NH Weekly Fishing Report - June 9, 2011

Stocking report: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.htmlTake Me Fishing!

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Fishing Camp: Know a kid age 10-16 who wants to learn how to fish or improve their skills? Sign them up for the "Let's Go Fishing" week at Barry Conservation Camp in Berlin, NH (July 31-August 5). Cost for the overnight week at camp is $475. Register at http://extension.unh.edu/4H/4HCamps.htm.

Kayak Fishing in Rye: Learn how to fish for striped bass from your kayak at a class on Friday, June 17, from 3:00 -7:00 p.m. Leaves from Odiorne Point Boat Launch in Rye. Participants must be 18 or older. Cost is $25. Pre-registration required. To sign up, call 603-778-0015 and ask for Kelle Loughlin.

Ct. River Boat Access Alert: Trailered boaters should avoid using the following boat ramps on the Connecticut River until further notice: Ashley Ferry Boat Ramp in Claremont, Bedell Bridge Boat Ramp in Haverhill, and the ramp in Orford. Significant mud and silt accumulation on the ramps means you risk getting stuck in the mud. These sites are okay for cartop boat launching.

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North Country

Whoa, talk about crazy weather! It is amazing what one week can do…Last week at this time it was rainy and cold. Tornado warnings in the North Country? Yes, plus high winds and storms with large hail. Water temperatures were in the low 40s in some locations during the morning hours. This week is the exact opposite: oppressing humidity and air temperatures in the high 80s. Water temperatures in some locations hit 70. Today it is supposed to change; let’s hope.

These hot, bright sunny days are not good for fishing. Fishing yesterday in Indian Stream was pretty much over by 10 a.m. when the heat started rising. When the sun is bright and river temperatures begin to rise, trout seek refuge. It could result from the depth of a pool or venturing into a completely different waterbody. They will find it and forget about feeding until they are comfortable again. When that happens, you should think about taking a break too. Warm temperatures can be lethal to trout that are caught and released, even if they seem fit as they swim away -- delayed mortality is a common occurrence during heat waves. Trout like cold water, so when the surface temperatures exceed the low 60s, their return to the water can be quite a shock. If you want to keep the trout happy, fish when the air temperatures are cool and the bright sun is hiding.

Now that water levels have dropped substantially, try your luck on the Connecticut River below Murphy Dam. It stays cool and the drop in water level has really turned on the feeding. Try a bead head nymph this time of year. It mimics many different aquatic insects in their juvenile stage. The weather this weekend is suppose to be much cooler, perfect for making a few casts into your favorite pond. Streeter Pond and Martin Meadow come to mind. – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

The landlocked salmon fishing has started to heat up, just as our surface waters have climbed into the mid-60 degree range! Reports of some big numbers are filtering in from the area lakes. Most fish caught are two-year-olds (adipose clip) with a sprinkling of some older age-classes, especially from Big Squam. A lucky angler recently stopped by the office with a couple salmon in the 5-6 pound range from Big Squam. Now, those in the know realize this is not a common occurrence on any of our salmon lakes, but it is heartening to hear of these impressive catches. Another tremendous salmon was caught recently from Pleasant Lake/New London -- it weighed a shade over 11 pounds!

All this being said, remember, the two-year-olds are the future three-year-olds (real quality salmon) that are the mainstay of our fisheries. Please take a few minutes to review our “salmon anglers pledge” at www.wildnh.com/Fishing/salmon_anglers_pledge.html. It details proper handling techniques for salmon, and is “good” reading for anyone who is concerned about this valuable yet fragile fishery we are blessed to have in New Hampshire.

Smallmouth bass are still sitting on their beds in most of our large lakes…I expect the fry to move up and off the nests in the next week. From mid-June through the first week of July, my favorite bass fishing occurs…..fly rods and poppers on hungry bass cruising the flats!

Trout ponds from the lakes region north now have some great insect hatches occurring at dusk. Profile Lake has been producing some great brook trout, as well as the “next door” lake, Echo. Weekday evenings are best, we are getting into the summer tourist season and weekends in the notch can be really busy. - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

Water levels in area streams and rivers are dropping at a fast rate and the weather is getting hot and steamy. With weather like this, I like to get out for some stream trout early in the day and then again right at dusk. Sunscreen and bug dope are a must, as are some old sneakers and shorts for wet wading. Based on the reports I have been getting, I am definitely getting out for trout this weekend and so should you.

