NH Weekly Fishing Report - July 7, 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

We were able to hike into Sheehan Pond this past week. Water temperatures were ideal for fishing (high 60s). The slight breeze was ideal to keep the horseflies down and four Canada geese graced our presence. The water temperatures, at least in the North Country, have been below average for this time of year. Rivers are still in the low 60s and ponds have been averaging in the high 60s. Perfect for catching that trophy fish you have been dreaming about. Even with the high air temperatures over the holiday weekend, water temperatures have held their own.

It is a beautiful time of year to try a new waterbody. Take a hike into one of our remote ponds. Try Sessions Pond (Dummer) or Munn Pond (Errol). I’ve heard great news on the status and health of the brook trout in these waters. You could also try your luck with pickerel in Cherry Pond (Jefferson). Umbagog is still fishing well if you’d like some bigger water for bass; and so are Profile and Streeter for brookies and rainbows, respectively. Enjoy New Hampshire! – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

This report is entitled “Hot and Cold.” It’s July and the heat has arrived! Big lake temps are running in the 72-74 degree range, and that means the landlocked salmon and lake trout are down….salmon at least 35 feet, lake trout even more. Early morning anglers (0430 hrs!) will often find salmon and especially rainbow trout a lot closer to the surface. By the end of July, as young-of-the- year (YOY) smelt gain some size, rainbows and salmon will be feeding on schools of these smelt in the surface waters, and will be noticeable by boils in the water, not unlike bluefish slashing at baitfish. You definitely want to be on the water early, as this is vacation time, and it seems that the water-skiers have learned to take advantage of the morning calm.

Hexagenia mayflies are hatching on Winnisquam now, providing rainbows and salmon with a change of diet. These are the days that our salmon and rainbow trout put on weight, as food is readily available, and with the YOY smelt growing to size, it’s the “good times” out there! Streamer flies, long shank size 6 and smaller spoons will work well now. I continue to remind anglers of the “Landlocked Salmon Anglers Pledge” (http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/salmon_anglers_pledge.html) and the basic theme…protect and enjoy our salmon fishery, it is finite, and fragile, and the actions of every angler are critical to sustain it.

Now the “cold” part! I recently travelled to far northern NH to stock Kennebago (Maine strain) brook trout fingerlings into a remote pond that was not stocked by helicopter. Although you can get close to this pond by 4X4 truck…I wouldn’t venture in there without a good, high ground clearance vehicle. Even then, there is a muddy slog through a swamp to gain access to the shoreline. Once there, I was amazed by the boats tied (and chained) to trees…a very good sign that this pond provides some good fishing for brookies! I was joined by North Country biologists Dianne Emerson and Andy Schafermeyer, in addition to my fellow Region 2 biologist John Viar. A special guest was my long-time hunting and fishing pal, Roger (he brought his canoe) and his friend Rich. All together, we stocked approximately 50 pounds of fingerlings (120 per lb) into this most beautiful cold-water pond (temp 65 degrees). I must tell you, the drive is long, but that country is so far removed from what we are accustomed to; we are blessed to have ponds like this to explore. And, by the way, Roger and Rich stayed and fished after the work was over, and enjoyed a summer afternoon of watching deer (doe and fawn) swimming across the pond, and also caught some nice brookies! - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

We’ve been out electrofishing and dealing with a fish kill on Spofford Lake recently, so not much to report this week from an angling perspective – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Now that the shad transfer season has wound down, our annual surveys to assess populations of wild brook trout and their habitats are about to begin. For the past three field seasons, staff from NH Fish and Game have worked to fine tune the current wild brook trout distribution in the state and also record and increase public awareness on the issues that lead to degrading of both aquatic habitat and water quality. We've learned that partnerships formed with local conservation groups and angling groups can be an invaluable resource, not only to help with the surveys but also incorporate the data collected to use in land use planning and headwater stream protection. Although local conservation groups can have different priorities, a mutual desire to identify areas that contain clean, cool, well oxygenated water and protect them is shared.

This month, we plan to work with the Hanover and Bath conservation commissions to evaluate parts of the Mink Brook and Ammonoosuc River watersheds. Given that these areas will likely have intact populations of wild brook trout, it is hoped that the information collected will be used in town level planning that emphasized the protection of both wild, self-sustaining populations of wild brook trout and water quality. In August, it is expected that we will return back to the southeastern part of the state to learn more about the isolated populations of wild brook trout found there. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

This past weekend was as much hit or miss with the fishing as it was with the weather. Heavy boat traffic over the long weekend was not conducive to fishing. Mackerel are still around, but they are requiring a little more effort and people are starting to pick up bigger ones now, not just the tinkers we had a week ago. We have received our first reports of bluefish (don’t say it too loud, you might scare them away!) which could also account for the slower fishing. These are being caught a little ways offshore, so you shore fishers will have to wait a while longer for your chance at them.

Whaleback is open to groundfishing as of July 1.

Here’s to low traffic, nice weather, and more fish! - Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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