NH Weekly Fishing Report - June 20, 2013

Greetings, anglers.  As Don Miller reports, the annual aerial stocking of remote trout ponds took place today.  This week's report includes a profile of Otter Lake in Greenfield, a look at the striper action on the seacoast, some tips for central N.H. anglers from Inland Fisheries Chief Jason Smith, and a fresh perspective from our fisheries intern in the North Country.  Enjoy!

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

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LAKES REGION

As I write this report, fish culturists from New Hampton and Berlin Hatcheries are stocking the remainder of our 48 remote trout ponds in the North Country.  I fly the two initial “sorties,” starting from the headquarters of JBI helicopter in Pembroke, N.H., and finishing up at Warren Hatchery.  A total of seven ponds are stocked in these two sorties; beginning with Lake Solitude, high atop a flank of Mount Sunapee and ending at Rocky Pond in Wentworth. 

I believe this will be a banner year for survival and growth of these Kennebago brook trout fingerlings, for a number of reasons.  First, June has been exceedingly wet, and in addition, temperatures have been below normal for some time.  This has resulted in our ponds having ideal conditions for trout growth and survival.  Typically, these 2-3 inch fingerlings will reach 5-6 inches by the first fall and up to 10 inches the second fall in these ponds.  By the end of the day, approximately 145,000 fingerlings, weighing 620 pounds will have found new homes across the entire state of New Hampshire!

I recently sampled the fishing in a central N.H. trout pond and found the fishing slow.  Of course I fished under bright sunny skies and a pretty chippy northwest wind!  Pond temperatures have remained well below normal, and this has delayed insect hatches in most ponds in the central/White Mountain Regions of the state.  Just this past Monday, the temperature at Profile Lake was 53 degrees!  Fish are being caught though; deep dredging with nymphs and wooly buggers is doing the job!

In the big lakes, the temps are nearing 65 degrees, and fishing for salmon and lakers is holding up well. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

I want to highlight Otter Lake (Greenfield) in this week’s fishing report.  Otter Lake is 135 acres in size, with an average depth of 10 feet and a maximum depth of 16 feet.  There is a boat ramp with limited parking and the Greenfield State Park and Campground is located along part of its shoreline.  Besides the State Park, there is limited development on this beautiful pond. 

Despite its relatively small size, the lake hosts a very prolific largemouth bass population.  A recent warmwater electrofishing boat survey turned up tremendous numbers of largemouth bass in the 12 – 16” range.  Smallmouth bass are also present, but in lesser numbers.  There are some very large yellow perch and pumpkinseed in the lake, as well.  Other species present include hornpout and chain pickerel. 

This is the perfect place to enjoy a fruitful day of bass fishing or, even better, a reliable destination to take a kid fishing.  If I were to bass fish there tomorrow, I would use a wacky rigged senko and spinnerbait to fish the shorelines with less vegetation and then throw a frog into the sections with more vegetation.  For panfish, a bobber and worm, or a bobber and small jig with a 1.5” curly tailed grub or tube would be perfect.  You could slowly troll the bobber setup along the shoreline or simply let the wind or waves move it around. 

Despite the high water we have been seeing in area brooks and rivers, I heard a report from several fly anglers that the South Branch of the Ashuelot River has been fishing well.  Drifting weighted nymphs was the ticket for several large brown trout and some wild brook trout as well. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

The lack of a true heat wave so far this season has extended fishing opportunities for panfish in many of the region's small warmwater ponds.  Cool nights and higher than average rainfall has kept surface temperatures from driving fish into deep water.  I have had an opportunity to take advantage of the extended, shallow water panfishing opportunities.  Panfish can still be found at depths from 4-10 feet, where they can be successfully targeted with small lures, jigs and streamers. Once these fish retreat to the depth of mid-summer, it becomes a whole different ball game, so take advantage while you can.

In the coming weeks, the evening emergence of the giant mayfly (Hexagenia limbata) can create some exciting fly fishing opportunities.  This large mayfly is an important part of many fish species' diets.  I have traditionally planned trout fishing trips around this hatch, but have recently discovered the exciting fishing opportunity that it can be on a warmwater pond for perch, crappie and other warmwater species.  Large flies (a size 8 White Wulff will always get some attention) on a 6-weight rod with a dry fly line can create quite a frenzy during the evening hatch.  This hatch typically starts in late June in the Merrimack Valley and will work its way north into mid-July.  Ponds with a soft bottom will generally produce better hatches. – Jason Smith, Chief of Inland Fisheries

NORTH COUNTRY

My name is Ashley Andy, and I am a summer intern at the Region I Fish and Game office in Lancaster.  I have to warn you, I am not an expert by any means in the fishing world.  I do, however, have some very fond memories of lazy summer days of my childhood spent floating around a lake with my grandfather and my father.  I may not have always been the best fishing companion.  At first, I would be shaking with anticipation to try and catch a monster fish, but after about ten minutes, I would get bored.  I’d find it way more interesting to do a cannonball right where they had cast their lines two minutes prior!  I am 99 percent sure this is why my dad had a full head of grey hair by the time he was 30. 

Through all this, they always let me tag along, no doubt already resigned to the fact that they would not be catching any fish during the trip.  Forgive my nostalgia, my grandfather passed away a little over a year ago and was an avid angler.  He could tell you the best spots, the best lures to use, and most important, he always found the fish (at least when I wasn’t scaring them away with my antics).  I miss him dearly, and this is the sole reason for why I have decided to get back into fishing.

One of my responsibilities at Fish and Game is stocking.  This activity gives me an up close and personal look at the fish.  When I was first asked to assist with this task, I felt like I had been initiated into some secret society where only its most trusted members were privy to such holy information.  I felt like I was really a part of something!  And then I found out the stocking information is posted on the F&G website for anyone that wants it.  Man, was my world rocked.  Just yesterday, we stocked two ponds in the North Country with a few hundred brook trout and, let me tell you, there were some good-sized ones in the bunch!  You may want to think about testing these areas out over the next few days and, with a beautiful summer forecast headed our way, it will be a great time to do so.  Finally, no rain!  So you know what that means, the water levels should be steadily lowering and will hopefully make for some good fishing.  I know I will be taking full advantage. 

I would try Millsfield or Dummer Pond for some oversized brook trout.  If you feel like traveling, you could head up north to Pittsburg for some back-country fishing on the Connecticut.  Fishing has been a little slower than normal with the cold, wet spring we had, but fishing should get hot with the warmer weather that is predicted.  Best of luck! - Ashley Andy, Fisheries Intern

SEACOAST AREA

The coastal rivers in New Hampshire are jumping with stripers! Not to mention just about everywhere else.  Anglers down in Hampton were having excellent luck catching schoolies and a few keepers from the jetties.  Large stripers have been caught in Newmarket and in Dover.  I would recommend using artificial lures or live lining mackerel to catch a striper.  Mackerel fishing has been fairly good, but most reports of them being caught are from boat fishermen near the Isles of Shoals.  Shore anglers can also try less crowded areas for stripers: Fort Constitution at the Coast Guard station, Fort Stark, Odiorne Point, Portsmouth/New Castle Bridges and Rye Harbor Jetty. Reports of winter flounder are still coming in from Hampton and Rye Harbor.  – Robert Eckert, Marine Biologist

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