NH Weekly Fishing Report - June 21, 2012
Stocking report: www.fishnh.com/Fishing/fish_stock_current.htm
Summer Fun: Let us help you get those kids outside! We still have space in two sessions for boys and girls at Barry Conservation Camp in Milan, NH. The week of July 8-13 is “All about Fishing,” a fun week where youth ages 10-16 can get into fishing or sharpen their angling skills. There's also room in “Wild Side II,” July 29-August 3; this is an exciting week of outdoor adventure for youth age 12-16. They'll hike, paddle a remote lake, explore local wildlife, learn outdoor survival skills and more. Sign up at http://extension.unh.edu/4H/4HCamps.htm or contact 4Hcamps@unh.edu or 603-788-4961. Barry Camp is operated by UNH Cooperative Extension 4-H and Fish and Game.
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With summer moving into full swing, it is time to enjoy an evening on the lake with friends, the grill, and the fishing rod. While some people prefer to fish with half a million of their closest friends, many anglers prefer to hit the water alone. Whatever your fishing style is, it is good to hear a few tips when you set your sights on a favorite game fish: black bass, aka smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Many anglers agree that fishing with plastic worms works great for bass, especially in warmer, less-clear water. If the lake you have your sights set on is as clear as glass and really cold, it is time to switch to something more lively. Night crawlers seem to do the trick when the bass can see through the phony worms. Large and smallmouth bass alike prefer to hang out in the aquatic vegetation or under manmade objects like docks and bridges. During the heat of day, bass will move to deeper water; however, they will remain in shallow water if the water temperature stays cool enough (< 70oF). During the morning and evenings, bass tend to stay in shallow water.
Now it is time to find a few worms and hit the dock. It is the perfect time to catch a trophy bass you can be proud of. Try your luck at Burns Pond and Forest Lake in Whitefield, Partridge Lake in Littleton, or Pontook Reservoir in Dummer. – Carmella Macke, Fisheries Summer Intern
Summer is here and so is the Hex hatch! These are mayflies belonging to the genus Hexagenia. I’ve noticed a hatch in the evening on Lake Winnisquam and reports from Big Squam Lake say the same is happening there. Landlocked salmon often will switch their diets in favor of these large mayflies. Brook trout anglers will want to be on their favorite trout ponds at dusk, as these hatches can really turn on the trout! Some of these mayflies are quite large; I remember years ago at Sky Pond, watching cedar waxwings swoop down and grab them as they came off the water. Pheasant-tail nymphs mimic the larval forms pretty well as they ascend to the surface. Dry flies should be well-hackled and large, up to 1 1/2 inches long.
With warmer weather (actually hot!), lake temps will soon be in the 70-degree range, with small ponds close behind. This is a good time of year to “dredge” wet flies in the depths of our trout ponds. I like a sinking tip line (6 weight) with a wide array of nymphs or wooly buggers on the leader. Twitch the line in after allowing several seconds of drop on your fly. Bead-head nymphs are excellent for this with the added weight the head provides.
A recent snorkeling survey of the Lake Winnisquam shoreline revealed black bass fry around several empty bass nests. The fry at this time are tiny, about ¼ inch long. They hang around the nest site for several days and feed on plankton. Soon, their color will change to a greenish hue, and at this time they move away to seek cover in rocks and vegetation. It’s been an up and down year for bass nesting, with water temps doing a yo-yo act early on. Time will tell about this year-class of bass.
I recently received a trophy fish application for a monster rainbow trout from the Piscataquog River in Manchester, of all places! Congratulations go out to Peter Dow and Mike Nadeau who teamed up to catch this brute, 12 pounds in weight and 32 inches long! I can imagine the time they had with this fish. Good job guys! – Don Miller, Fisheries Biologist
The recent weather pattern has favored trout anglers, keeping waters relatively cool and streams at good flows. Now that the summer heat is upon us, it is time to get out and fish local trout waters before they warm up and make it difficult to locate fish. Anglers have reported good fishing on the Warner River (Warner), Cold River (From Acworth to Walpole), and the Souhegan River (From Greenville to Merrimack).
A few days ago I fished a local pond that is managed for brook trout, except I was fishing for smallmouth bass. Fish were post-spawn and actively feeding. In four hours of fishing we caught around 30 bass. Wacky-rigged worms, shaky-head worms, and tube-style jigs fished along near shore drop-offs with scattered rocks was the ticket. I need to get out and fish more of these smallmouth ponds and lakes in the next couple of weeks before water temps really warm up and the smallmouth head out to deep water for the summer, making them more difficult to locate and catch. – Jason Carrier, Fisheries Biologist
Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley
The high temperatures of the last couple days can be a reminder of how sensitive some fish species can be to warm water temperatures. This reinforces the importance of having intact, well-established riparian buffers along our streams and rivers throughout the state. Amongst the many benefits of a good riparian (the zone where stream or river water and land meet) buffer, a mature forest canopy can keep streams shaded. Blocking the warming effects of the sun can maintain or even decrease stream temperatures as it flows through its watershed. In some instances, an intact riparian buffer can mean the difference between a healthy brook trout population and a marginal or nonexistent population.
All fish species have evolved to have different temperature preferences. It is less easy for stream-dwelling fish species to access deeper, cooler habitats than a lake or pond fish species can. In the event that stream temperatures begin to become intolerable to species like brook trout, there are only two available options that can be tried to find refuge in areas with cooler water temperature. These options are either to head upstream or downstream. This is why aquatic connectivity is important. If brook trout need to move to find areas that are better shaded or have spring seeps running into the stream, they need to have the ability to navigate to these locations. Passage barriers like perched culverts or small dams installed on streams can essentially stop migration and leave fish trapped. – Ben Nugent, Fisheries Biologist
The River is teeming with stripers! Not to mention just about everywhere else. Most of the people we ran into this past weekend were live lining mackerel and catching schoolies in the Piscataqua. Anglers down in Hampton were having excellent luck catching schoolies and a few keepers from the jetties. If you are a shore angler, the jetties are where it’s at right now. According to reports, the mackerel had moved out after that rain -- but are now patrolling right along the coast, which is attracting the striped bass to the harbor inlets. We have a number of suitable spots along our coast, some of the most underused and less crowded are: Fort Constitution at the Coast Guard station, Fort Stark, Odiorne Point, and Rye Harbor Jetty. – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist