N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- August 21, 2008
Today, angling enthusiast Mark Beauchesne reports on finding success in cool waters that are keeping the fishing lively in New Hampshire lakes and ponds this summer.
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Productive Fishing on N.H. Ponds and Lakes this August
The forecast is for sunny fishing weather. I don't know about you, but I did not hear that forecast much in the past month. No doubt the recent rain limited the amount of fishing trips I took... of course, "limited," for me, means fewer than two trips a week!
In a typical year, fishing during the month of August (for me) means hitting the rivers. Normally, I would have been on the Merrimack, Connecticut and Contoocook rivers. No way was that happening THIS August; with flows higher than this past spring's runoff, I kept to the lakes and ponds for the most part. ( A river safety advisory was issued on August 14; CLICK HERE to view it.)
Rain is not all bad when it comes to fishing -- it lowered the water temps to nearly early spring levels. Conditions are ideal on many of New Hampshire's trout ponds. Most years, too many folks stop fishing these ponds after July because the water gets too warm. Not so this summer.
Bodies of water like Profile Lake had water temps reading in the upper 50s for mid-August -- unheard of! The word on Profile is there are some BIG brookies being caught from kayaks trolling weighted flies and streamers. I will probably get in trouble for giving up the hot fly. But, hey, I want you to experience this cool fishery. A No. 8 woolly bugger with extra flash is getting the attention of the "breeders" in Profile.
I kayaked Hopkins Pond in Andover this past weekend. This was a sightseeing tour, no fishing. But I did take note of the cool water temperatures and noticed several fish coming to the surface. There are dozens of off-the-beaten-path ponds like Hopkins that are worth exploring by kayak or canoe. Throw in a float tube and the pond is yours.
For a listing of New Hampshire's "remote" ponds, CLICK HERE. This is just a listing -- there are no directions or map coordinates. That part is up to you. But with tools like Google Maps, you will be able to find your way to these gems. Many of them are hike-in only. Be sure you are prepared with proper equipment and physical ability for these hike-in ponds.
Warmwater ponds always fish well in August...add the cooler water temperatures and you have the recipe for a fun time. My local favorite, Turtle Pond, did not disappoint this month. Having this great warmwater fishery just minutes from downtown Concord is so convenient for anyone in the area. This is not the first time I have boasted about this pond. There is a great parking area and plenty of space for some shorebank angling. The last trip out, we managed to boat enough black crappie for a fish fry for both families. We worked the weed edge with the smallest curltail grub I could find. I could not tell you if color made a difference, since we never changed from the olive/brown grub.
Mixed in were a number of nice bluegills -- "nice" meaning 10 inches plus! When pitted against ultralight tackle, bluegills are a challenge. No doubt they pull hard, I'd say as hard as fish twice their size. Turtle Pond is also home to largemouth bass. We managed to hook a few by accident. After a long struggle, I landed one that went 16 inches. Not bad for fishing ultra-light.
Without meaning to sound redundant, there are plenty of ponds around the state that are very much like Turtle Pond. CLICK HERE to check out our lists of suggested fishing locations.
I also managed a few bass-fishing trips to New Hampshire's big lakes this summer. In fact, I almost hit them all. The new launch on Winnisquam is just amazing. I had a slight challenge with the center dock -- I guess it's just getting used to the idea that there is dock on both sides of the boat. After overcoming that, I realized just how well designed this launch is. I love it. In fact, I fished more this past month on Winnisquam than I did in the past three years.
No doubt Lake Winnisquam has some great rainbows and lake trout -- I've seen and hooked them in the winter during ice fishing season. A big surprise for many anglers is the high-quality smallmouth bass in the lake. A good map will get you to the humps and mid-lake structure that hold summertime smallies. We found fish in 8-18 feet of water. On one hump, we hooked fish in water as deep as 23 feet. Personally, I'm not all that crazy about bass fishing in 20 or more feet of water -- but it works when you find them.
Largemouth bass are also found in good numbers on Winnisquam. By the time August comes around, the weed lines are well defined. We found one such weed line in 12 feet of water, with a dropoff to 25 feet running alongside the weed edge. Needless to say, we did not leave this spot all afternoon. We managed a bunch of largemouth -- up to three pounds apiece.
Before I let you off the hook, keep some time open this fall. No doubt the rivers will be fishing better than ever. Think about it, for the major part of the summer the rivers had very little pressure. You will find me in Pittsburg this fall. Cool air and brightly colored brook trout competing with the foliage for artistic bragging rights. It doesn't get any better than that!
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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Researching and managing fisheries and teaching people about aquatic ecosystems are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program. Your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels make a difference to New Hampshire's fisheries. Click here to learn more.
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