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      Matt Carpenter: 603- 271-2612
      Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
      May 12, 2011

Brood stock salmon being tagged
Fisheries Biologist Andrew Schafermeyer and a young volunteer hold a broodstock Atlantic salmon being tagged for release this spring.
MEDIA: For hi-res photo, click on image above (large file).

Catch the King -- Broodstock Salmon Anglers Are Ready for Action this Spring

CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has some good news for anglers setting their sights on "catching the King" of fish this spring.  Atlantic salmon broodstock numbers are back up to normal after a temporary decrease in numbers last year. More than 750 broodstock salmon will be released this spring.  High water has delayed stocking a bit, but fish will start going in soon, with the first round going in at Bristol by the weekend of May 14.  The fish will be spread between stocking sites beginning in Bristol and working south to Franklin, Concord and Hooksett, N.H.  Fish and Game stocks brood stock Atlantic salmon each spring and fall, giving New Hampshire the only managed Atlantic salmon river fishery in New England.

“Fifteen to 18 pound salmon are not uncommon this year.” said Matt Carpenter, a fisheries biologist with N.H. Fish and Game.  “Dave Riel, manager of the Warren Hatchery, said that these fish are the biggest he has seen in years.  Aside from the giants, there are enough medium-sized fish mixed in that will be a little easier to land without breaking your line.”

To fish for brood stock salmon, anglers need a current New Hampshire fishing license and an $11 brood stock salmon permit.  Both can be purchased online at or from Fish and Game license agents statewide.  Only salmon marked by Fish and Game with a T-bar anchor at the base of the dorsal fin may be kept, and the bag limit is 1 per day and 5 total for the season.  For more information on New Hampshire’s brood stock salmon fishery, including an access map, visit

"Spring is when we stock the robust 3- and 4-year-old salmon, as opposed to the two-year-olds stocked in the fall," said Carpenter.  "Salmon are not ready to produce eggs until they are at least three years old.  In the fall, we stock extra fish that will not be needed to provide eggs for the program.  In the spring, we stock extra fish that have already spawned the previous fall."   

Flows are finally dropping after an early spring that saw a lot of heavy rain on a deep mountain snowpack.  "The falling water levels should make for some good brood stock fishing, as long as there isn't any major rainfall," said Carpenter.  Heavy rains or rapidly warming water temperatures can put a sudden end to the season, as fish quickly move downstream.

You can watch a short video about brood stock salmon fishing on the Merrimack at

Brood stock anglers are encouraged to report their experiences to Fish and Game by contacting Matt Carpenter at 603-271-2612 or

The big fish stocked in the brood stock salmon program have completed their maternal duty producing the fry (young salmon) used in the Atlantic salmon restoration program, a partnership between the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Purchase of brood stock salmon permits helps support this cooperative state-federal restoration effort, along with a number of other fish conservation projects. The program is also supported through federal funds from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program.

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