The trout fishing on the upper Ashuelot River in Surry, Marlow, and Gilsum is hot right now! Anglers have been calling and stopping by the office telling us about the gorgeous rainbow and brown trout they are catching. Some of the rainbows are stretching the tape at 20 inches. I passed an angler on my way to work this morning on the lower Ashuelot River in Winchester and had to stop and see how he was doing. He had just started fishing, but said that in the past week he has been doing very well on trout, even catching a few holdovers. Reports from the Cold River in Walpole and Alstead have been good as well.

Trout anglers are also doing well in lakes and ponds. Anglers are having trouble keeping trout off their lines in Forest Lake (Winchester) with some of the rainbows pushing three lbs. A fly troller I know caught an 18 inch brown trout in Gustin Pond (Marlow) just a few days ago. Some other hot fishing trout lakes and ponds to try include Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), and Center Pond (Nelson). – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

The intense heat from this week causing an increase of water temperatures will be pushing trout species down to cooler depths. For those who tend to reduce their efforts fishing for trout during this time of year because of the challenge of fishing deeper, there are several available options that can be used that are both effective and relatively inexpensive. These items can be used easily in all watercraft including canoes, kayaks, and rowboats. Dodgers (sometimes referred to as flashers) can be tied directly to the terminal line. A short leader (typically less than three feet) is tied to the back of the dodger and the bait, lure, or fly is then tied to the terminal end of the line. Dodgers serve several purposes. They spin erratically giving your lure, bait, or fly a lot of action. The reflective material on them attracts inquisitive predators. They also provide a method to sink the line to greater depths. It is important to check the movement of both the dodger and your lure to ensure it has the proper motion at the speed you are trolling.

Another simple tool one can use to access greater depths is lead-core line. This larger sized line typically requires a larger reel. The line is color coded, allowing anglers the ability to keep track of the amount of line out and approximate depth. The rate of line descent depends on trolling speed. While trolling for trout, I prefer longer leaders tied off of the lead core line. At a minimum, I prefer 50 feet of light pound (4 or 6 pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line). A small barrel swivel tied 4 to 6 feet up from your lure, fly, or bait is essential to prevent line twist. Windy days tend to work best while using lead core because the rocking of the boat can add action to the line. Our Inland Fisheries Program Supervisor, Scott Decker, has been doing well with lead core line at Pleasant Lake in Deerfield lately. He says trout are hitting between three and four colors right now on small Mooselook wobblers, during the early evening hours.

There are some disadvantages of using lead core or dodgers. Since heavier lines and objects providing resistance are being used, these types of equipment can dampen the fight. Also, more distance is needed to make turns while trolling. This can be a challenge in some of our smaller trout ponds. That being said, anglers need to be particularly careful when fishing for trout when surface water temperatures are at their summertime levels. Appropriate gear (pliers, hemostats, rubber net, etc.) should be readily accessible to avoid additional exposure to uncomfortable conditions for trout. Anglers should also avoid handling fish with dry hands and equipment. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

Anglers have been reporting large schools of mackerel at the mouth of the Piscataqua. These schools have attracted the attention of the stripers. I suggest fishing in Great Bay and in the Piscataqua if you want to catch a striper. The charters and headboats are still catching cod and haddock if you’re interested in deep sea fishing. Just a reminder that the headboat companies on the coast have begun their summer schedules, with half-day inshore trips targeting mackerel.

This past week, two colleagues and I went scuba diving for winter flounder along the coast. Equipped with gigs and a catch bag, we dove into the cold, rough seas in an area with a sandy/muddy bottom, ideal for flounder. Once under water everything was calm and I began to see dozens of impressions in the mud were the flounder had been. It was not long before I saw a winter flounder and made a quick estimate to make sure it was larger than the 12 inch size limit and then took aim with the gig. The three of us saw a dozen-plus flounders and took a half dozen home, ranging from 14.5 inches to 18 inches. It was a great experience that I recommend to those who have the right gear and skills; just make sure the flounder is legal size before you shoot. – Robert Eckert, Marine Biologist

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