NH Weekly Fishing Report - August 2, 2012

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North Country

Simplify. I just saw that word on a bumper sticker this morning. I am not sure what type of statement the driver was trying to make but it inspired me nonetheless. I own fishing equipment designed to pursue every fish in every waterbody at every time of year. My fishing room looks like a combination between an outdoor store, a library, and a museum. On my latest fishing adventure, I decided to simplify.

While capturing and banding Canada geese recently, I was exposed to a small farm pond in Lancaster. I was immediately reminded of my youth as this type of water is where I spent countless days exploring the world of fish. The following day, I grabbed my son, our 10-foot canoe, two spinning rods, and a tackle box no bigger than a shoe box.

The water was warm and nutrient-rich from agricultural runoff and aquatic vegetation was abundant. My son started with a small Rebel PopR and started catching yellow perch and largemouth bass immediately. I was throwing a gold Phoebe spoon with the same results. We paddled around the pond on a calm sunny day and had one of our best trips of the year. Even when we weren’t catching fish, we watched the great blue herons try their luck. At the end of the day our species-caught list included bass, perch, pickerel, pike, and sunfish. Simply stated, it was an awesome day. – Andy Schafermeyer, Fisheries Biologist

Monadnock/Upper Valley

This is a very busy time of year for fisheries biologists. The majority of our time is spent working in the field and can prevent us from producing fishing reports every week. This is when the angling community can help inform us and other anglers of fishing activities from region to region. Anglers are encouraged to call or email their regional biologists with information on their recent fishing excursions.

After not having a fishing report last week from the Monadnock region, a local avid bass fisherman, Lou Ruff, emailed us his report. “Fishing in the Connecticut River setbacks has been awesome! Over the past two weeks, I have caught three Northern Pike. Not the usual fish for this time of year, but I caught one on a shallow diving Rattlin Rapala (3-5 ft depth). I caught two more on rubber worms, Texas-rigged with a 1/8 oz tungsten bullet weight. Last weekend, I caught a 6 lb largemouth and a 4 lb largemouth. Both with a 7" Electric Grape Berkely rubber worm (same setup). Lots of smaller bass and a few small smallmouths. Fishing has been best at dawn with the dry weather.” Thanks for your report, Lou! – Jason Carrier, Fisheries Biologist

Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

Our surveys have brought us to the Middleton/Milton area this week in an effort to better understand the distribution of bridle shiners in the area, primarily within the Jones Brook watershed. This state-threatened species was once thought to be fairly common throughout the Coastal and Merrimack watersheds in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, they are very sensitive to the manipulations that have occurred to aquatic ecosystems and their distribution throughout the state has been reduced. With a lifespan that rarely exceeds two years, environmental perturbations leading to a year class failure can devastate a local population of bridle shiners. The predominant reasons for their decline are believed to be changes to natural flow rates, alterations of lake and pond levels, loss of dense aquatic and wetland vegetation, and increased predation rates. These impacts are often associated with each other. As flow rates or surface water levels are changed, there is usually a response to the aquatic and wetland plant community. Bridle shiners have a direct affinity to dense vegetation for egg deposition, juvenile development and protective cover from predators.

Although bridle shiners are not considered sport fish and normally do not grow larger than only a few inches, the species should be closely monitored. As an indicator species, the presence or loss of occurrence of bridle shiners help illustrate the condition of low gradient streams often associated with large expanses of wetlands as well as the condition of the shorelines of our lakes and ponds. The loss of the species may be the first sign of future impacts to other species and overall water quality. – Ben Nugent, Fisheries Biologist

Seacoast Area

Lon Robinson, one of our fish culturists, was kind enough to send me a report of his offshore adventures last week. Thanks Lon!:

“Last Friday two coworkers and I took a break from the rigors of fish culture to brush up on some hook and line sampling with one of the head boat companies. We took to the sea early that morning with a dreary forecast of 3-5 foot seas and rain. Fortunately for us, the weatherman had it all wrong! It was certainly a gray day, but the sea was very calm and we couldn’t ask for better fishing.

We all caught plenty of haddock, pollock and even a few cusk. The rest of the boat saw the same with ample catches of haddock. Cod were caught, but most were too short to be kept. We attempted to use jigs with out any luck. Fishing bait (cut clams) right on the bottom was the most successful strategy. Spiny dogfish were certainly around that day, but dropping your bait right to the bottom and keeping it there reduced the chance of hooking up with the pesky dogs.

Whales are abundant this time of year and it was evident on our trip. We fished alongside humpbacks, fin whales and minke whales that were feeding heavily on Atlantic herring. A large blue shark even joined the party, taunting fellow anglers as it ripped into fish being brought aboard.

With the dog days of summer quickly setting in, a head boat fishing trip certainly abates the doldrums of hot muggy days! With groundfishing still going strong and lots of ocean life abound, it’s a good time to take a ride!” – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program
Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration: A User-Pay, User-Benefit Program
Researching and managing fisheries and teaching people about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Click here to learn more.

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