NH Weekly Fishing Report - May 26, 2011

Mark your calendar and round up your friends for NH Free Fishing Day – next Saturday, June 4!

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North Country

Sorry folks, we weren’t able to get a report for you this week. Look for us on June 2! – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

As I write this report, I am blinded by the sun…which has finally made an appearance here in the Lakes Region after what seems like a month! The Lake Winnipesaukee water temperature has made it into the mid-50s, with many shallow bays and coves near 60 degrees. Bass spawning has commenced at last, a bit later than usual. Remember, our catch/release season on bass is May 15-June 15, artificial lures and flies only, and immediate release at the site of capture. Try fishing on the drop-offs where many non-spawning bass may lurk. Only a certain percentage of bass in a lake spawn for a variety of reasons, those are the bass that are “off” the flats.

The white perch run in the Winnipesaukee River in Laconia is still “on,” and while fishing the river, you just might catch a variety of other species. I recently met two young fishermen behind Martel’s Bait & Sport Shop in Laconia, situated on the Winnipesaukee River, who had a couple nice lake trout on a stringer, caught with worms! Laconia, “the City on the Lake,” is a great spot to spend some time fishing. The Winnipesaukee River runs right through downtown Laconia, and shoreline fishing in this area can be very exciting. Rainbow (and lake) trout are found in the river along with landlocked salmon, bass, pickerel and of course, white perch, now on their spawning run. Avery Dam, near the historic Belknap Mill, the outlet structure for Opechee Lake, creates a deep plunge pool below its turbines, where I have seen salmon caught well into late June! Further upstream is Opechee Lake, which holds stocked rainbow trout and numerous landlocked salmon that “drop down” from Lake Winnipesaukee. The outlet of Winnipesaukee, Lakeport Dam, also is home to a very popular tailrace fishery below the dam where rainbow trout and salmon are caught each spring.

Further south, on Lake Winnisquam, is Lochmere Dam, another fine place to fish, where the short stretch of river flows into Silver Lake. Look for good perch action here in the spring (white and yellow) with some great smallmouth and largemouth bass thrown in for good measure. While water temperatures remain in the 50-degree range, you will also encounter rainbow and brown trout here.

The Pemigewasset River is still running high; we’re waiting for a few dry days for this river to begin to recede. As soon as we “dry out,” hit the streams because the insect hatches are on right now! - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

Just heard a few reports of anglers doing very well on rainbow trout in Forest Lake (Winchester) and Silver Lake (Harrisville). An angler reported catching a 19” holdover rainbow at Silver Lake this week. I also heard from an angler fishing Willard Pond (Antrim) who has been catching all three species of trout stocked there (tiger trout, rainbow trout, brook trout). Additionally, he reported landing a 17-inch tiger trout, which is definitely a holdover fish! In addition to the good fishing, Willard Pond is a beautiful place to fish. It is just under a hundred acres and undeveloped, with a totally wooded shoreline mostly owned by NH Audubon. There is a gravel ramp and gas motors are prohibited. The pond is fly-fishing only and trout pond regulations apply.

I received a note the other day from an angler I have been emailing with for a number of years and finally met this past winter while fishing Nubanusit Lake. Brian and his son, Brian, Jr., seem to get out on the water (or ice) every chance they get. They are both very interested in learning new techniques and fishing for everything that swims. Turns out that last week, predicted storms kept them close to home and so instead of fishing a lake trout/salmon lake, they fished a nearby bass pond. After striking out on one shoreline, they figured out that given the still-low water temperatures, they should be fishing the opposite shoreline as it receives the most sun. First cast on the new shoreline with a floating Rapala resulted in a nice 2-lb. largemouth. After that, it was game on, and the father and son team caught and released over a dozen largemouth. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

We expect to be able to release more broodstock Atlantic salmon soon. If flow rates continue to subside, it is expected that all of these fish will be out by the middle of next week. The watersheds of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee rivers have taken a lot of time to drain this year. We have already received reports of multiple fish being caught in the Pemigewasset River in Bristol/New Hampton. I'd like to say thank you to our volunteers for all the help this past week while stocking trout in the Cocheco River. During the annual Cocheco River Clean Up Day, organized by Great Bay Trout Unlimited, hundreds of brook, brown, and rainbow trout were scattered in the river by the local boy scout troop and students from local schools. A trip to the Cocheco River in Dover is highly recommended. The Liberty Mutual/Measured Progress trail provides ideal access to this scenic river on the northern side of the river beginning at Watson Road. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

The stripers are hitting! Anglers have been reeling them in on the Town Landing in Newmarket and the Swasey Parkway in Exeter. If you have yet to try striper fishing, now’s your chance. It can be quite a thrill to have a striper on your line. If you land one you may find yourself “hooked” on striper fishing.

It’s open season for winter flounder. You can try angling for these delicious flatfish from various jetties and bridges on the coast, although you may have more success from a boat. Whichever mode of fishing you choose, stay close to the mouths of estuaries and harbors for greater success. Remember that these fish have small mouths, so use small hooks. Winter flounder have a minimum length of 12 inches and a bag limit of 8 fish per day.

Groundfishing has been “hit or miss” lately and many fishing attempts have been thwarted by rough seas. However, this past Sunday seemed to be an all around good day. Despite the closure on Whaleback, you don’t have to go all the way out to Jeffery’s to catch cod. Anglers have been doing well on Old Scantum, which is much closer and therefore more accessible to smaller vessels – Jessica Devoid, Marine Biological Aide

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