NH Weekly Fishing Report - June 2, 2011
BARRY CAMP! Looking for a summer camp where your kids or grandkids will have fun while getting outdoors and active? There are still some spots open for 2011 summer programs for youth (boys and girls age 10-17) at Barry Conservation Camp in Berlin, NH, a weekly, overnight summer camp operated by the UNH Cooperative Extension 4-H Program and Fish and Game. To select camp programs and register, visit extension.unh.edu/4H/4HCamps.htm or contact 4Hcamps@unh.edu or 603-788-4961. We are also looking for a few more "Natural Leaders" (ages 14-17) for an exciting one-week leadership program at Barry Camp, June 26 to July 1. Info and application: wildnh.com/naturalleaders. Thanks!
Stocking report: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html
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It would be a difficult task to write a fishing report and not discuss the high water events that have plagued the North Country. Roads are being washed out, streambanks are being eroded, and fish are seeking refuge. It has been difficult to fish these waterbodies and conditions seem to change daily. It is hard to predict where fish can be found, and even those skilled enough to “read the water” are finding it challenging to get the right cast, work an effective drift, and navigate the speed and depth of the water. I would recommend casting tackle that is heavier than that which is typical for trout and salmon. I have been pinching a small piece of split-shot to my line a foot above my lure. While this may affect the action of the lure, something like a Panther Martin or Rooster Tail may still be effective.
If you have been fishing lakes and ponds, I would guess that things have been less dynamic and a little better for fish and anglers. Water temperatures are staying at a nice level and lots of natural foods are being washed into the water. Insect life has taken a jumpstart in the last two weeks and fish are responding. Anglers at Profile Lake have been having great success fly-casting emerger patterns like hare’s ears and pheasant tails. A caddis fly hatch on the upper Connecticut in Pittsburg this week left the windshield of my Fish and Game truck in need of some cleaning.
Don’t overlook the bass fishing opportunities in June. Fish will spawn, males will guard nests, and all fish will be feeding. (Note that bass are catch-and-release only through June 15.) Martin Meadow Pond, Moore Reservoir, and Lake Umbagog are sure to fish well this month. Make this the year you fish a spot you’ve never been to before. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Lakes Region/White Mountains
Smallmouth bass are busy guarding their nest sites now. A recent trip to Newfound Lake found nesting male bass pretty much everywhere along the shallow, rocky shorelines. We even sighted a male bass, in the midst of his intricate maneuvers with a female bass (female bass exhibit vertical bars along their side during the spawning act). Watching these bass is a real treat, it never ceases to amaze me the parental care these male bass display with their eggs. The current water temperature in Winnipesaukee is 63 degrees at Lakeport Dam; higher temps are common in the bays. Newfound Lake temp was 72 degrees at high noon earlier this week! Look for the parade of sunfish to begin nest clearing in the next two weeks on the big lakes. It looks like the bass spawn will be successful, as water levels have stabilized and are dropping.
Look to the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) for trout fishing opportunities now, as water levels and temps are great. Try the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln, Saco River in Conway/Bartlett, and Swift River in the towns of Livermore, Albany and Lincoln. Hexagenia mayflies are beginning to appear in Lakes Region trout ponds as well. This is a much-anticipated event as this is a dry-fly angler’s dream! These hatches last well into June, and they can create a feeding frenzy with brook trout.
The Pemigewasset River in Bristol/New Hampton is highly fishable now, with excellent water flows. This river reach is stocked with broodstock Atlantic salmon; a special permit is required to fish for these, and fly-fishing-only regulations apply. Other species in this section are brook and rainbow trout, and some real nice smallmouth bass in the lower, less “riffley” sections.
Trout stocking continues in earnest in the WMNF. - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist
I am normally busy this time of year making trips with a shad truck down to the Holyoke Dam on the Connecticut River in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the river has been flowing too high for the “fish lift” to be operating regularly. I have only made two trips in the last two weeks, but both were very successful with 100% survival of the fish transported. These fish were pre-spawn American shad, and they can be delicate when it comes to transporting them in fish trucks for several hours. A combination of cool water temperature, adding salt, and the right amount of oxygen is key to a successful trip hauling shad.
Every spring, migrating shad make their way up the Connecticut River to spawn. At the Holyoke Dam, the first mainstem dam on the river, there is a fish lift to help get shad and other migratory fish over the dam. Some of these shad are diverted into a hopper and then flushed into shad trucks for transportation to upper areas of the Connecticut River watershed.
The shad that I haul are released into the Ashuelot River in Swanzey. These fish will spawn here and their offspring will make there way down to the Connecticut River and eventually to the ocean to continue their life cycle. At the time of this writing, the lift is closed, but hopefully in a couple of days the river flows will come down and I can make a few more trips before the shad run dwindles down.
Known as the “poor man’s salmon” shad are legal to fish for in New Hampshire but there is a 2-fish daily limit. Although not many people target them in our waters due to the low numbers, they can be caught on light spinning tackle using shad “darts” (jig-type lures). – Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley
The last of the Atlantic salmon broodstock have been stocked for the spring/early summer season. Unfortunately, persistent high flows combined with warming water temperatures made it infeasible to stock the Hooksett section at Lambert Park. This means more fish were stocked in the upstream sections. Along the same line, the mouth of the Contoocook River was stocked instead of the Sewall's Falls area in Concord. It is expected that these fish quickly descend to the Sewall's Falls area when flows are suitable.
This week, we have seen the lakes and ponds in the area quickly convert to summer conditions. Jumps in water temperature by 10 to 15 degrees have been observed. That being said, anglers will likely see warmwater fish in several different seasonal stages. Some bass have completed spawning and reports of bass fry swimming in large schools are already coming in. This translates into the potential for some good post-spawn fishing opportunities. Small and largemouth bass, which have postponed feeding to go through the process of spawning, are now looking for any quick and easy meal. In other areas, the spawn is just beginning and males actively guarding nests will be observed. Remember, it is immediate catch-and-release, artificial lures and flies only for all bass through June 15. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Finally, we have some fish to report! Anglers have been having decent luck with stripers recently; fewer are being caught far up in the rivers as the river herring runs have slowed, but anglers have begun catching them off of boats within the bay. One of my co-workers was told recently that fly-fishers were catching large stripers off of the Scammell Bridge on Route 4. I have never seen fly fishing off of this bridge, but it’s worth a shot! The heat wave brought some baitfish, and mackerel are being caught just outside of the river. The headboat companies on the coast have begun their summer schedules with half-day inshore trips targeting macks.
Lon Robinson, a biological aide with the Marine Division, made a flounder trip this past weekend in Rye Harbor. He had some luck drifting in a float tube within the harbor; we will try to get you the secrets to his success up on Facebook soon, so keep an eye out!– Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist