N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- July 16, 2009

This week, Marine Division staffer Becky Heuss revs up for the arrival of bluefish along New Hampshire's coast. 

FISH STOCKING: Stocking is complete for the season. Last week, the Pemigewasset River was stocked in Lincoln, Thornton and Woodstock, and Russell Pond was stocked. Check the stocking page (click here) for sites stocked over the course of the season.

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Go for bluefish, and catch some excitement! 
By Becky Heuss, Biological Technician

Some of my fondest memories are of the Atlantic coast and bluefish during the summertime.  Anglers line the rocky shoreline, shouting, "The blues are running!" Schools of bluefish chase baitfish like Atlantic menhaden or "pogies" into the shallows, and the water erupts with excitement.  Each cast brings about another struggle between man and fish.  I remember this scene well, but what sticks out in my mind the most is the smell, days afterward, when "pogies" still baked in the sun, having beached themselves during the feeding frenzy. I have not experienced a bluefish "run" since my youth, but I am still able to recapture the excitement each summer aboard the party boats in New Hampshire.

Toward the middle of July, we feel the anticipation of another bluefish season. Well, guess what? They're here!  Bluefish, like stripers, will follow baitfish up into the coastal rivers, so they may be caught anywhere from off of the Hampton coast to up in the river by Dover Point, and even in Great Bay at times.  Many qualities make bluefish a popular saltwater target. They are a voracious predator and the excitement of a feeding frenzy is hard to match.  They are a schooling fish, so where there is one, there are likely to be many more.  Blues also put up a good fight -- when you reel them in, watch out for their sharp teeth!

Bluefish have long gotten a bad rap by picky eaters, because they really are tastiest when fresh. After you catch them, eat them within 24 hours; they are an oily fish and can taste "fishy" if left for too long. Try marinating them in milk -- I've been told this is a good way to draw out the oils.  There are some that insist the best way to eat a blue is grilled fresh with lemon juice, skin side down to let the oil drip off. They are also good poached, broiled or smoked.

Want to catch some of the excitement but don't have a boat? There are many locations along New Hampshire's coast that are prime real-estate for bluefishing.  Check out the new "Take Me Fishing! Seashore Fishing Guide" -- click here to download (PDF) for some great fishing spots where you can catch bluefish, stripers and other saltwater fish from shore.  If you are looking for a day on the water or want some help for your first time bluefishing, join one of the many party boat companies along New Hampshire's coast. They will supply you with bait and bring you right to the blues. (Party boat info: www.maineharbors.com and www.portsmouthnh.com.)

There is no better way to shake off those rainy day blues than a day out fishing. Get out and make some lasting memories with your kids this summer.

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For more about fishing the New Hampshire coast, don't miss the July-August N.H. Wildlife Journal magazine -- Fish and Game's annual coastal issue -- with articles on striped bass, harvesting Great Bay, and more. Read sample articles and subscribe: click here.

And while you're on the shore, don't miss our Great Bay programs for children and families at the Discovery Center on Depot Road in Greenland/Stratham - click here.


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