N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - September 10, 2009

This week, fish habitat biologist John Magee's annual update on recent habitat restoration and conservation projects in NH.

Purchase your fishing license online (click here!) or from any Fish and Game license agent.

There are still a few spaces left in the Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Intermediate Fly Fishing Workshop on September 25 - 27 at Purity Spring Resort in Madison, N.H. The registration deadline has been extended but time is running out, so don't delay, send in your registration today. A registration form and course description can be found at www.nhbow.com (click here) or call (603) 271-3212. The weekend costs $275, which includes meals, lodging, materials and instruction.

Mark your calendars for the National Hunting and Fishing Day Expo and NH Tour coming Saturday, September 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Visit www.wildnh.com/expotour.

For past fishing reports and all your NH fishing info - Go to main NH Fishing page

FISH STOCKING: Stocking is complete for the season. Check the stocking page (click here) for sites stocked in 2009.

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Fish Habitat - Protection and Restoration
By John Magee, Fish Habitat Biologist

A LOT has happened with the Fish Habitat Program since last fall. Below are some of the things we have been working on.

  • A dramatic improvement to the Souhegan River was made by removing the Merrimack Village Dam in Merrimack. This was the first dam on the Souhegan River, and it blocked all diadromous fish -- such as river herring, American shad, Atlantic salmon, American eel and sea lamprey -- from entering the Souhegan. Now that it has been removed, these fish have access to fourteen miles of spawning and rearing habitat that they have not seen for more than 100 years. Check out a cool time-lapse video of the removal and a few months on the restored river section at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/restoration/projects_programs/crp/damcam.html.
  • The Lake Horace Marsh Restoration Project was completed in December 2008. Lake Horace Marsh used to be mostly drained during the annual fall drawdown of Lake Horace -- no longer. Now the marsh -- and the fish and wildlife there -- can enjoy more natural water levels. The Piscataquog Watershed Association, the Town of Weare, the NH Department of Environmental Services, Fish and Game, and the Russell Piscataquog River Watershed Foundation provided funds to build a water control structure to create a more natural water level regime in the marsh. The benefit of the project was immediately obvious when it was completed. The project is already providing valuable habitat for warmwater fish species and many wildlife species including waterfowl, reptiles and amphibians.
  • The Nash Stream Restoration Project is going very well. In 1969, a dam in the headwaters of the watershed breached, sending a torrent of water that scoured much of Nash Stream to bedrock and removed most of the riparian vegetation -- the stream has still not recovered! Additionally, most of the tributaries, which provide necessary spawning habitat for brook trout, have culverts through which brook trout and other fish cannot swim upstream. As of June 2009, three culverts have been removed and the stream channels restored, two culverts were replaced with crossings that provide fish passage and do not cause erosion (one is a large culvert and the other a bridge), approximately 2,500 feet of instream and riparian habitat restoration has been completed, and final restoration plans have been developed for an additional 15,000 feet of Nash Stream. Instream and riparian restoration work will continue for the next several years, so if you see big yellow machines there, we are actively restoring habitat.
  • In addition to the restoration work, we have continued to conduct ground-breaking research with the US Geological Survey Conte Anadromous Fish Research Laboratory and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. We have learned that wild and hatchery brook trout can be highly migratory in the Nash Stream Watershed (as our Fisheries Biologists, Dianne Timmins and Andrew Schafermeyer also found in the Dead Diamond Watershed) and the persistence of healthy populations appears to depend on the ability of individual fish to move throughout much of the watershed. The stocking of hatchery fish appears to have had no effect on the genetic composition of wild brook trout in the Nash Stream watershed; furthermore, in all of the fish surveys we have conducted, we have never caught a hatchery brook trout that had survived in the watershed for a full year.

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A User-Pay, User-Benefit Program
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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