NH Weekly Fishing Report - July 14, 2011

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

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2012 Fishing Rules: Weigh in on proposed changes to NH fishing rules at a public hearing on July 26 at 6:30 p.m. in Concord.

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

Water temperatures may be the single most important abiotic condition in fish biology. It is for this reason that the most successful anglers are those who understand the relationship between temperature and fish behavior. This morning, Little Diamond Pond in West Stewartstown was 78 degrees F. At this temperature, trout are going to be existing at the upper limit of their optimal conditions. If these temperatures continue with no reprieve, fish (and fishing) will suffer. On the other hand, the Upper Connecticut River in Pittsburg has a water temperature in the mid to upper fifties. During my last visit, I saw trout rising in almost every pool. They were sipping mayflies (pale morning duns) and metabolizing at a healthy rate. As summer progresses, it is important to keep this relationship in mind as you decide which waterbody to fish.

Beginning about four weeks ago, a large cream-colored mayfly began arriving on waterbodies in Northern New Hampshire. They belong to the genus Hexagenia and are some of the largest mayflies in the world. Referred to as a “Hex-hatch”, these mayflies serve as a dinner-bell for hungry fish. Almost every type of fish will rise for these flies and they are an important food in both their adult (terrestrial) and nymph or emerger (aquatic) stages. Both cold and warmwater fishermen can be seen casting these imitations. Watching a fish rise for a surface strike is as good as fishing gets for me. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region/White Mountains

Things are heating up in the Lakes Region. Winnipesaukee water temp is running around 75 degrees. The bass have moved to cooler waters, 15-25 feet deep. Even my dusk exploits with bass poppers on Winnisquam have turned off, with only an occasional fallfish cruising the shoreline. I have some new neighbors who are renting a camp for the week on Winnisquam, but have had little luck fishing from the shoreline over a sandy flat of 6 foot deep water. This family has a great bunch of kids, all outfitted with spinning rods, and quite proficient with their casting ability. I talked with my neighbor and told him of a spot I often took a bunch of kids fishing on the lake. I steered him to Mosquito Bridge, which crosses Winnisquam near the southern end, and is the direct route for traffic heading to Laconia. Fishing near the outside bridge abutments at this time of year, from a boat, can yield a variety of fish species. Cool, deep, shaded water near the bridge is a natural attraction for schools of young-of-the-year (YOY) fish, which include yellow and white perch, sunfish, shiners and rock bass. This food supply, of course attracts small and largemouth bass and the occasional pickerel to the area. I told my neighbor to bring plenty of worms and a supply of hooks with him, as the last time I fished there with kids I ran out of worms in a half hour!

I can think of many bridge crossings in the Lakes Region where this feat can be duplicated. Cover and structure are what warmwater fish thrive in, and bridges provide just that. Enjoy a day with the kids at these locations; it will bring a smile to your face! - Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

This is a great time of the year to spend time on the Connecticut River. Whether you like to fish, boat, paddle, swim, or view wildlife, the NH/VT border has it all. In our region, I like to spend a summer day on the river anywhere from Walpole to Hinsdale. I usually head out early if I am going to fish, because boat traffic will pick-up on the weekends during hot days. Trolling is a great way to learn and cover a lot of the river and will likely result in a mixed bag of fish like walleye, smallmouth bass, pike, pickerel, yellow and white perch. Drifting with the current and casting to near shore structure like wood, rocks, vegetation, or even current breaks are effective ways to fish the river. Once the mid-day sun starts to get to me, I look for one of the many spots on the river that are great for tying up the boat and lounging by the river. Bring a picnic lunch some chairs and do a little swimming. Not a bad way to spend a summer day! – Jason Carrier, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Anglers often jump on I-93 and head to the central or northern part of the state in pursuit of trophy bass waters. What some may not realize is that when driving, they are paralleling some quality bass fishing opportunities closer to home. The Merrimack River has several public access points from Nashua to Boscawen. Anglers can expect to encounter a variety of habitats consisting of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation, fallen trees, rock piles, sand bars, and tributary confluences. Most of these locations can be fished with any type of vessel from a small kayak to large bass boat.

One of my favorite access points is at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. This launch puts you in a section of river with a lot of different options. You can drift the current downstream and fish the habitat created by fallen maples and white pines as well some rocky sections and other habitat created by bridges. If you head straight across from the launch, you will encounter a large vegetated cove. Here, as water levels recede to sometime levels, smaller watercraft may have an advantage. There a several oxbows and shallow water sections loaded with aquatic vegetation that holds fish year round. Some of these areas have narrow and shallow entrances but then open up into large pond like areas. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

I had the opportunity to join one of New Hampshire’s headboat companies on a two-hour night fishing trip this past weekend. Nearly half of the boat had never fished before!!! The trip started off a little slow but we moved around until we found some action and lots of it. Mackerel were coming over the sides one after another; one young man was surprised to have two mackerel to a hook. We returned to Hampton Harbor as the sun was setting; what a great way to spend an evening! Everyone had a great time, especially those that had never been fishing before; I think it is safe to say they will be back! They are targeting mackerel and striped bass on the two-hour night trips right now, but usually switch over to blues once they come in strong, so pick up the phone before you head down. I highly recommend these trips. They are always a blast, not to mention short enough for a youngster’s attention span.

As of July 1, the NH Recreational Saltwater Fishing License is now $11! (You don't need a license if you are fishing from a party boat.) - Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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