N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- May 1, 2008

Happy May Day, everybody.  In today's report, Gabe Gries offers diet advice - that is, advice on keeping track of what fish are eating! - along with favorite trout fishing spots in the Mondanock/Upper Valley region.

The stocking trucks are really rolling now! CLICK HERE for most recent stocking chart.

Note to those who enjoy Pleasant Lake in Deerfield: The Fish and Game boat access facility there will be closed May 5 - 9, to complete work on the boat ramp that could not be done last fall. 

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For past fishing reports and all your NH fishing info, click here to visit Fish and Game's fishing page.

Purchase your fishing license online (CLICK HERE!), or from any Fish and Game license agent.  Why not bring a new fishing buddy on your next trip! Don't forget -- kids under 16 fish free in N.H.

Fish New Hampshire and relax... We have what you're looking for. tiny fish

Bellies Full of Bait
By Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist II, Region 4/Keene

What fish eat is useful and fascinating information for anglers and fisheries biologists alike.  When I keep fish, the first thing I do is open up their belly to see what they've been eating.  This gives me an idea of what a particular species in a waterbody is feeding on at a certain time of year.  Fish diet generally varies by species.  For example, adult walleye mainly consume other fish, while adult brook trout generally feed on insects. 

The diet of a fish changes as the fish grows, varies by time of year, and is usually related to prey abundance.  For example, young bass primarily feed on plankton until they reach a size where they can eat insects -- after which they begin to feed on larger prey items, such as fish, as they continue to grow.  Anglers can better educate themselves about what baits and lures to use by examining the stomach contents of any fish they keep and also by reviewing some websites about fish diet.  For example, go to Google and type in the species of fish you are interested in fishing for followed by the word "diet."  You would be surprised at how much of a better angler you can become by doing a little "off the water" research. 

Speaking of what fish will eat: Please do not discard plastic baits in the water.  Today's plastic baits are usually scented and filled with salt, and are being found with more and more regularity in the bellies of fish.  These baits take a very long time to decompose and can clog a fish's intestines.

Milford Hatchery staff have once again outdone themselves.  The trout this year are big and plump.  Stocking trucks are rolling out to supply your favorite trout streams, lakes and ponds with some gorgeous brook, brown, and rainbow trout.  For trout in the southwest region of the state, I would suggest Swanzey Lake (Swanzey), Center Pond (Nelson), Gilmore Pond (Jaffrey), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield), Ashuelot River (Surry, Gilsum, Marlow), Cold River (Alstead, Walpole), Warren Lake (Alstead), Firehouse Pond (Bow), Frenches Pond (Henniker), Souhegan River (Greenville, Amherst), Contoocook River (Bennington, Hillsboro), Franklin Pierce Lake (Hillsboro), Willard Pond (Antrim; fly fishing only), Silver Lake (Harrisville), Stone Pond (Marlborough), Mont Williams Pond (Weare), and Whittemore Lake (Bennington). 

Walleye fishing in the Connecticut River this spring has been tough, given the high water conditions, but anglers are still catching fish.  Boat anglers have been having more luck than shore anglers, although shore anglers have been doing well at the mouths of rivers such as the Ashuelot, Saxtons, Cold, Black, Mascoma and Sugar.  I have had reports of walleyes up to 29 inches being caught, and I recently talked to a shore angler who had a 24 inch walleye with him that he had just caught.  Fishing should pick up from shore as waters levels decrease.  Continued efforts by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to effectively manage walleye populations in the Connecticut River include a 2008 spring angler survey below the Bellows Falls and Vernon Dams.  Click here for details on the study.

And click here for lots more tips on walleye fishing.

Black crappie, bass, and sunfish fishing should start to pick up at the water temperatures continue to warm.  Some of the best fishing of the year is coming up, so don't miss it.

We hope you enjoy fishing this year in the Monadnock/Upper Valley Region and don't forget to take a kid fishing any time you can! We are always happy to talk to you about fish and fishing, so please contact us at Region 4 (603-352-9669; reg4@wildlife.nh.gov) if you have any questions.


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