NH Weekly Fishing Report - June 16, 2011

Stocking report: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html

Taking a dad fishing for Father’s Day this Sunday? Good idea! Get your "fishing coupon" here....Take 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.

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North Country

The North Country seems to be feast or famine this last week. Once again the cool nights have deterred fish from moving and feeding frequently but warmer weather yesterday flicked the switch. I saw a great photo of a 5-year old holding a two-year old rainbow from Pearl Lake. The 14-inch trout was no match for the length of the boy’s smile while holding his prize. The lower portion of Indian Stream fished well yesterday, and so did the upper Connecticut. Stocking has been in full swing for the past month so most waterbodies have been stocked at least once at this point. The lower Androscoggin has been giving up some beautiful brown trout, greater than 12 inches.

Weather is touch and go for this weekend, with thunderstorms in Pittsburg predicted and sunny weather in Littleton. That’s the surprise of the North Country; once you pass through Franconia Notch it’s anyone’s guess. Check the weather first, but I bet this weekend and next week are going to be hot fishing up north. Be the first to head into one of the remote ponds for 2011. You may want to check with the Regional Office as some local roads washed out after the tremendous storms we experienced this spring. Try Umbagog Lake for some fun with bass. This time of year (post-spawn) can really be exciting. – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

We’ve just experienced a “throwback” to early spring here in the lakes region of New Hampshire. Several days of low clouds, rain/drizzle and a hard east wind (with temps in the 50s) haven’t done much for fishing in this area. The water temperature in Winnipesaukee is still hanging in the mid-60 degree range. Bass remain on the nests in the open areas of the big lakes, while the back coves, where temps may be slightly higher may see the fry around the nests, are in the early stages of dispersal.

A recent electroshocking survey on Opechee Lake revealed several bass (large and smallmouth) cruising the shorelines near the sites of “old” nests. Sunfish nests were quite apparent also in the shallow water in coves. It was interesting to find several landlocked salmon still in the tailrace of the Lakeport Dam! This is highly fishable water right now, because flows out of Winnipesaukee are extremely low, 250 cubic feet per second (cfs). The salmon were definitely excited by the current field! Also, don’t forget that Opechee is a “destination” fishery for rainbow trout as it is stocked annually with yearling rainbows. Opechee is not a lake trout/landlocked salmon lake, therefore general rules apply for the rainbows, 5 fish or 5 pounds, whichever is reached first, with no length limit. There is a fine boat launch near the southern end of the lake.

Trout ponds still afford some good fishing, although day-time anglers will find the fish a bit deeper, while there are some fine insect hatches occurring at dusk. White Pond (Ossipee) (fly-fishing-only), White Lake (Tamworth) and Conner Pond (Ossipee) are all beautiful ponds to fish in the southern White Mt. Area. And don’t forget Duncan Lake (Ossipee), all feature some real nice brook trout. Stream fishing is at its peak now, and water levels are dropping, so don’t waste any time in getting out there!

Aerial trout stocking of our remote trout ponds will occur soon. If you like to hike and enjoy a good meal of trout by the campfire, try one of our 48 remote ponds this spring/summer, the experience is memorable! - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

The recent weather pattern has been keeping trout anglers very happy. Last week’s temperatures were really starting to warm water temps up and stream flows were running at summer-time lows. These cool temperatures and scattered showers will keep streams cool and trout scattered and actively feeding. Now is the time to hit your local trout streams before the summer heat comes in full force.

A few days ago I fished a local pond that is managed for brook trout, except I was fishing for smallmouth bass. It was a cold, damp day, but the bass were on fire. Fish were post-spawn and actively feeding (these fish could also have been fish in the population that didn’t spawn this year). In four hours of fishing we caught around 30 bass. Wacky-rigged worms, shaky-head worms, and tubes fished along near shore drop-offs with scattered rocks was the ticket. I need to get out and fish more of these smallmouth ponds and lakes in the next couple of weeks before water temps really warm up and the smallmouth head out to deep water for the summer, which makes them more difficult to locate and catch. – Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

As with our counterparts in the Monadnock/Upper Valley area, who are working to increase spawning success of American shad in the Connecticut River, we are charged with the same restoration program within the Merrimack River watershed. To date, around 700 pre-spawn American shad have been released in the upper portions of the Merrimack River in Boscawen and Concord. This section of river has been identified as suitable spawning habitat, a location once thought to be utilized freely by American shad before impoundments restricted access here. These shad are initially trapped at the fish lift in the Essex Dam (Lawrence, Mass.). The Connecticut River inherently has a more productive shad migration than what has been observed in the Merrimack River. As of this week, over 244,000 shad have been counted in the Connecticut while slightly over 11,000 shad have been counted in the Merrimack.

On a positive note, the Atlantic salmon returns for the Merrimack River are at near record numbers. Between 1982 and 2010, records indicate the best return year was 1991 with 332 Atlantic salmon returning to the Merrimack River. As of this week, already 315 salmon have been trapped at the Essex Dam. We expect to continue to see Atlantic salmon being trapped for at least three more weeks. These fish are utilized for future egg production to sustain the restoration of the species. This year, some Atlantic salmon will be tagged and released in southern New Hampshire to monitor habitat selection and evaluate efforts to establish a more natural form of reproduction and restoration.
Earlier this month, the second annual McQuesten Brook and Pond cleanup was held in Manchester and Bedford. Many thanks are owed to the staff from the Department of Environmental Services, NH Rivers Council, the city of Manchester, NH Fish and Game, and volunteers from the Anheuser Busch and the Manchester Fly Fishing Association. Despite a cleanup occurring last year, I was amazed at the amount of trash and litter still found. For example, 18 tires, 27 trash bags, a full size heating oil tank, 3 propane tanks, and 2 shopping carts, amongst much more was collected this year. Both McQuesten Brook and Pond are important urban habitats for countless fish and other species associated with aquatic habitats. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

I often get strange looks when I tell people that I’m a vegetarian. “You work with recreational fisheries and you don’t eat fish!?” I know, it’s a bit odd. It’s not that I have an ethical problem with eating animals; it’s simply that I don’t like meat. This fact does make me a bit of an oddity but it also makes me a great fishing partner (please, take mine!). My fishing preferences are also affected by my aversion, as mackerel fishing is my all-time favorite. Most people think of mackerel solely as a bait fish, they catch a few macks in preparation for their striper fishing. While striper fishing is fun, unless they are hitting hard my attention span is much too short for the effort that this prized fish demands. When the mackerel are in, they will hit on any small shiny lure, but mackerel jigs and mackerel trees are most commonly used. As I am only interested in the fishing, there is no reason to catch more than one at a time so I will use a single lure as apposed to the tree. They are a small fish -- but as they are related to the much larger tuna, they put up a good fight for their size.

Great Island Common in New Castle is a popular and highly productive spot for mackerel; anglers have been having good results there recently. You could also try the jetties in Rye or Hampton; the jetties at Fort Stark and Odiorne Point are seemingly underutilized as well.

Mackerel fishing, it’s not just for kids (but kids like it too)! – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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