N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- May 15, 2008

In today's report, biologist Andy Schafermeyer reviews fisheries research taking place in the North Country this season.

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

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Brood stock salmon fans take note: Fish and Game is planning to release more than 1,500 Atlantic salmon into the Pemigewasset and Merrimack Rivers in the next several weeks -- three times the number of fish that were released last year, ranging in weight from 2 to 18 pounds apiece! Click here for info.

Last call for campers age 10-16: Barry Conservation Camp in Berlin, NH still has a handful of slots open for the "aquatic adventures" week, July 6-11. Cost for the week (Sunday through Friday), including lodging, meals, and equipment, is $400. 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.

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

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Cool waters - Best time for trout fishing
By Andrew Schafermeyer, Fisheries Biologist, Region 1/Lancaster

Even biologists get cabin fever. As beautiful as winter can be in Northern New Hampshire, with miles of snowmobile trails and acres of ice-covered ponds to fish, spring is always a welcome sight. With the month of April comes a new field season. Work plans have been solidified and some exciting projects are underway -- all designed to provide an awesome fishing season.

Once ice started receding from lakes and ponds, our stocking trucks began rolling out of New Hampshire's hatcheries with loads of brook, brown and rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon. Hatchery personnel spent the long winter raising healthy and robust fish destined for our thousands of lakes, ponds and rivers. I often remind people that May is the best month for trout fishing in New Hampshire. Conditions are perfect and trout densities are never higher. As spring turns into summer, water temperatures rise to a point that trout become less aggressive. In addition to seeing more angling pressure, oxygen levels also slowly decrease. These variables support my point that early season fishing for coldwater fish will provide higher catch rates and a more satisfying experience. How about planning a trip to your favorite trout pond this weekend?

A stretch of very warm weather covered the North Country in late April. This was nature's way of cleaning up the tremendous snow pack and thick ice. The result was average ice-out dates on most of our ponds. On Partridge Lake in Littleton, the ice disappeared on April 22 and I quickly set some nets targeting spawning Northern pike. The water temperatures were in the mid-40s and I hoped to sample some of the ferocious predators as they entered shallow water to deposit their eggs. As fish enter predictable life stages like this, good anglers take note. Once pike are located, the battle of wits is half over. Throw a spoon, jerkbait, spinnerbait, or almost anything at the feeding machines, and you will get a strike.

In an effort to document movements and seasonal patterns of brook trout, two major projects have begun in local waterbodies. Small tags have been placed in 2- to 3-inch wild brook trout and will be monitored by stationary antennas on tributary culverts in the Nash Stream watershed. This will allow us to easily determine, with far more certainty than ever before, whether or not fish can pass certain obstructions. Also being radio-tagged this year are yearling hatchery fish as we try to determine exactly what they do after they are stocked. Information gathered from this Nash Stream study will benefit scientists and anglers in far-reaching ways.

In addition to the Nash Stream study, non-stocked brook trout will also be radio tagged in the Dead Diamond watershed, completing a 3-year study on habitat preference and seasonal migration. This area is unique in that several large rivers intertwine through large lake habitat, resulting in trout behavior that can be quite specialized. This information becomes valuable as we try to protect this fishery during critical times of their lifecycles. Again, information gathered will have tremendous application in the effort to maximize angling opportunities in New Hampshire.

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