N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- July 31, 2008

In today's report, we hear about huge lake trout coming out of Lake Nubanusit and get some savvy advice for bass fishing during the dog days of summer in southwestern N.H.

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Lunker Lake Trout and Bass Action
By Michael Racine/Gabe Gries, Region 4 Fisheries Biologists, Monadnock/Upper Valley Region

Downriggers? Who needs those for lake trout and salmon in the middle of the summer? Apparently not Don LaValley of Swanzey.  On July 9, Don managed to boat a lake trout from Nubanusit Lake that weighed 25 lb. 10 oz., was 39 and 3/4 inches long, and had a girth of 23 and 3/4 inches.  This fish was actually a quarter-inch longer than the state record lake trout, but fell shy in weight by 2 lbs., 14 oz. Don could have had himself the state record if this fish had snacked on a few stocked rainbows before getting caught, but Don was out of luck, as its stomach was empty.  If my memory serves me right from geometry class many years ago, the diameter of this fish is over 7 and 1/2 inches!  Try pulling that through an 8-inch hole ice fishing!  Don tells us he had a couple hundred feet of wire line out trolling - no different in depth than if he had been using downriggers.  We keep scratching our heads at the Region 4 office, wondering how many big fish Nubanusit Lake actually holds.

The landlocked salmon stocking initiative that was started in 2006 at Nubanusit Lake has already produced salmon reaching up to 23 inches this year. We plan on conducting forage fish assessments here this summer, followed by fall netting to assess salmon and rainbow trout growth and survival.  So get out there and try your luck for lakers, salmon and the thousands of rainbow trout stocked annually.  Oh yeah, don't forget about the great smallmouth bass fishing, too.

Lake trout anglers in southwestern New Hampshire have another option for catching big fish.  Silver Lake in Harrisville produced larger-size lakers this past winter than in previous winters.  A lucky angler at the beginning of June landed a 15-lb. 2-oz., 36 and 1/2-inch lake trout from Silver Lake while trolling, and a 13-lb. lake trout was caught in July. Anglers living in southwestern New Hampshire can consider saving some gas and fishing locally.

For anglers wishing to fish smaller waterbodies, the options are plentiful.  Since we are in the "dog days" of summer, let's concentrate on bass lakes/ponds.  Options for big largemouth bass abound all over southwestern New Hampshire.  Locations to target include Warren Lake (Alstead), Highland Lake (Stoddard), Island Pond (Stoddard), Greg Lake (Antrim), Scott Pond (Fitzwilliam), Wilson Pond (Swanzey) and Potanipo Lake (Brookline). 

Don't be afraid to fish thick aquatic vegetation, especially if it is isolated, during the middle of a hot summer day.  Vegetation not only provides cover and shade for big bass, but also draws in smaller fish for the bass to eat.  Keep your boat a safe distance away so you don't spook the fish and flip a jig or softbait to the edge of the vegetation.  You can also do well by using your trolling motor to slowly maneuver towards any small openings in the vegetation and then gently dropping a jig.  This is not for the faint of heart and requires a heavy action rod and line of at least 20-lb test.  If it is too hot out for you during the day, try fishing your favorite bass pond at night.  Headlamps and flashlights are a must for this, and make sure you are very familiar with the waterbody before venturing out after dark.  Try dark-colored spinnerbaits, large rubber worms or topwater lures.

For those who prefer the high-flying antics of smallmouth bass, you won't be disappointed with the options or results.  The Connecticut River, Spofford Lake (Spofford), Pleasant Lake (Francestown), Spofford Lake (Chesterfield) and Sand Pond in Marlow are just a few places to try.  Look to try spinnerbaits and crankbaits on windy days and stick to "finesse" methods when the weather is calm.

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 (352-9669; or reg4@wildlife.nh.gov) if you have any questions. 

For a list of popular water bodies to fish for by species, please consult the "Suggested Fishing Locations for the Monadnock Region/Southwest N.H," which can be found at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/fishing_forecast/Locations_Southwest.htm.

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