N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- May 29, 2008

This week, fisheries biologist Gabe Gries recounts the recent Southwest NH adventures of his fanatical fishing friend, Jean Goodell.

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Vicarious Fishing: The Angling Adventures of Jean
By Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist II, Region 4/Keene

Since the beginning of turkey season, I've been trout fishing vicariously through my friend Jean Goodell.  While it took me three weeks to get my bird, Jean was lucky enough to get a 19-lb. tom on opening day.  I say lucky, but Jean put countless miles on his truck prior to turkey season scouting birds in many towns.  His goal, as the seasons roll by, is to eventually get a turkey in every town in Cheshire County (he is halfway there), but that is a story for another day.  Since getting his turkey, Jean has been concentrating on trout fishing and calling me each night with all the details. 

Jean doesn't give up when it comes to fishing, and will get up at 4 a.m. just to be able to get a few hours in before a long day of work.  He also spends a great deal of time introducing local kids of relatives and friends to fishing.  It's hard to keep track of all the places he has fished so far this year, but I will try to give you a summary of where he has been and what he has caught.  With a little luck and persistence, you may be able to garner some of his success.  I'll be out there trying, too.

Jean G - Dublin Lake
Above - Jean's brookies from Dublin Lake; he also pulled a nice, big 20-inch rainbow trout out of Granite Lake, below.
Jean G - Granite Lake

Jean always takes his wife, Kim, to Center Pond in Nelson for opening day of trout season.  Center Pond is a beautiful, undeveloped trout pond on which motorboats are not allowed.  It is only 37 acres in size and in addition to brown, rainbow and brook trout, it has a pretty decent largemouth bass population.  Jean typically trolls this pond with streamers using a rowboat and oars -- and if that doesn't work, he will fish crawlers or Power Bait just off the bottom.  They had a tough opening day this year, but managed to catch a couple of recently stocked trout.

Jean's next challenge was Dublin Lake in Dublin.  Dublin Lake is well-known for big brook trout and tough fishing due to deep water and an abundant rainbow smelt and crayfish population.  Those odds didn't dampen Jean's enthusiasm and by trolling a DB Smelt, he ended up catching about a dozen brook trout and went home with his three fish limit.  Upon examining Jean's trout (of course, he had to call me so I could come over to see his latest catch), I noticed the fins that were clipped at the hatchery on each trout, allowing me to tell what year and season they had been stocked.  The larger trout had been stocked in the fall of 2007, while the smaller two had been stocked this spring, affirming the success of our fall stocking program in Dublin Lake.

Granite Lake in Stoddard, another lake trout/salmon lake was next.  Jean and a friend had an incredible afternoon and evening landing about 20 rainbow trout, the biggest of which was a 3.2-lb, 20" rainbow.  A silver and blue Flash-King Wobbler was the lure of choice and all fish came by trolling about 100 feet off the shoreline. 

Willard Lake in Antrim was next on the list.  This is an undeveloped fly-fishing-only pond, 97 acres in size, and gas motors are prohibited.  It is stocked with brook trout, rainbow trout and tiger trout (a cross between a brook and brown trout).  It is a wonderful place to fish -- loons and other wildlife sightings enhance the experience.  Jean had to rely on the picturesque setting to keep him content that day; although he saw lots of fish rising, he got skunked.

Laurel Lake in Fitzwilliam receives brown and rainbow trout and is usually a sure bet for some nice trout in the spring and early summer.  Jean, however, must have been there on an off day.  He trolled for about three hours without a hit and then managed two rainbows as he trolled his way back to the boat launch.

Jean then decided he wanted the challenge of bigger water, so off he went to Nubanusit Lake in Hancock/Nelson early one morning before work.  The fish didn't seem to mind the chill of the early morning air, and Jean was able to land two nice rainbow trout and a 16" landlocked salmon.  A DB Smelt and a Gray Ghost streamer were the hot tackle that day.  Nubanusit Lake is large for southwestern NH (715 acres) and is a lake trout/salmon lake that contains lake trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. 

Swanzey Lake in Swanzey is a trout pond that is stocked with rainbow and brook trout.  It generally produces some big rainbow trout in early May, but after trying just about every lure and fly he had, Jean had to resort to Power Bait on the bottom to catch a couple rainbows before calling it a day.

In addition to lakes and ponds, Jean typically fishes several trout streams each week.  One of his favorite places to go in the early morning is the South Branch Ashuelot River in Swanzey.  The section he fishes is a fly-fishing-only section with a two-trout limit.  This area receives a healthy dose of brown trout each year and also offers the opportunity for some wild brook trout as well.  It is a beautiful section of stream and is highly underutilized.  Jean also spent some time this last month on the Ashuelot River in Winchester catching good numbers of rainbow and brown trout.  The Ashuelot is a big river in this section and is a great location for throwing a spinner or casting a fly.  Jean also made his way north to the Cold River in Alstead and managed a few nice trout there as well. 

Jean's next trip will be Stone Pond in Marlborough for a crack at some nice brook trout.  Wish him luck!

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We hope you enjoy fishing this year in the Monadnock/Upper Valley Region and don't forget to take a kid fishing anytime 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.  Click here for a list of popular waterbodies to fish for by species in the Suggested Fishing Locations for the Monadnock Region/Southwest N.H.
 

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