N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- May 8, 2008

Fishing in southeast/central NH? Today, fisheries biologist Ben Nugent offers timely angling advice and some suggested locations for you!

FISH STOCKING UNDERWAY! CLICK HERE for most recent stocking chart.

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It's not too late!: Do you know a "wild child" between the ages of 10 and 16? Do we have the camp for you! Barry Conservation Camp in Berlin, NH still has July slots open for the following camp weeks: fishing, shooting sports, hunter ed, and "walk on the wild side." Cost for a full week (Sunday through Friday), including lodging, meals, and equipment, is $400. DEADLINE EXTENDED - REGISTER NOW! For more info or to register, CLICK HERE.

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.

Do you like to eat what you catch? NH's fish consumption guidelines have been updated, with less-strict recommendations on hatchery-grown rainbow and brown trout. Click here for more.

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



Fishing opportunities aplenty in southeast/central New Hampshire
By Ben Nugent, fisheries biologist

father and son at Lucas Pond
This father and son had a good day fishing at Lucas Pond. Below, you can see how the hybrid Tiger Trout got its name!
tiger trout

Anglers in southeastern/central New Hampshire have a lot of decisions to make this time of year -- all of them good!

...Should I hit a trout pond or river for some quality brook, brown and rainbow trout?
...Should I take advantage of the opportunity to catch some quality pre-spawn smallmouth or largemouth bass or panfish? 
...Should I travel up to the Lakes Region and target landlocked salmon and lake trout?
...Should I refine my casting technique in preparation for the Atlantic salmon brood stock?

Trout Ponds
The weather was very cooperative on opening day (April 26) for those who showed up at one of the trout ponds in southeastern New Hampshire.  The size and catch rates of all trout species, including tiger trout, appeared to satisfy anglers fishing from both boat and shore.  Rest assured, there will still be plenty of trout to sustain respectable catch rates for quite some time in these ponds.  Remaining trout will continue to become acclimated to the specific pond environment so more experimentation may be necessary to maintain high catch rates. Visits to Lucas Pond (Northwood), Clough Pond (Loudon), Hot Hole Pond (Concord/Loudon), Barbadoes (Dover/Madbury), Archery Pond (Allenstown), and the Exeter Reservoir (Exeter) revealed a great start to the 2008 fishing season. 

Rivers and Streams
Rivers stocked with trout can be found in all areas of southeastern New Hampshire.  The delay in stocking several rivers and streams (because of anticipated high flows from heavy snowmelt and spring rains) is now over.  Stocking trucks are now on the road every weekday.  Reports from the Lamprey, Soucook, Winnicut, and Exeter rivers as well as Beaver Brook (Derry/Pelham/Windham) indicate good catch rates.  As the season moves along, it is recommended that anglers try less-easily accessed sites where fish may have redistributed.  To help ensure future access, please be respectful of landowners.

Flow and water temperature are approaching ideal conditions for Atlantic salmon brood stock to be released into the Merrimack and lower Pemigewasset rivers.   Because of the higher-than-normal number of fish plan to be released this spring, this year should be a memorable one.  Click here for more information about this program and fishing access sites along the Merrimack and lower Pemigewasset rivers.

Bass, Panfish, Pickerel, Perch, etc.
Several waterbodies in the Merrimack Valley and southeastern New Hampshire are often overlooked when it comes to fishing for these species.  Massabesic, Pawtuckaway, Bow, Big Island Pond, and Northwood lakes are the "tried and true" locations for many bass anglers.  Yet virtually any other waterbody in this area provides the opportunity to catch warmwater fish species. Often the waterbodies less frequently fished can produce more aggressive and larger fish. Get out your map and try sliding a canoe in one of the region's lesser-known waters. 

The window for catching warmwater fish at pre-spawn stages is getting narrower as water temperatures gradually rise.  At this time, yellow perch and chain pickerel have likely finished spawning and current water temperatures and timing are suitable for the white perch spawning.  There's still a little time to target both largemouth and smallmouth bass at prespawning conditions.  Reports of bass nesting in this region are slowly starting to come in.  Try focusing on dropoffs directly adjacent to warmer, shallower water.  Jerkbaits, spinner baits, and crankbaits retrieved at varying speeds should work well.  After a few follows or chases you should get a sense for what speed the bass want. 

Panfish species including black crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and red-breasted sunfish are beginning to move into the shallows and river setbacks to seek out warmer water temperatures and a few meals before spawning.  You should find these species near shorelines exposed to sun.  Downsizing to small poppers and a variety of swim baits with ultra-light gear can bring a new respect for the strength of these smaller fish. 

New Opportunities in Southeastern New Hampshire
A collaborative effort between Fish and Game's Landowner Relations and Aquatic Education programs, the Great Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited, several entities within the city of Dover, the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation and the Dam Bureau of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services have led to the restoration of public access to the Cocheco River in Dover.  It has been quite some time since this waterbody has been stocked in the spring.  This river has the potential to become a popular fishery for anglers.  Although this river is in close proximity to urbanized areas, the forested landscape provides the backdrop for a natural experience.  This spring, the Cocheco River will receive both brook trout and rainbow trout, which will go nicely with the quality-sized brood stock brown trout that went into the river in January. 

Meadow Lake in Northwood is also slated to be stocked with rainbow trout this spring.  This waterbody has ideal access for small children and disabled anglers.  The rainbow trout along with the fish species already present in this waterbody should provide for plenty of action to keep everyone busy throughout the day.  Meadow Lake is inside Northwood Meadows State Park (no fee).

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For information on where to find a particular fish species, click here.

Parents and grandparents of potential future anglers should view our list of kids' fishing derbies (click here).  These derbies typically take place from April to June. The list is updated during the season and usually contains several derbies in southeastern New Hampshire.  Derbies are a great opportunity to introduce children to the sport and develop another family activity.

<Go to the main N.H. Fishing page>


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