SOUTHEAST N.H./MERRIMACK VALLEY FISHING FORECAST - 2008

Angling Heats Up in Southeastern New Hampshire
New Access -- Check out the Cocheco
By Benjamin Nugent, Fisheries Biologist

Lucas Pond parking - 1945
Lucas Pond was apparently the hot spot on opening day in 1945, as illustrated by these photos of fishermen on the pond (below) and the parking lot at the access site.
Lucas Pond

The heritage of fishing is alive and well in the southeastern part of New Hampshire.  Trout ponds (opening on April 26, 2008) have always been popular places on opening day.  Countless anglers of all skill and experience levels are chomping at the bit for another year of open-water fishing, especially after this past winter.  With the countless inches of snowfall we have received this winter, it looks like spring flows will be interesting.  Our culturists and conservation officers will have to use a little finesse this year when timing stocking events.

For those in search of larger brook, brown, and rainbow trout, the Lamprey River (Durham), Exeter Reservoir (Exeter), Berry Brook (Rye), Hot Hole Pond (Loudon) and Winnicut River (Greenland) are just some of the waterbodies that are to be stocked with older fish.  The Lamprey River (Durham), Cocheco River (Dover) and Pleasant Lake (Deerfield) received brown and brook trout in January.  These fish were above and beyond normal stocking targets and should still provide a boost to angler success. 

tiny fishSkip to Suggested Fishing Locations

Check Out the Cocheco
An additional waterbody to be stocked this spring is the Cocheco River in Dover.  A collaborative effort between Fish and Game’s Landowner Relations and Aquatic Education programs, the Great Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited, several entities within the city of Dover, the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation and the Dam Bureau of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services have led to the restoration of public access to the Cocheco River in Dover.  It has been quite some time since this waterbody has been stocked in the spring.  This river has the potential to become a popular fishery for anglers of all methods.  Current regulations in this area provide for a catch-and-release season with the use of a single barbless hook, lure or fly until the fourth Saturday in April.  After that time, the river is open to all legal fishing methods, with a daily trout limit of five fish or five pounds until October 15. 

Timing -- and Temp -- Is Everything
Timing and water temperature is everything in spring fishing for large and smallmouth bass, white and yellow perch, pickerel and pike.  Most of these fish species are waiting for the waters to warm up slightly before they really put their feedbags on.  Early spring fishing for these species requires a great deal of patience, but it can be very rewarding.  Casts followed by very slow retrievals with small, sudden jerks can be just enough to trigger a sluggish fish.  All of these species make up for the lack of eating during their spawning period by becoming relentless predators.  This can be one of the best times to fish for these species.  One of the simplest and most productive methods to target these fish (especially bass, pickerel and pike) after spawning is fishing on the surface.  Using floating lures such as poppers and plugs can be an easy way to determine strikes and cover a lot of ground. 
 
The recently released 2007 trophy fish list (click here to view) had good representation from waterbodies in southeastern New Hampshire.  Anglers registered some of the largest black crappie, chain pickerel, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the state in this region.  Congratulations to those anglers and good luck in 2008 for catching another trophy fish! 

Parents of potential future anglers should keep their eyes on our list of children’s fishing derbies - it is being worked on now and the schedule will be set toward the end of March.  These derbies typically take place from April to June. The list is updated during the season and usually contains several derbies in southeastern New Hampshire.  Derbies are a great opportunity to introduce children to the sport and develop another family activity.

Atlantic salmon brood stock fish will soon be tagged and released.  The spring stocking, which typically takes place in May, is dependant on flow levels.  These fish will soon be the talk of the Pemigewasset and Merrimack rivers.  Trust me, the size of these fish will make you want to triple check your knots!  Popular areas for this fishery in this region include the Sewalls Falls area (Concord) and below the Hooksett Dam.  To see the current forecast for the brood stock salmon, click here.

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Suggested Fishing Locations: Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley
American Shad Merrimack River and Salmon Falls River.
Black Crappie Bear Hill Pond & Spruce Pond (Allenstown), Merrimack River (Franklin to Hooksett), Big Island Pond (Derry), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Pow Wow River (East Kingston), Greenwood Pond & Country Pond (Kingston), Scobie Pond (Londonderry), Pawtuckaway Lake (Nottingham), Arlington Mill Reservoir (Salem), Angle Pond (Sandown), Canobie Lake (Windham), Ayers Pond (Barrington), Bellamy Res. (Madbury), Willand Pond (Somersworth), Turtletown Pond (Concord), Brindle Pond (Barnstead), Wheelwright Pond (Lee), Winkley Pond (Barrington), Contoocook River, and Hoit Road Marsh (Concord).
Bluegill Big Island Pond (Rockingham), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Lamprey River (Deerfield, Northwood), Hood Pond & Beaver Lake (Derry), Scobie Pond & Kendal Pond (Londonderry), Arlington Mill Reservoir (Salem), Cobbetts Pond (Windham), Brindle Pond & Lily Pond (Barnstead), Deer Meadow Pond (Chichester), Horseshoe Pond (Concord), Kimball Pond (Dunbarton), Swain Pond (Barrington), Bellamy Reservoir (Madbury), Contoocook River (Broad Cove), and Crooked Pond (Loudon), and other small warmwater ponds.
Brook Trout (EBT) Suncook River (Barnstead to Pembroke), Baboosic Brook (Merrimack), Archery Pond (Allenstown), Sanborn Brook (Chichester), Little Suncook River (Epsom), Clough Pond (Loudon), Hothole Pond (Loudon,Concord), Soucook River (Loudon,Pembroke), Big Island Pond (Derry), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Exeter River (Sandown to Exeter), Exeter Res. (Exeter), Lamprey River (Deerfield to Durham), Lucas Pond (Northwood), Stonehouse Pond (Barrington), Isinglass River (Barrington, Strafford), Beaver Brook (Derry to Pelham), Winnicut River (N. Hampton to Greenland), Beaver Lake (Derry), Canobie Lake (Salem), Isinglass River (Barrington,Strafford), Big River (Barnstead, Strafford), Catamount Pond (Allenstown), Barbadoes Pond (Madbury), and Berry Brook (Rye).
Brown Trout Suncook River (Barnstead to Pembroke), Beaver Brook (Derry to Pelham), Big Island Pond (Derry), Exeter River (Sandown to Exeter), Lucas Pond (Northwood), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Bow Lake (Strafford), Lamprey River (Deerfield to Durham), Little Suncook River (Barnstead to Pembroke), Little Suncook River (Epsom), Merrimack River (Concord), Soucook River (Epsom to Pembroke), and Pleasant Lake (Deerfield).
Hornpout Hoit Marsh (Concord), Turtletown Pond (Concord), Turkey Pond (Concord), Morril Pond (Canterbury), Harvey Lake (Northwood), Bow Lake (Northwood), Pawtuckaway Lake (Nottingham), Kimball Pond (Dunbarton), Beaver Lake (Derry), Powwow Pond (Kingston), Onway Lake (Raymond), Swains Lake (Barrington), Merrymeeting Marsh (New Durham), Ayers Lake (Barrington), Country Pond (Kingston), Upper & Lower Suncook Lakes (Barnstead), and Arlington Mill Reservoir (Salem).
Carp Merrimack river and Nashua River.
Chain Pickerel Arlington Mills Res. (Salem), Suncook Lake (Barnstead), Lily Pond (Barnstead, Pittsfield), Blake Pond (Pittsfield), Sanborn Pond (Loudon), Heads (Lakins) Pond (Hooksett), Turkey Pond & Turtletown Pond (Concord), Gorham Pond & Kimball Pond (Dunbarton), Deer Meadow Pond (Chichester), Stumpfield Marsh (Hopkinton), Hood Pond (Derry), Jenness Pond (Northwood), Freeses Pond & Shingle Pond (Deerfield), World End Pond (Salem), Kendall Pond (Londonderry), Cobbetts Pond (Windham), Lily Pond (Somersworth), Mendums Pond & Ayers Pond (Barrington), Bellamy Reservoir (Madbury), Pawtuckaway Lake (Nottingham), and Taylor River (Hampton).
