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NH Fishing Report - June 18, 2015

Take Me Fishing!

Greetings, anglers!

Happy Father’s Day! Give your dad or grandfather a memorable Father’s Day this year - take him fishing!  Fishing is a great way to slow down and celebrate. Have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

NORTH COUNTRY

Brook Trout

Brook Trout

It is no coincidence that fish tanks are often found in doctor or dentist’s offices. The fluid-like motion of fish swimming is proven to be relaxing and therapeutic. Watching a goldfish glide between green, plastic plants may actually calm and prepare a patient for whatever medical procedure awaits them. This theory bounced around my brain last week as I stood on a bridge above the Upper Ammonoosuc River and watched brook trout dart around. Often they schooled up, but some fish were swimming alone, their slim bodies moving in a wave to keep them in a constant spot. Before standing on that bridge, my goal was to fish and I still held my fly rod as I gazed down into the river. In a mood that may be described as the opposite of buck fever (when enthusiasm and excitement make hunters spastic and shaky) I settled into a calm that almost completely overrode my urge to cast at these fish. After all, if the ultimate goal of angling is contact with a fish, I was accomplishing that and more by simply watching them. In fact, I had established contact with four or five fish at a time. Eventually, I walked off of the bridge and into the water. Even though I knew where a few fish were holding, I only managed to convince one to strike and I didn’t hook him well –he was off in three seconds.

 

If presented with the opportunity to watch fish swim, I highly recommend it. If you seek a greater connection, I can suggest some locations in Northern New Hampshire that are fishing very well in mid-June. The Ammonoosuc River from Bretton Woods to Twin Mountain is one such location. Water levels are high and temperatures are cool. Trout are holding in almost every type of water you’d expect them to. After speaking with a gentleman on the phone last week, I learned that a prince nymph can be very successful when drifting fast water. He told me that this bead-head fly had just the right weight to sink and drift slowly creating a very lifelike presentation. He caught five or six fish on the same fly and, at the end of the day, he stuck the mangled prince in the rim of his hat. He explained this area to be a wall of fame of sorts for successful flies.

 

This same type of action has been reported to me in the Israel River, the Peabody River, and Chickwolnepy Stream. Believe it or not, summer is fast approaching and these areas will not fish as well in July and August. Now is the time to fish these trout streams. In a month or so, we will start thinking about bass fishing and these opportunities will be past.

 

Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist


 

LAKES REGION

The big lakes have seen a ton of rain the last few days and the water is a bit cloudy. Rainbow trout fishing has been good, especially Lake Winnipesaukee. Fish are anywhere from surface (at early light) down to the 20-25 foot depths. Landlocked salmon are in the same depth zone, even a bit deeper, 30-35 feet. I still like to fish with a sinking fly line (trolling line 50 yards long) and this gets my flies down 20 feet. I use a 20 foot leader with a small barrel swivel 5 feet in front of the fly. I just hate to switch over to lead core and downriggers, but that time is coming soon.


Rivers and streams are still being stocked in the White Mountains, and flows are great for this time of year. Ditto for trout ponds. They are producing well right now, with a number of hatches occurring, mostly mayflies, but I have seen black caddis starting to appear on Lake Winnisquam recently. Speaking of Winnisquam, I “ran into” a school of adult herring (alewives) this past weekend, as I was snorkeling by my camp. Quite a sight to see, about 30 herring, moving in synchrony, 10-12 inches long! They are the adults that fellow biologist’s Matt Carpenter and Ben Nugent recently stocked in the lake. Now I just have to wait until the juveniles are big enough to become prey for salmon and rainbow trout! These post-spawn fish are preparing to head back down to the ocean via the Winnipesaukee and Merrimack Rivers along with their offspring.


Smallmouth bass are generally off their nests now. While they might not be at the nest, if they haven’t been caught, they are generally in the area guarding the black fry. I try to fish away from nests even if a bass is not apparent.


