NH Weekly Fishing Report - May 31, 2012

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

NH Free Fishing Day is THIS Saturday! - June 2

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North Country

June presents an unusual paradox for New Hampshire anglers. The weather is picture perfect, with warm days, cool nights, and plenty of daylight hours in between. The only negative variable in this equation is the insects that spring to life in these conditions. After a particularly successful evening on a trout pond Saturday, I had more black flies stuck in my hair than flies in my fly-box. Mosquitoes dined on my arms while I was tying knots, and landing a fish was a daunting task as I tried to do so while slapping at hungry deer flies.

I suppose that, without insects and their sometimes inconvenient life cycles, fishing may not be the intriguing sport that it is. Mixed in with the no-see-ums are the caddis flies and mayflies that trigger aggressive trout strikes. For every application of bug spray, there are even doses of dry fly floatant. Biting insects are almost always aquatic at some point in their development and trout have no hesitation eating black fly or mosquito larvae. When they hatch in great densities, a fly-fisherman can be less than perfect when choosing an imitation. Pheasant tail nymphs will resemble an emerging insect closely enough to fool a trout that is gorging itself.

There is no magical time of day when biting insects take a break. An angler is a constant target and, sometimes, the only cure is landing a beautiful fish and forgetting the bugs. – Andy Schafermeyer, Fisheries Biologist

Lakes Region

A recent trip on Lake Winnisquam produced a couple small lake trout, it certainly didn’t help that a southeast wind was present that morning. I noticed a great deal of “junk” floating on the lake’s surface, by junk, I mean tree pollen, and flowers from assorted trees. It meant that lines had to be cleaned frequently of this debris. I noticed some male smallmouth bass still sitting on nests; the eggs should be hatching any day now as the lake temperature is near 68 degrees. The flow at Lakeport Dam is approximately 800 cfs (cubic feet per second), and this means there are still good opportunities at fishing the Winnipesaukee River in Laconia, and at Lochmere Dam, at the outlet of Winnisquam.

Fisheries biologists Matt Carpenter and Ben Nugent are nearing the end of stocking river herring into Lake Winnisquam. We will monitor the progress of this species, as the YOY (young-of-the-year) alewives grow throughout the summer and into the fall as they prepare to leave the system on their journey back to the Atlantic Ocean.

Aerial pond stocking will occur the week of June 11. JBI Helicopter Services of Pembroke, NH will again be guiding us across the landscape as we stock fingerling Kennebago strain brook trout into 48 remote, high elevation ponds. Approximately 110,000 fingerlings are stocked in this one-day event. If you have never fished these ponds, you are missing out on some fantastic fishing, in remote, wilderness settings.

Don’t forget that this Saturday, June 2, is free fishing day in New Hampshire. Take advantage of this day with a friend and enjoy the wonderful outdoor opportunities we have here. – Don Miller, Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

Water temperatures in our local trout ponds are more like mid-June than the end of May. Fishing at Dublin Lake last week showed a surface temperature of 69 degrees! Despite these earlier than normal warm temperatures, reports I have been getting point to good trout fishing.

The Cold and Ashuelot rivers have been stocked heavily with brook, brown and rainbow trout. Anglers are taking notice -- and are also taking home some heavy stringers in the past week. Beard’s Brook in Hillsborough is also producing some nice catches of rainbow and brook trout. Don’t forget about the area where Beard’s Brook and the North Branch meet in Hillsborough by the Chinese restaurant, as this area has always produced a few nice trout for me. Anglers have been having good luck on these streams using Powerbait, worms, and small inline spinners such as Mepps and Rooster Tails.

For ponds, both Gustin (Marlow) and Newell Pond (Alstead) are producing some excellent brook trout, as is Smith Pond (Washington). Whittemore Lake (Bennington) has been giving up some fat rainbow and brook trout as well. A friend of mine relayed to me that the last couple weeks at Willard Pond (Antrim; fly fishing only) have been great. As he put it, “emerging insects, a North wind, and hungry trout make for a great combination on Willard.” There have also been some big smallmouth bass caught in Willard during the past week or so.

Finally, I received a report that anglers are already starting to catch walleye in the Connecticut River by trolling large crankbaits such as Reef Runners. – Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Anadromous fish species have begun to appear at the fish lift at the Essex Dam in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Already around 100 Atlantic salmon and 5,000 American shad have been counted at the fishway. Once our efforts to transfer river herring to Winnisquam Lake are over, we will begin moving American shad from Lawrence upstream to the Merrimack River in the Boscawen/Concord area. The same principles associated with transferring adult river herring are found with the movement of American shad. The mature adults trapped at lower sections of the Merrimack River will be trucked to more ideal spawning habitat upstream. The adults will leave shortly after spawning, while the hatched juveniles will spend the summer months in this stretch of river before returning to the Atlantic in the early fall. The juveniles will be utilized as a seasonal forage source in the river, benefitting several different sport fishes. – Ben Nugent, Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

Well, the groundfishing has been slow this past week, but as the river herring runs slow, stripers are moving back down river and anglers are catching stripers in the Piscataqua and the bay. Mackerel are being brought in by the cooler full, most of these coming from the Piscataqua as well.

Winter flounder have had a really slow season so far, and it doesn’t seem to be picking up. One of our biologists took a flounder trip this past weekend down in Rye Harbor; he fished for 4 hours and only got 1 bite. I guess any day where you get to bring home dinner can be considered successful, even if it is a little disappointing. – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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