to hit the water. It is hoped that those who braved the rain and snow were rewarded with a successful day. The staff from the Powder Mill Hatchery (the hatchery that supplies the southeastern part of the state with trout) have been out every day releasing fish. This year's trout, particularly the rainbows, from this hatchery look exceptionally well in both size and coloration. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

For all of you spring anglers out there, the proposed cod spawning closure has been passed and the closure will be in affect May 1 through the end of June in 2011. This means no groundfishing in the closed area which is located in the area of Whaleback or “the mudhole.” Pelagic fishing (in the upper two thirds of the water column) is allowed in the closed area. When transiting the area with groundfish, all hooks must be removed and gear stowed; groundfish must also be gutted. The state plans to adopt complementary rules in 2012 for the NH state waters portion of the area outlined here: wildlife.state.nh.us/Newsroom/News_2011/News_2011_Q2/cod_closure.html. The reason for this closure is to protect spawning cod, fishing activity can cause a dispersal of the cod and interrupt their spawning activity. The area has been well documented by UNH researchers as an important spawning area for Atlantic cod. More information on their research can be found here: www.seagrant.unh.edu/newsroundtablecod.html – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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