Fallfish Numerous medium to larger sized rivers.
Largemouth Bass Brindle Pond & Lougee Pond & Suncook Lake (Barnstead), Lily Pond (Barnstead, Pittsfield), Chestnut Pond & Odiorne Pond (Epsom), Crooked Pond (Loudon), Deer Meadow Pond (Chichester), Gorham Pond & Kimball Pond (Dunbarton), Heads (Lakins) Pond (Hooksett), Horseshoe Pond & Turkey Pond (Big) & Turtletown Pond (Concord), Merrimack River, Morrill Pond (Canterbury), Wild Goose Pond (Pittsfield), Angle Pond (Sandown), Arlington Mill Reservoir (Salem), Beaver Lake (Derry), Big Island Pond (Atkinson, Derry, Hampstead), Canobie Lake & Cobbetts Pond (Windham), Harvey Lake & Jenness Pond (Northwood), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Pawtuckaway Lake (Nottingham), Pow Wow River Pond (East Kingston), Great Pond (Kingtson), Ayers Pond & Mendums Pond & Swain Pond (Barrington), Wheelwright Pond (Lee), Willand Pond (Somersworth), Country Pond (Kingston), Bellamy Reservoir (Madbury), and Turee Pond (Bow).
Northern Pike Massabesic Lake (Auburn) and Powwow Pond (Kingston).
Pumpkinseed Most lakes, ponds and medium to large rivers.
Rainbow Trout Salmon River & Hunkins Pond (Sanbornton), Suncook River/Lake (Barnstead to Chichester), Little Suncook River (Epsom), Clough Pond (Loudon), Hothole Pond (Loudon/Concord), Soucook River (Loudon, Pembroke), Exeter River (Sandown to Exeter), Exeter Res. (Exeter), Winnicut River (N. Hampton to Greenland), Lucas Pond (Northwood), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Big Island Pond (Derry), Beaver Lake (Derry), Lamprey River (Deerfield to Durham), Canobie Lake (Salem), Isinglass River (Barrington,Strafford), Baboosic Brook (Merrimack), Archery Pond (Allenstown), Isinglass River (Barrington, Strafford), Beaver Brook (Derry to Pelham), Bow Lake (Strafford), Beaver Brook (Derry to Pelham), Pleasant Lake (Deerfield), and Willand Pond (Somersworth).
Rock Bass Nashua River and Contoocook River.
Smallmouth Bass Suncook Lake (Barnstead), Hermit Lake (Sanbornton), Merrimack River, Rocky Pond (Loudon, Canterbury), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Big Island Pond & Beaver Lake (Derry), Jenness Pond (Northwood), North River Pond (Northwood, Barrington, Nottingham), Onway Lake (Raymond), Phillips Pond & Angle Pond (Sandown), Sunset Lake (Hampstead), Northwood Lake (Northwood), Pawtuckaway Lake (Nottingham), Arlington Mill Reservoir (Salem), Canobie Lake & Cobbetts Pond (Windham), Country Pond (Kingston, Newton), Greenwood Pond (Kingston), Scobie Pond (Londonderry), Bow Lake (Strafford), Mendums Pond & Ayers Pond (Barrington), Wheelwright Pond (Lee), and Cocheco River (Dover).
Walleye Contoocook Rive and Merrimack River.
White Perch Suncook Lake & Brindle Pond (Barnstead), Gorham Pond (Dunbarton), Eel Pond (Rye), Massabesic Lake (Auburn), Big Island Pond (Derry), Northwood Lake & Harvey Lake (Northwood), Pleasant Lake (Deerfield), Pawtuckaway Lake (Nottingham), Arlington Mill Reservoir (Salem), Bow Lake (Strafford), Wheelwright Pond (Lee), Ayers Pond (Barrington), Willand Pond (Somersworth), Contoocook River, Merrimack River, and Harvey Lake (Northwood).
Yellow Perch Nearly all lakes, ponds and medium to large rivers.

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