NH Weekly Fishing Report - September 20, 2012
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Greetings anglers. The seasons are changing and this will most likely be our last fishing report for 2012. We've heard from many of you how much you appreciate hearing from our biologists about fish and fishing throughout the Granite State. We like to think that great fishing is the real "New Hampshire Advantage." So get out and enjoy the remaining weeks of fishing while enjoying the beautiful colors of fall, and we'll resume this report next spring.
In the meantime, of course, we have the winter ice-fishing season to look forward to. Jason Smith, our Fish Culture Operations Supervisor, reports that winter anglers in New Hampshire will have some trout stocked especially for them once again this fall. New Hampshire Fish and Game stocks trout every year during the fall months, mostly to bolster the winter ice fishery, which should translate into some exciting action for winter anglers this year. Find out more at www.fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/fall.html.
National Hunting and Fishing Day Events: Get set for the hunting and fishing seasons ahead this Saturday, September 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as N.H. Fish and Game presents free events in Concord and Holderness. A giant Sporting Expo will take over the grounds of the Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive in Concord, with more than 70 exhibits featuring the latest hunting and fishing-related products and services. Also, Owl Brook Hunter Education Center at 387 Perch Pond Road in Holderness will hold an open house featuring activities related to the shooting sports, hunting and trapping.
On to our fishing report. You'll notice that we do not have write-ups from every region this week, as some biologists are in the field, but those we have suggest there's still plenty good fishing going on!
I recently had the pleasure of fishing with my friend, Ron Smagula, out on Lake Winnipesaukee for salmon and rainbows. Conditions were ideal, with a south wind and moderate chop. Ron likes to get an early start, so we had our lines in before 6 AM. We used all flies on this trip, as Ron had been having good luck with this method. Downriggers were set at 38 feet, and the lead core lines had seven colors out. We quickly had a strike on the rigger and a nice 17-inch two-year-old salmon was brought to the rubber net. This two-year-old salmon was right on track to be close to our management goal of 18 inches long by late October. After that early success, we missed a couple of short strikes and caught a smallmouth bass, down 38 feet on the rigger! This has become quite common for trollers in the lakes region this year, as we have had numerous reports from Squam, Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam of smallmouth bass being caught as deep as 60 feet down! The “chatter” on the radio that morning echoed our success, it was very slow for most other anglers too. It is an annual occurrence at this time of year that the salmon break out of their summertime patterns and relocate closer to shore in anticipation of their fall spawning ritual. We’ve also had reports of some great rainbow trout coming off Big Squam.
Be aware that the Newfound boat access was shut down on September 17 to prepare for work on the concrete boat ramps and construction of a new floating dock, which will allow much easier access to your boat.
The northern trout ponds in the White Mountains region are fishing well now. Trout have been hitting wet flies fished deep. Look for the trout to start feeding on the surface as the temps in the ponds drop down to 60 degrees.
Fishing on the big lakes will end on September 30 for salmon, lake and rainbow trout, so get out there now and get some great late-season fishing in! - Don Miller, Fisheries Biologist
As was mentioned in last week’s brief report, Region 4 staff have been busy conducting annual young-of-the-year (YOY) bass surveys. With assistance from other Fish and Game employees, these electrofishing boat surveys target largemouth and smallmouth bass that hatched this spring. These surveys were first started in 2003 on Lake Winnipesaukee. Over the years, this important sampling has expanded to also include Spofford Lake, Big Squam Lake, Forest Lake (Whitefield), and two sections of the Connecticut River (Claremont and Hinsdale). The same areas of each waterbody are sampled each year and allow us to determine year-class strength and well as fish size, species composition, and how these factors change from year to year within a waterbody and also how they differ from north to south within the state.
Documenting a poor (or good) year-class will help us to predict and/or explain good or poor fishing success in the future. For example, a poor year-class of largemouth bass in Forest Lake in 2012 would help explain angler dissatisfaction with the fishery in seven to eight years, as that year-class reaches a size that most anglers wish to catch. Additionally, over-winter survival of YOY bass during their first winter has been shown to be positively related to their length in the fall and examining YOY bass size also helps us to predict future success of a particular year-class.
Based on the waters we have sampled thus far, it looks like the 2012 bass spawn was highly successful, and anglers should look forward to a large age class of bass growing to a catchable/preferred size in the coming years. - Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist
Based on the unusual catches reported lately, we seem to have been transported further south. The weather may be getting cooler, but these fish love warmer waters. While many of you saltwater anglers may have seen plenty of black sea bass this summer, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Last week an angler brought in a gray triggerfish. Scup are currently being targeted and harvested in our rivers and bays. Juvenile Atlantic bonito are mingling with the tuna offshore. Last week while conducting a dive survey, Fish and Game divers reported blue crabs on the bottom, and lobster harvesters have been pulling them up in traps. If you are a resident of New Hampshire, you are welcome to keep 12 of these unusual treats if you’ve taken them by hand, or if you hold a lobster license, enjoy as many as you can catch in your traps. While some of our “normal” fish may not be abundant right now, get out there and enjoy the last of the warm weather and the diversity of saltwater species the seacoast currently has to offer. – Renee Zobel, Marine Biologist
FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE AND SPORT FISH AND RESTORATION:
AUser-Pay, User-Benefit Program. Researching and managing fisheries and teachingpeople 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. Learn more at http://www.wildnh.com/SFWR_program/sfwr_program.htm.