Dust off your gear, shake off your cabin fever, and make plans for a North Country adventure
By Andrew T. Schafermeyer, Fisheries Biologist I

As I walk past the Israel River in Lancaster, it is hard to imagine that we’ve had such a dry month. March is typically a time of snow, rain, and mud. 2009, however, has been a little different, with only a slight amount of precipitation of any kind. As the river beside me churns brown and fast, it seems as though it is at the typical levels and temperatures of a wet spring period. It makes one aware of how the water cycle of our northern climate works. Months of snow and cold air temperatures store a vast amount of water that is released as winter turns to spring. Sometimes this happens quickly and is aided by high rainfall totals. The results can be flash events or flooding. Sometimes it occurs much more slowly, as we are seeing now. The river I see today confirms what an effective system it is. Ice is breaking up, flows are at full-bank, and water temperatures are responding to create a healthy environment for fish.

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Ice-free, flowing water has an effect on anglers similar to that which fall foliage and cool mornings have on hunters. In essence, it is a form of anxiety -- a healthy uneasiness that tells us winter is ending and good times are ahead. Snow is melting around the landscape just as it is melting off of my boat cover. Any sense of cabin fever that arrested my mind and soul over the last four months is beginning to loose its grip. As an angler, I dust off my gear and plan my trips. As a biologist, I review stocking schedules, update summer work plans and plan for research opportunities.

Most of the stocked trout in northern waterbodies come from two Fish and Game hatcheries -- one in Berlin and one in Twin Mountain. If you’ve never had a chance to visit these facilities, you should. Both are open to the public at no charge and give you a view into how millions of fish are raised. Fish culturists at both facilities are some of the hardest workers at the Fish and Game Department, maintaining the hatcheries 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When stocking trucks begin to deliver fish to our lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, the hard work becomes clear. Brook, brown, and rainbow trout will be delivered to favorite angling locations and provide exciting opportunities for the entire fishing season.

In May and June, trout fishing in New Hampshire is hard to beat. Temperatures are at their most comfortable level, water levels are healthy, and fish are active and aggressive. As the summer proceeds and water temperatures climb, fishing for coldwater fish like trout and salmon slows down a bit and anglers may be more challenged. Luckily, warmwater fisheries are abundant and offer the same exciting opportunities. If you have never cast a surface plug on a calm pond on an August night anticipating an explosive strike from a largemouth bass, you may be missing out.

As we say goodbye to winter and anticipate long, warm days, I hope everyone considers how lucky we are to be able to fish in northern New Hampshire. It is easy, costs very little, and more opportunity exists than most realize. There is no better way to relax after a stressful day or connect with your family and friends. Make it a great summer.


Suggested Fishing Locations: Great North Woods
American Eel Connecticut River (Woodsville south)
Black Crappie Connecticut River (Lancaster south)
Brook Trout All brooks and major river systems, Androscoggin River, upper Connecticut River, Nash Stream, Clear Stream, Indian Stream, Perry Stream, Mohawk River, Simms Stream, Wild River, designated trout ponds: Little Diamond Pond, Joe Coffin Pond, Back Lake, Profile Lake, Echo Lake, South Pond, Little Bog Pond, Trio Ponds, Munn Pond, Sessions Pond, Big Dummer Pond
Brown Trout Ammonoosuc River (Lisbon/Littleton), upper and lower Connecticut River, Androscoggin River, Mohawk River, Simms Stream, Lake Francis, Christine Lake, Little Dummer Pond, Cedar Pond, Moore Reservoir, Streeter Pond
Brown Bullhead Nearly all lakes, ponds, and medium to large rivers, Androscoggin River, Pontook Reservoir (Androscoggin River)
Chain Pickerel Nearly all lakes, ponds, and medium to large rivers, Connecticut River, Lake Umbagog, Big Cherry Pond, Perch Pond, Ogontz Lake, Partridge Lake, Dodge Pond, Moore Reservoir
Cusk (Burbot) 1st and 2nd Connecticut Lake, South Pond, Upper Ammonoosuc River
Fallfish Androscoggin River, Magalloway River
Lake Trout Big Diamond Pond, Connecticut Lakes, Big Greenough Pond, South Pond
Lake Whitefish Upper Connecticut River
Landlocked Salmon 1st and 2nd Connecticut Lakes, Francis Lake, upper Connecticut River
Largemouth Bass Burns Lake, Mirror Lake, Cedar Pond, Martin Meadow Pond, Forest Lake, Moore Reservoir, Partridge Lake, Nay Pond, Jericho Pond, Dodge Pond
Northern Pike Connecticut River and backwaters, Androscoggin River (Milan south) Dodge Pond, Flag Pond, Jericho Pond, Ogontz Lake, Partridge Lake, Moore Reservoir, Perch Pond
Pumpkinseed Nearly all lakes, ponds, and medium to large rivers.
Rainbow Trout Akers Pond, 3rd Connecticut Lake, Cedar Pond, Martin Meadow Pond, Pearl Lake, Streeter Pond, Mirror Lake, Androscoggin River, Ammonoosuc River, Connecticut River, Moose River, Peabody River, Wild River
Rock Bass Connecticut River, Moore Reservoir, Nay Pond, Partridge Lake
Smallmouth Bass Forest Lake, Lake Umbagog, Moore Reservoir, Back Lake, Cedar Pond, Pontook Reservoir, Mirror Lake, Martin Meadow Pond, Partridge Lake, Nay Pond, Jericho Pond, Androscoggin River, Magalloway River, Connecticut River
Yellow Perch Nearly all lakes, ponds, and medium to large rivers, Connecticut River, Androscoggin River
Walleye Connecticut River (Woodsville south to Mass. border)

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