NH Weekly Fishing Report - June 6, 2013

Greetings, anglers!  The Newfound Lake boat ramp in Bristol has re-opened, with a new accessible dock in addition to the new ramps that went in last September. Enjoy!

Word went out this week about a hearing July 1 in Concord on proposed 2014 fishing rule changes: fishnh.com/Newsroom/2013/Q2/Fish_Rule_Hearing_060313.html

Stocking report: fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html

Fishing licenses: fishnh.com. Don’t forget -- kids under 16 fish free in N.H.!Take Me Fishing!

Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/nhfishandgame

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NORTH COUNTRY

It seems odd that we are approaching mid-June and I have had only two or three real fishing adventures. I don’t want summer to sneak by me without having some good memories to get me through the winter. In the next week, I hope to buckle down and hit a few of my favorite spots.

The recent rain and charge of water may encourage movement of fish that is otherwise not typical for this time of year. This weekend, I hope to go to Lake Francis and see if any salmon have been drawn into the river at the lake’s northern end. This area provides some of the best shorebank opportunities to catch a landlocked salmon as they stage at the mouth of the river. Casting streamers on a sinking line can be an effective way to hook into one of these exciting fish. Anyone who has ever caught one can attest to their leaping ability and general toughness on a fly line.

I will also get the boat into Lake Umbagog for some post-spawn smallmouth fishing. A friend went last week and reported the fish to be most active on south-facing shorelines, and surface action was constant. He caught a lot of fish on a fire tiger, floating stick bait. There also seems to be a lot of pickerel action in early summer on Umbagog. These can be a voracious fish when it comes to feeding in shallow water, and a strike on a surface lure is always exciting.

Finally, I hope to get my son and I into some stream fishing for brook trout before the water gets too warm. Nash Stream is a favorite spot, as well as Phillips Brook and the Upper Ammonoosuc. Using worms on an ultralight rod is the usual approach, but a 6-foot, 2-weight fly rod becomes effective as we get further into summer. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

LAKES REGION

On June 4th, I checked on conditions along the Winnipesaukee River beginning at Lakeport Dam and ending in Tilton.  The water release at Lakeport Dam is currently 1,550 cubic-feet-per-second (CFS).  At flows such as this, you must drop down from the dam quite a distance to be able to successfully fish in the current.  There may be fish at your feet in the 10-12 feet of water, but getting bait or lures down to them is nearly impossible. 

Next stop was the footbridge below Avery dam in downtown Laconia.  I talked with two anglers who had caught a couple salmon over the last two days!  First week of June, after a heat wave, and salmon are still in the river!  I would dare say that there are rainbow trout in the river, as well.  My next stop was at Lochmere dam, the water level structure for Lake Winnisquam.  There was a heavy flow in the bypass reach (the old river-bed), and out into Silver Lake.

There are many opportunities for anglers along the Winnipesaukee River, and I haven’t even mentioned the stretch of river (and lake) that runs along the WOW trail (Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam) down to Mosquito Bridge over Lake Winnisquam.  Anglers can also begin in Franklin, near the old trestle and work up the river all the way to Tilton at Exit 20 off Route 93.

Lake levels are high, due to all the rainfall, but water temps are still cool (59-62 degrees), so lake trollers should still find salmon and rainbows not that deep (25 feet).

Smallmouth bass are still on their nests in Lake Winnisquam.  They have had a rough time of it this spring, with the up-and-down weather patterns.

May fly hatches have just begun, so look for trout pond activity to really pick up! – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

Despite the recent heat wave, reports have been flying in showing that anglers have been ignoring the heat, getting on the water, and catching fish.  Granite Lake produced two big rainbows and two keeper lake trout for two lucky gentlemen on Saturday.  Trout anglers are also doing well on the Souhegan River in New Ipswich going for brook and rainbow trout.  Bass anglers had a banner weekend on Grassy Pond (Rindge) and Mountain Brook Reservoir (Jaffrey).

I just saw what might be the new state record bow-harvested carp (once all the paperwork has been submitted and verified).  The happy angler struggled to lift the 41.4-lb fish out of the cooler; if this becomes the new state record, it will beat the previous record by almost 20 lbs.!

This week, we will be placing warmwater fish habitat structures into a pond in southwestern New Hampshire.  The structures will be made of Christmas trees and will act to supplement existing fish habitat in this water body, which is currently limited.

It has been well established that fish growth and natural production are dependent on the quality of the water and physical habitat.  Accordingly, improving fish habitat by installing habitat structures is a common and successful strategy used by State and federal management agencies across the United States.  Frequent objectives of habitat improvement projects include increasing angler catch rates, creating nursery habitat for juvenile fish, and creating spawning and adult fish habitat.

