NH Weekly Fishing Report - August 1, 2013
Stocking has wrapped up for the season, but there's fish out there waiting for you! Read on for some timely tips for making the most of your deep summer fishing.
Stocking report: fishnh.com/Fishing/Stocking/current.html
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For the dry fly fisherman, August can be a fantastic time to fish Northern New Hampshire. Where early season hatches can be slight and very specific, mid-summer insect life is abundant and widespread. While watching trout sip at size 28 midges, a hack like me can throw a foam-bodied beetle in the middle of it all and occasionally get a hit. By now, fish have seen a lot of bugs floating over their heads, and they have tried to eat most of them. A Royal Wulff looks little like a natural food source, but it becomes my favorite fly for small water brook trout. The fly is easy to see for both angler and fish and usually induces aggressive strikes.
An additional advantage for August fly fisherman is that young-of-year fish (those hatched in early spring) have started to reach a size where they become a valued food source for larger fish. This translates into good streamer fishing and allows me to try some old faithful patterns. If I could own only one streamer, it would be a Black Ghost. The white marabou and black body trigger an instinct in fish like no other pattern. They are easy to tie and can be modified in many ways – just adding a few strips of peacock herl can dress them up in a good way. I also have a lot of luck on Grey Ghosts and squirrel-tail streamers. They can be easily fished and work well when long casts are used, either through runs or pools. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist
This summer continues to roll along at a quick pace. Showers and periods of heavier rain seem to be the “norm” this year. The good news is that stream fishing is holding up very well, especially since we have seen some cooler nights, which helps to drop those stream temperatures. From reports I’ve heard, it’s a banner season for native brook trout in headwater streams. These wild trout are great to catch, just watching several of them race to your fly or bait is a treat. Fellow fisheries biologists who have surveyed these small streams statewide continue to find good populations of wild trout from the Lakes Region north to Bretton Woods. These trout make up for lack of size with their brilliant coloration and the wild habitats they call home. Fish these streams with the knowledge that they are a precious resource that can handle some harvest, done responsibly.
I've heard reports of some nice white perch (1.5-2 lbs.) caught in Lake Winnisquam recently. Fish areas at the northern (Loon and Three Islands) and southern (below Mosquito Bridge) ends of the lake, near dusk, with worms and spinners for some great eating fish.
Just today, we have finished our “sea trials” with our research vessel Forager out on Lake Winnipesaukee. A hearty thank you goes out to Brian Fife, Fish and Game IT (computer) guy for troubleshooting some computer problems for us! We will start our night-time surveys of smelt populations next week, weather permitting. And by the way, lake trollers were out in full force on the “Big Lake” this morning, plying the waters in the Gilford area. August, as I have stated before numerous times, is when our salmon populations are heavily impacted. Warm surface temps, and the feeding frenzy these fish exhibit can lead to mortality, serious hook-wounding, and the sub-lethal effects of playing these fish. We all love this fishery, and the need to protect it should be a priority for all anglers. Please review the Salmon Angler’s Pledge and take it to heart: fishnh.com/Fishing/salmon_anglers_pledge.html
The region that I cover is vast, stretching from Tilton north to Harts Location, east to Maine and west to Vermont. We are blessed with numerous fisheries in this area, Winnipesaukee, Big Squam, Sunapee, Newfound and Winnisquam lakes and the Connecticut, Saco, Ossipee, Pemigewasset, Mad, Sugar and Mascoma rivers and their watersheds. I base my reports on trophy fish entries, Conservation Officer communication, blogs, websites and my personal observation of fishing excursions that I try to fit into my schedule. What I need is for you, the angler, to send me info on your fishing trips. Don’t worry, I won’t “spot burn” your favorite fishing hole, I will be discreet, but I need this type of info to “broaden” the reach of these weekly fishing reports! You can reach me by e-mail, Donald.Miller@wildlife.nh.gov or call me at 603-744-5470. I hope to hear from you, and let’s have some fun out there! – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist
I had an opportunity today to talk fishing with most of the Conservation Officers who patrol the southwestern corner of New Hampshire. They are a great resource for finding out where the hot bite is, so don’t miss the chance to take advantage of their knowledge the next time you see one of them. The following is a review of our discussions:
Warren Lake (Alstead), the Connecticut River (Charlestown), and Rockwood Pond (Fitzwilliam) have all been giving up some good hornpout in the past couple weeks. Some nice smallmouth bass are being caught on Sand Pond (Marlow), Gregg Lake (Antrim), and at Runnell’s Bridge on the Nashua River (Hollis). Anglers have been having good luck on largemouth bass in Warren Lake (Alstead), Lake Massasecum (Bradford), Sportsman’s Pond (Fitzwilliam), and the Connecticut River (Hinsdale). Of note is a nice northern pike that was caught a few days ago in the Connecticut River (Walpole) just below the Bellows Falls Dam and another from downstream of the Vernon Dam (Hinsdale).
I heard reports of some nice trout being caught in some of the deeper pools in the Souhegan River (Milford, Wilton) and also where Beard’s Brook meets the North Branch in Hillsborough. Also in Hillsborough, Emerald Lake has been giving up browns and rainbows to anglers trolling with leadcore line. Some large rainbows are also being caught in Spofford Lake (Chesterfield) and Silver Lake (Harrisville). – Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist
With the heat wave behind us, the coast seems to be cooling down to more seasonal temperatures. Ocean waters were at summer peak temperatures in the low 70’s, keeping striper activity low during the daytime. With the recent heavy rainfall, the Piscataqua River and Great Bay remain quite murky, but should clear out this week with a few clear days.
The striper fishing continues to produce, but at this time of the year, your best bet is to target stripers at night and low light conditions. The dog days of summertime aren't usually the time of year that most Striped Bass anglers dream of, but with a change of tactics you can still locate fish. Last night, I did well fishing for stripers in Little Bay drifting live eels and chunk bait. The two fish that I landed were in the 28-32” range on an outgoing evening tide, fishing rock piles and structure.
A note of caution for when you're out on the water after the overwhelming amount of rainfall we have seen these past few weeks on the Seacoast. The rainfall, combined with the full moon tides experienced last week, has made the river and bay very hazardous to boaters. There is a ton of debris floating up and down the river with every tide that may include trees, partial docks and even, in my case last night, an aluminum drum! So keep your eye out and be cautious, especially when boating and fishing at night.
Bluefish have continued to elude anglers in the seacoast region, but should show up in numbers relatively soon. On my last trip kayaking in Hampton recently, I talked to a few boat fishermen reporting that when reeling in their lines they would occasionally come in with a chunk of their baitfish cleanly cut off. So I don’t think it will be long before their full-fledged arrival!
Party boat operators are out running all-day, half-day and night trips. On the groundfish scene, things are looking pretty good for this time of year. The head boats are reporting good catches of a mixed bag with mostly Cod and Pollock with a few keeper Haddock. For those of you that would like to go fishing, but don’t have the time, try a night trip! These trips are great for the novice or experienced fisherman. Typically these trips stay very close to shore and fish for Striped Bass and Bluefish using chunk or whole herring and mackerel. – Shane Conlin, Marine Biological-Aide
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