GREAT NORTH WOODS FISHING FORECAST - 2008
North Country Fishing – Get Adventurous!
The 2007 field season has come and gone for North Country biologists, and we are just now beginning to analyze our data and write reports on what we’ve learned. Two major projects occupied much of our time and have come with some fascinating results. Both studies involved following fish as they search for preferred habitat in rivers and streams through Coos County. The implications of these projects show great potential for fish management programs and to fishermen. Understanding how and when trout move through a watershed can be the difference between an average angler and one who never misses and makes the most of every opportunity.
Our first project was completing the final year of a three-year study of adult brook trout movements in the Dead Diamond and Magalloway Rivers in North Eastern New Hampshire. Fish greater than 10 inches were surgically implanted with radio telemetry tags and released to be tracked for a complete seasonal cycle.
Results of this study have been both surprising and somewhat predictable. For example, in years of low flow and high water temperatures, fish move out of the impacted system. Travelling both upstream and downstream, trout seem to know where to go to find suitable habitat. This may seem like common knowledge to seasoned anglers but to many, it can provide a good strategy for fishing in 2008. If you find yourself in a particular piece of water without success, fish have probably moved somewhere else. Even if it is a favorite spot and you’ve had years of great success, don’t get discouraged –find another place to fish. Ask yourself why the fish aren’t present and look for water with conditions they should favor.
Another 2007 project involved tagging smaller fish in the Nash Stream watershed and recording their movements as they passed through antennas placed in culverts and bridges. We found that a determined fish is always going to make it to better habitat. As the mainstem of Nash warmed fish sought refuge in the cooler, high altitude drainages. Electrofishing data showed that even large hatchery fish will navigate small streams to meet requirements for survival. As we head into August, it may be a good idea to grab that ultra-light five foot rod and hike up into these tributaries. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to catch a nine-inch fish out of a two-foot pool!
In summary, try to make your 2008 fishing season an adventurous one. Whether you are looking for warm or coldwater fish, keep looking for better water, and you’ll surely find the fish. It may be difficult to leave a favorite spot, but you’ll surely learn about new ones. The cyclical nature of New Hampshire’s climate can guarantee that fishing rarely slows down permanently in a specific waterbody. Some years just offer better conditions than others.
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