NH Weekly Fishing Report - June 30, 2011

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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

Repairs have been underway here in the north since this past spring blew out a lot of the remote area dirt roads. Most have been fixed, including the road to Little Bog Pond and the Trio Ponds, as well as Nash Stream Road. There are a few roads still closed to vehicular traffic in Pittsburg. The road to Terrill/West Branch Pond is closed above the 8-mile mark. I am not sure when that work is going to be completed. Crews have been working from DRED and the paper companies to get things back in order. Your best bet is to call ahead before you head up into the woods to make sure your destination is accessible - you can also check this DRED list: nhstateparks.org/uploads/pdf/CLHWF_GatesStatus_06-29-11.pdf. Another thing to note with these road closures is not all the areas received hatchery supplements before the floods, so you may want to check the records on that too. For example, Terrill Pond has not received any fish stockings this year. We have not ruled it out, but depending on the road and weather conditions, we may need to skip it this year.

Other than that, water temperatures are heating up and so is the action from cold- and warm-water fish. Head out and try some of the more accessible waterbodies. You are sure to have fun! – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

Things are pretty quiet in the Lakes Region this week. Get out and fish during the holiday weekend. Good luck and hope to have something to report next week. - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

I read a very interesting scientific article the other day which studied the impacts of different handling methods on epithelial (skin) damage to largemouth bass and northern pike. The authors used a non-toxic dye on the skin of the fish to look for damage caused by net type (rubber or knotted nylon) used to land the fish, damage caused by lowering the fish onto a carpeted or smooth boat surface, and damage caused by using lip gripping devices such as a Boga Grip. While the above mentioned handling methods do not typically result in immediate fish mortality, damage to the skin could later put fish at risk to infection from a variety of pathogens.

Researchers found that northern pike received extensive skin damage after being placed on a carpeted boat surface, and also when a knotted nylon net was used to land them. There was less damage to this species when placed on a smooth boat floor or when a lip gripping device was used. Although damage to largemouth bass skin was not significant for the handling methods tested, it was found that carpeted boat surfaces caused the most damage.

The take-home message here is: limit your handling of fish as much as possible, do not land fish on a carpeted surface, and use a rubber or knotless net whenever possible. Although trout were not examined in this study, I would guess that they would be as susceptible as northern pike, if not more so, to these various handling techniques. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Anglers looking for some "bonus fish" in southern New Hampshire should look to the Merrimack River in Concord and Massabesic Lake in Auburn. Surplus brown trout, extra fish that were being held to ensure hatchery production targets were met, were recently released in these two waterbodies. These fish are from the yearling age class, meaning they average in length between 10 and 12 inches. Anglers in pursuit of these fish should focus on faster and/or deep water within the Merrimack, particularly near the Sewall's Falls area and deeper sections within Massabesic Lake. These fish should be rather quick to the hook and a variety of lures, baits, and flies should be effective. This may be a good opportunity to try fly-casting in the Merrimack River. There are trails that parallel the river from the Sewall's Falls parking area both upstream and downstream. These trails allow anglers to easily access good water where fly casting can be practiced. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

The mackerel are still hot in-shore and even up into the river at times. NH’s headboat companies have been getting more than enough for everyone on board during their half-day trips. Lots of striper activity down in the Hampton Harbor area, fly fishing off of the jetties has been producing some fish as well as fishing from boats in the inlet. Early morning has been the best time for striper activity recently. Remember, the headboat companies are now running their night trips, find out ahead of time what they are fishing for because it can vary by the day. Let’s hope this fishing keeps up! - Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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