N.H. Weekly Fishing Report -- July 30, 2009

This week, coldwater fisheries project leader Dianne Timmins returns to her post with a fresh outlook on fishing, reflecting on her childhood experiences and planning some fishing adventures for her family as her new baby gets older.

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A New Perspective: It's never too soon to plan a child's first fishing adventure
By Dianne Timmins, Fisheries Biologist, Region 1/Lancaster

I remember my mom taking me fishing on Powwow Pond (Kingston) with my brothers. We'd purchase worms and head out for a morning or afternoon of targeting perch, with the bonus being a hefty smallmouth or largemouth bass. I remember my brother Kurt's interest fading the fastest and brother Jay was not big into worms, but I could have stayed all day or night long. If it wasn't for the biplane-sized mosquitoes, I think we would have. We'd also do some fishing on Kingston Lake (Great Pond) and catch sunfish. It has been a long time since I have angled those waterbodies, but rumor has it they still provide good warmwater fisheries.

Now it's my turn to pass on the tradition: I'm a new mom with a fourteen-week-old daughter. In recent months, adult conversation and thoughts of fisheries were not a part of my immediate world.  Two weeks ago, I returned to my work as a fisheries biologist and Coldwater Project Leader for NH Fish and Game.  Now that I am back, I see things in a whole new way...

At home in the evening, when I stare down into my daughter's eyes and she flashes her full-hearted smile, I can't help but think of what it will be like to take her fishing. I will start out as my mom did, with warmwater areas like Burns Lake and Forest Lake, both in Whitefield. There's nothing like sweet success to get a child hooked on fishing. Start by targeting sunfish and then moving into more challenging gamefish like bass, pickerel and pike. Another area to try is Partridge Lake in Littleton, where Fish and Game's most recent netting results indicated populations of both smallmouth and largemouth bass, above-average sized brown bullheads (catfish/horned pout), pickerel, pike and, of course, sunfish.

Then, I'll get my little girl into brook trout fishing, starting with small streams and moving into larger rivers. We can head out to the Ellis River in Jackson -- or any small headwater stream, for that matter. Electrofishing surveys show that Ellis River contains only brook trout in its headwaters. We might start there, where the stream channel is narrow, and target pool habitats.  I'll explain to her the importance of various types of habitats and how each one plays a critical role in a fish's life cycle. She will most likely call me a biology nerd or something, but I will still enjoy explaining what I do for work.

As my daughter gets older, I'll call on my husband to assist in teaching her how to fly-fish. He is the one who taught me, and I am still learning new bits and pieces each time I go. We can then take family trips to the Connecticut River or the Androscoggin. Perhaps we'll head south to the Pemigewasset. The East Branch parallels the Kancamagus Highway. It will be fun to show her all our favorite parts of New Hampshire as she gets older, exploring each lake, river and mountain trail in turn.

All of a sudden, a coo and squeak break my concentration. I look down to a little chubba with eyes full of glee. "Hi there!" I exclaim. "I was just thinking of you."

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