N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- September 4, 2008

In today's report, fisheries biologist Andrew Schafermeyer is thinking ahead -- to the fall and winter fishing opportunities created by stocking of surplus hatchery fish.

The Intermediate Fly Fishing Workshop for women September 26-28 at Purity Spring Resort in Madison, N.H., still has space, so spread the word.  Registration form and course description are at the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman website at www.nhbow.com or call (603) 271-3212.  

Fish and Game's boat ramp on Turtletown Pond (aka Turtle Pond) in Concord, N.H., will be closed for repairs from September 8-30, 2008.   The boat launch will be closed, but the canoe/kayak area and parking will be available on weekends from 4:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday evening.  CLICK for more information.

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.

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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.

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Surplus Hatchery Fish - Stocking now makes for better late-season angling...and ice-fishing this winter
By Andrew Schafermeyer, Fisheries Biologist, Region 1/ Lancaster

      "Fish culture" -- the art and science of cultivating fish -- has made progress in many exciting ways. From nutritional breakthroughs to genetic advancements, the process of raising coldwater fish in New Hampshire is efficient and sound. Like any production involving large numbers, however, calculating and planning is never perfect. An outcome of this mathematical shortfall can be lower-than-expected target numbers... or sometimes, the happy opposite: surplus fish.

      What's considered an acceptable margin of error for us fisheries folks may turn out to be an advantage to anglers. As regularly scheduled stocking concludes in summer, fish culturists, biologists, and Conservation Officers plan for the best use of extra fish. Because it's fall, ice-fishing destinations become great candidates for surplus hatchery-raised fish. Often older, larger, or broodstock fish, these trout can create some exciting opportunities for those anglers looking for late-season trout.

      This type of supplemental stocking has taken place with some regularity at Martin Meadow Pond in Lancaster. Rainbow trout as big as 20 inches have been stocked as late as November, giving the fish plenty of time to acclimate to localized conditions and become a greater challenge. Located easily on Martin Meadow Pond road off of US Rte. 3, the pond offers plenty of parking and access for foot travel.

      Another waterbody that has benefited from fall stocking over recent years is Streeter Pond in Sugar Hill. Found on Streeter Pond Road off of US Rte. 302, this somewhat shallow waterbody can offer some remarkable catch rates for trout.

      Regardless of location, rainbows can be angled for in similar ways. I've found that placing a salmon egg or artificial Power Nugget(R) on a small circle hook with no weight can be effective. I'll look for shallow, sandy water and slowly drop the bait to the bottom. The fish seem to pick up the bait and run short but quick distances. Another location to look for big rainbows is Pearl Lake in Lisbon, located on Savageville Road off US Rt. 302.

      For those anglers who strictly pursue warmwater fish, such as perch and bass, or even those coldwater enthusiasts who live and die by trout, winter can be a great time to broaden your expectations of ice fishing. Why not chase after fish that bring new challenges and opportunities? Yes, I know ice-in is a long way off, but I like to dream about all the time I'll spend on the ice next winter.  Dream with me for a minute -- about setting tip-ups on a waterbody full of pickerel.  That can bring a new level of action to what might otherwise be a slow winter. Whenever I'm challenged to keep a group of kids entertained by ice fishing, I try to find this type of pond and the action is rarely slow. Waterbodies that offer this type of fishery are far too common to list, but looking for small (less than 50 acres), shallow, weedy spots is a safe bet to find hungry pickerel. As you may expect, choosing bait and tactics are not difficult when pursuing this opportunistic predator fish.

      Using the opposite approach, if you find yourself fishing for bass all summer, perhaps targeting lake trout in winter would be a healthy change. These types of fisheries thrive in deep cool lakes with abundant forage such as smelt. New Hampshire offers some awesome lake trout lakes with huge fish (over 10 pounds) and high catch rates. These long-lived fish are actively pursued at Newfound Lake, Lake Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam Lake and First Connecticut Lake. Common approaches include jigging large buck-tailed jigs with or without cut bait attached or placing live suckers on tip-ups.

I'm not trying to rush you... Just encouraging you to make some notes now, and you'll know just where to go in January!

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