NH Weekly Fishing Report - August 8, 2013

Greetings, anglers. As reported last week, stocking is complete for the year, with more than a million catchable-sized trout distributed to lakes, ponds, rivers and streams throughout the state since this spring. In this week's report, the salmon are hitting in the big lakes, Gabe continues his quest to get the big catfish to bite in the Connecticut, and bluefish are teasing coastal anglers.

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

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LAKES REGION

The big lakes have seen a slight temperature decrease, down to 71 degrees on Lake Winnipesaukee, from a high reading of 78 degrees.  Recent cold fronts bringing Canadian air to the region are responsible for this temperature decrease. 

We have finally begun our big lake smelt surveys aboard the newly refitted research vessel Forager on Lake Winnipesaukee.  A hearty thank you goes out to our master Fish and Game mechanic Bruce Ordway for the work he has completed on the Forager, which includes a new, re-conditioned engine, and to Executive Director Glenn Normandeau for his expertise on the installation of exhaust tubes. 

Our first surveys have revealed excellent smelt populations in the areas of Governors Island and especially in the “triangle area” of Welch, Sandy and Diamond Islands, where the bulk of the current trolling activity is taking place.  Trawl samples have consisted exclusively of YOY (young-of-the-year) smelt.  The thermocline in this area is approximately 35 feet deep, and below this level is where the night-time feeding activity of the smelt is occurring.  We even captured a 2-year-old salmon in our trawl net, approximately 15 inches long!  This does not happen frequently, as the salmon and rainbows can easily avoid the slow-moving trawl.  We also observed numerous Hexagenia mayflies during these surveys.  Our big lake smelt surveys will continue into mid-September.  Salmon fishing is hot right now on Winnipesaukee, so please enjoy this fishery responsibly.

I am pleased to report that I have received several responses from anglers with some excellent reports of area fishing success.  Chris related to me of his success on Lake Winnipesaukee rainbows in the Wolfeboro area of the lake, in addition to some smallmouth bass in fairly deep water.  Charlie hasn’t had much luck on the Pemigewasset River in the Bristol/New Hampton area fishing dropper nymphs.  This area has a broad array of species, as Charlie found out, with a couple of fallfish hitting his flies.  The stream temperature is quite high now, and needs to drop before the trout will respond.

My good friend Don had an excellent time in a White Mountain trout pond recently; he and his friend Ron caught some nice brook trout in the deeper waters.  Phil has had some mixed success on native brook trout in the northern streams – hot one day, cold the next.  Isn’t that what fishing is all about? Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their reports, it is great to hear from all of you. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

I wanted to give an update on my quest for channel catfish in the Connecticut River.  Thus far, I have been targeting deep holes and. while I have been getting some small channel cats, I have yet to hook up with anything over 14 inches.  It is going to be a blast to finally catch a big one, as the smaller cats fight pretty well.  I have been experimenting with cut bait and night crawlers, as well as trying to lure them in with chum. 

Despite the lack of bigger channel cats, I have been having a lot of fun catching non-target pike, walleye, rock bass and sunfish.  A couple American eels were an interesting bonus, as well.

Trying out a fishery that is new to you is always a bit frustrating at first.  As anyone should do, I have been reading as many catfish articles as I can and also talking to anglers who are more experienced than I am with this species.  I am going to keep trying over the coming weeks, experimenting with some different areas, and I am also going to try some night fishing. – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

SEACOAST AREA

The bluefish have been teasing us for a couple of weeks now. This past weekend, I was at the mouth of the Merrimack with some striper fishermen. They were doing well using clams, but anytime a hooked mackerel went in the water, the bluefish would bite off the tail. Despite this, only a couple of bluefish were actually caught. This seems like a common theme in all of the stories I hear lately about this fish; they are here but not in any numbers. Snapper blues are in the bay and can be caught using small jigs or Sabiki rigs. The snappers have been quite prevalent the last few years, hanging around in the river and the bay. They aren’t much of a meal, but they are fun to catch. – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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