Because warmwater fisheries in New Hampshire are sustained through natural reproduction and are popular with the state’s anglers, attempts to improve/restore warmwater fish habitat and angling opportunities in select water bodies are warranted.  Habitat that ensures adequate reproduction, survival, growth and ultimately results in the stability or improvement of these populations is an important component in the successful management of these warmwater fish species.  The fish population in this water body will be surveyed in coming years to assess the impact of these habitat structures on the fish population, and visual assessments of fish use will also be made. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

A Franklin angler wrote in last week to tell us that the broodstock salmon fishing has been great in his area. He's been fly fishing in Franklin the past three weeks and has caught 13 salmon. All the fish were released, and all were caught on Ghost type streamer patterns. He reported that he's fished a total of five times between the bridge and dam. "It's been incredible. The fish have ranged from 20 inches up to about 32 inches. The salmon have had yellow tags except for two, which had no tags. Just wanted to thank everyone at Fish and Game for their work." Along with the salmon, he reeled in several brown trout.

Don't forget – to fish for brood stock salmon, you need a current N.H. fishing license and an $11 brood stock salmon permit.  Both can be purchased online at http://www.fishnh.com or from any license agent. Learn more about our Atlantic brood stock salmon fishery, find an access map and see a short video about brood stock salmon fishing on the Merrimack River at fishnh.com/Fishing/atlantic_salmon.htm. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

Rain and cold weather had negative and positive effects on the saltwater fishing last week. The river herring runs for the most part have tapered off, but there are still stripers being caught in the Cocheco River around Henry Law Park, as well as the Lamprey River downstream of the dam in the center of Newmarket. Out on the coast, things have picked up for fisherman looking for stripers, mackerel and flounder.

The flounder fishing continues to produce in shallow areas such as Hampton Harbor and its tributaries, as well as the jetties by the Wentworth Marina.  This week and last, I managed to land a few flounder in the 12-13-inch range, with a few fish reaching 16 inches! Flounder typically spawn from late March into the month of May. My most recent flounder catch indicated that the flounder are in a post-spawn season and should be returning to deeper waters as the summer progresses.

The flounder's movement is dictated by water temperature; they prefer cool waters and cannot tolerate very warm temperatures. In the winter months, they seek out the stable temps of deep water, then move back into the estuaries and shallows in the spring until the water warms to the point that they move back offshore. Fortunately, for now, the ocean temps (a chilly 52 degrees as I write this) remain very cold, extending the season for a few more weeks until they disperse to stable temperatures of deep water.

Striper fishing continues to increase in quantity and quality. Larger fish are being reported more often and in greater numbers as the month of June heats up. June is my personal favorite time to fish for stripers, as the water temperatures remain fairly cool for daytime fishing, as well as the availability of live bait. For those with access to a boat, now is a good time to live-line some mackerel around structure such as bridge pilings, submerged rock piles, docks, islands or any object that changes the natural flow, enabling predators such as stripers and other game fish a place to lay in wait for prey.  

For anglers lacking a boat, or who don't have a boat with the capability of fishing the ocean, the Piscataqua River provides a fairly narrow channel and many opportunities to locate fish. There are unlimited points of structure and good water found in its entirety. It is truly a place that could take a lifetime to master.

In the river, most anglers would be best suited to use live bait rigged off the bottom to evade the rocky, craggy bottom filled with gear-grabbing nooks and crannies. For those unfamiliar with live-bait fishing in the river, I typically use (depending on your rod setup) 8 feet of 30-lb. fluorocarbon leader with a swivel,  6/0 octopus circle hook and a large bobber. If live bait is not available you can also use this rig with chunk bait. (See a diagram of a chunk bait rig setup on page 14 of the Saltwater Fishing Digest or in our Seacoast Fishing Guide, at fishnh.com/marine/marine_PDFs/seacoast_TMF_guide.pdf.)

My pick of shore sites for upriver would include Bloody Point, east of the Rte. 16 bridge; and Hilton State Park, west of the Rte. 16 bridge off of Dover Point Road. For inshore boat anglers, I would recommend trying a drift past Goat Island (be very careful; the tide rips here), as well as the pilings supporting the Rte. 16 bridge (also an area that demands caution and experience). Lower river spots you may want to try include Fort Stark and Great Island Common (both offer jetties to fish from) on Rte. 1B in New Castle. In addition to bait fishing, I would recommend fishing with plugs and soft baits around the rocks and breaks in the shoreline.

Another spot shore anglers may want to try is the second Rte. 1B bridge to New Castle. This is a popular site and parking is limited. You can pick a side to fish here, depending on the direction of the tide, and catch a variety of fish here, both large and small. So, to pass your time, you may want to keep a spare trout rod with you, to see if can entice some live bait. As a reminder, the bridge is marked and partially closed to fishing to allow the travel of water craft under the bridge! The weather looks spotty this week, so if you get the chance to get out on the water good luck! – Shane Conlin, Marine Biological Aide

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