N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- August 14, 2008

Today, fisheries biologist Don Miller and fisheries pathologist Dr. Joel Bader report from the Lakes Region.

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.

Head for the coast this weekend (August 16-17) for the Celebrate the Bay event, including a kayak race, lobster bake and striper tournament to benefit the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and other organizations working together to protect the estuary.  Visit www.celebratethebay.com.

Click here to sign up to get the Fishing Report in your e-mail each week.

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

Fish stocking is done for the season. CLICK HERE for previous stocking information.

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

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Big Lakes Report
By Donald R. Miller, Region 2 Fisheries Biologist

Summer in the lakes region has certainly been wet.  At Lakeport Dam, the area has received almost 8 inches of rain since August 1!!  Lake levels are well above full pool, with much debris and silt in the lakes.  The lake temperature has dropped 4 degrees in the past week.  The good news: anglers who've been able to get out and fish before the onset of our many thunderstorms have done well on landlocked salmon, rainbows and lake trout.  The thermocline (the water depth where a cool layer below meets a warmer layer above) has set up well, approximately 35 feet down from the surface.  DB and the popular Guide spoons have accounted for the majority of the catches.  My fellow biologist John Viar has done well on Winnipesaukee, using small flies and a jigging box.  If you don't have a jig box, don't despair.  Just pick up that rod and use good old-fashioned arm power to impart the fleeting action on the flies.  Colors, I will leave up to the individual angler, as we all know the fish will hit the lure or fly that is currently tied to your line.  I try to not waste time changing spoons or flies, usually only as a last resort when all else fails.

Our new Fish and Game boat access facility recently opened on Lake Winnisquam and has been well received by the public.  Winnisquam is loaded with lake trout. Troll 6 to 7 colors of lead core with a Sutton or the aforementioned spoons and you will catch trout.  Try to stay in water 60-80 feet deep, as lake trout like to stay near structure.

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Summer Bass Fishing
By Dr. Joel A. Bader, Fisheries Pathologist

Most anglers agree bass fishing is best in the spring and fall seasons. As a tournament bass fisherman, however, summer is one of my favorite times. Fishing in the summer can be slow, but it is always rewarding.

During the last few weeks, I have found surface waters to be very warm during the day in the larger two-tier fishery lakes ("two-tier" is a waterbody that contains both warmwater and coldwater species). The optimal temperatures for the smallmouth bass are between 65-75 degrees F and 75-85 degrees F for largemouth. Waters that contain temperatures around 75-80 degrees F will most likely contain both species.  These temperatures have forced the smallmouth deep. Most of my fish have come from depths from 15 to 30 feet, in areas where I find optimal bass feeding temperatures. They tend to be schooled around rocks piles and hunting in small groups around boulders. Almost always bait schools are present or they have been feeding on crayfish. Fish have been taken with Carolina-rigged lizards, drop-shotted worms, tube jigs and swim jigs. Sinko-type baits and creature baits have also accounted for my early limits.

The warmwater lakes and ponds are higher than normal because of all the rain and the floods. The high water levels have forced the largemouth out of their summer ambush points below weed beds, docks and floating swim platforms (in 10-12 feet of water), up into shallow new habitat, less than 10 feet of water. This new shallow habitat is rich with food and places for hitting baitfish. The flooding has caused a feeding frenzy and a well-delivered bait cast up, almost onto the bank, will account for the majority of your better fish. My best limits have come from fishing Texas-rigged Sinko-type baits, creature baits, topwater frog-baits. A good rule for catching largemouth this season: Floods drive fish up and droughts drive fish down.

If you're doing any bass fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee this summer and you land a tagged fish, don't forget to contact Fish and Game. CLICK HERE to check out the latest on our bass tagging and movement study, with updates including date of release, date of recapture and distance moved.
 

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