NH Weekly Fishing Report - May 24, 2012

Stocking report: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/fish_stock_current.htm

NH Free Fishing Day is June 2

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North Country

The middle of May can be a great time for New Hampshire anglers to maximize opportunity. Water temperatures are still cool, levels are high, and fish are everywhere. Trout are biting and bass are either spawning or protecting nests. I like to fish several waterbodies in the North Country that provide both trout and bass fisheries. These “two-tier” fisheries allow both types of fish to thrive and create some unique opportunities.

Put-and-take trout fisheries such as those at Mirror Lake in Whitefield and Martin Meadow Pond in Lancaster are at their best right now. Fishing from a boat allows you to cover a lot of water and finding fish should be easy – keep trolling around until you find that desired depth, cover, or temperature. There are so many rigs designed for trolling that you can keep changing until you find what they are looking for.

As mentioned, these same waterbodies offer exciting bass fishing. Those fish that are in some stage of spawning can be caught on heavy baits like tubes or jigs. Those bass that are feeding are taking advantage of the warming waters by gobbling up plastic baits and deep running crank baits. This window of trout and bass fishing on the same water in the same day may not last much longer, so get out and give it a try!

Lakes Region

Summer is just around the corner and the lakes are heating up. Lake Winnipesaukee water temp is 61 degrees, with smaller ponds and lakes nearing the mid-sixties. We recently electroshocked a small lakes-region lake and found largemouth bass and sunfish guarding their nests. It looks like our catch-and-release season will offer protection to these nesting bass this year.

Lake Winnisquam received another stocking of river herring this week, approximately 4,100 herring were stocked into the Winnipesaukee River in Laconia. It will be interesting to monitor the juvenile growth over the course of the summer, and to see what effect this new forage item will have on our resident fish species. While at the river a day or two ago, there were a few white perch fishermen still trying their luck. The perch run is winding down now.

Last weekend saw the 30th annual Winni Derby held on Lake Winnipesaukee. The weather was great, maybe a little too hot and not nearly enough chop on the water, but anglers were still successful in bringing in quite a number of landlocked salmon and lake trout. The winning salmon weighed 5.42 pounds, while a 9.18-pound lake trout took top honors in that category. The three-year-old salmon looked good, most were right around 20 inches and 2.9 pounds in size. This is the year-class that will fuel the fishery this summer and fall. As always, refer to the “salmon angler pledge” and tips for safe release of salmon: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/salmon_anglers_pledge.html. Remember, this is a finite fishery, which exhibits a lot of fishing pressure. It is up to us, the anglers who enjoy this fishery, to protect it for future generations.

Trout fishing is at peak now, in terms of water temperatures and insect hatches. Trout ponds are producing well, with mayflies starting to appear, along with lots of caddis. – Don Miller, Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

It was a beautiful spring day and we decided to take the canoe out for a little paddle, but I also wanted to go someplace where I could catch a few trout for a meal. NH Fish and Game stocks trout in select marshes and small rivers that are great for a springtime fish and paddle. I like these places because you can paddle around and fish without getting blown around in the wind too much.

I typically go to the Contoocook River for my spring fish and paddle, but this time I wanted to try a local marsh, which is actually a dammed-up section of a stream that is managed for waterfowl. I keep it very simple when fishing for stocked trout. I use a medium-light spinning rod and for lures I use in-line spinners and small spoons. We paddled the marsh, taking our time and staying in the stream channel while fishing. At the end of the day we had enough brook trout for a meal, and saw what these waterfowl impoundments do: produce waterfowl. We saw a lot of birds, including blue-wing teal, wood duck, American black duck, mallard, and Canada geese. – Jason Carrier, Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Due to our efforts with river herring transfers to Winnisquam Lake and assisting the Region 2 staff at the Winni Derby over the past week, this report will be short. We are well underway stocking spawning river herring (primarily alewives) from coastal Maine rivers into Lake Winnisquam. By Friday of this week, we expect to have stocked about 20,000 herring into this tributary water of the Merrimack River. This leaves one remaining trip to reach out target goal of 24,000 herring or about 6 fish per acre. – Ben Nugent, Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

Mackerel have made their way into the river and anglers are catching them from shore and boat alike. There are a few choice spots along the Piscataqua and just south to Little Harbor that are perfect for catching mackerel. Starting in Portsmouth, take a trip down toward Prescott Park and turn onto Mechanic Street, continue out to Pierce Island down past the public pool, try the Piscataqua River bank just past the pool. There is ample parking and if the shoreline here becomes crowded you can always backtrack a few hundred yards and try your luck on Four Tree Island.

Moving down the coast, most of our recent reports have come from the bridges between Portsmouth and New Castle along Route 1B. There is a small parking area here at Goat Island and there is plenty of space to fly fish from the shore, the majority of mackerel caught here are from the bridges. Continuing along Route 1B you will pass Great Island Common; this is a large park with a beach area and a small jetty that looks out at the mouth of the Piscataqua. This can be a very productive spot for mackerel. There is a small fee for non-New Castle residents, but it is a great area if you are bringing your family along.

The next stop is minutes down the road: turn onto Wild Rose Lane, this will bring you out to Fort Stark. If you walk past the fort, there’s a jetty that separates Little Harbor from the Atlantic. You can find mackerel and harbor pollock here, as well as bluefish and stripers in season. If you look across Little Harbor, you will see our last stop, Odiorne Point Jetty. To get to Odiorne Point, go south on Route 1A; just before you hit the coast, you will find a boat launch on the left and then the Seacoast Science Center just past it. You can start your walk from either point. It is a little bit of a hike in, but there are trails to follow. This spot is much like the Fort Stark Jetty across the harbor - mackerel, pollock, bluefish and stripers are common species caught off of these rocks.

As with any shore fishing in saltwater, you want to be aware of the tide, generally the incoming tide is the best time to fish. Mackerel can be caught on most small lures, but diamond jigs and sabiki rigs are most effective. If the forecast doesn’t change too much, we are in store for another beautiful weekend, so get out and go fishing! – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist 

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