I’ve enjoyed writing fish reports these many years, and after 38 years with New Hampshire Fish and Game, I’ll be hanging up my work hat for good next week and going fishing!

 

- Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologists


 

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

I received a couple emails this past week from some happy trout anglers. Both commented on the high quality of the rainbow trout they were catching this year at Willard Pond (Antrim) and the upper Ashuelot River. Silver Lake (Harrisville) continues to give up some nice rainbows as it has for most of the spring.

Conservation Officers on patrol on the Connecticut River over the weekend reported anglers were doing well for bass, and especially walleye. I also talked with anglers who were catching channel catfish up to 10 pounds in the Connecticut River below the Vernon and Bellows Falls Dams over the past week, as well as some big bullhead.

 

Some big smallmouth bass have been caught in Stone Pond (Marlborough) this year. This is a pond I hope to cross off my fishing list this summer. About half the pond is 20 feet or deeper, offering some great habitat for big smallmouth in summer and for anglers who like to fish drop-shot rigs and other deep water techniques.

 

It is with great sadness that I convey the recent passing of an exceptional person and angler. Forest Woodruff, 59, of Jamaica, VT, passed away while on a fishing trip off the coast of Maine on June 4. Forest excelled in catching all types of marine and freshwater fish, and he enjoyed fishing in bass tournaments. However, he was best known for his love and skill at catching walleye in the Connecticut River, which is how I met him. From the Wilder Dam to the Massachusetts border, almost everyone who spent anytime fishing in the Connecticut River had heard of or met Forest. During spring and fall, he practically lived on that river. I have never met an angler who was more generous about sharing his fishing tactics, experiences, “secret” spots, and his love of fishing. The river will not be the same without him.

 

- Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist


 

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

It can difficult to write about one particular waterbody or species during this time of year because there are so many good options. Water temperatures are still cool enough for early morning and evening surface action for trout and we're starting to see the post-spawn action pick up for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Recent fishing trips targeting smallmouth and/or largemouth bass including Northwood Lake, Bow Lake, and several smaller lakes in the central and southern parts of the state have resulted in respectful catch rates and some quality-sized fish. Soft plastics, either Carolina or wacky rigged, fished with patience and tight to shore have been effective. Topwater fishing continues to be effective throughout the day, but particularly when the sun begins to set or right at dawn.

 

The insect activity at this time of year can make fishing for trout challenging but interesting when trying to mimic their moves to entice fish. With all the forage sources in the water, these fish can afford to be finicky. Because of this, a slightly lower catch rate now may be compensated with larger fish in the near future. One of the football-shaped rainbows I caught casting at the Cocheco River in Dover was coughing up a steady supply of mayfly nymphs.

 

The Atlantic salmon broodstock have been out for over a month and some anglers reported multi-fish days. The action for these fish appears to be slowing but there should be ample fish remaining to provide a good chance of catching one. Warming river temperatures mean limiting dry fly action to dusk and dawn and subsurface tactics for most of the day. These fish may begin to nose into cooler tributaries that enter the Merrimack River to find thermal refuge (cooler water). Good days have been reported at Sewalls Falls in Concord, downstream of the Eastman Falls in Franklin, and at the mouth of the Contoocook River in Penacook.

 

Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist


 

SEACOAST AREA

Winter flounder and striped bass! It finally happened; anglers are catching flounder and stripers all along the coast. Flounder fishing is hot in Seabrook, inside the harbor and up into the tributaries, the bite is especially good just before peak high tide. Schoolie stripers are hitting in the Piscataqua and back channel. There are a few great fly fishing spots in the area, one is at Goat Island along Route 1B between Portsmouth and New Castle, there is a car-top access site here as well. Another spot is the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion which gives you access to an expanse of sandy flats at low tide. Hampton Harbor has given up a few good catches as well. The Merrimack River is teaming with stripers; let’s hope they continue on northward! If you try for stripers, don't forget to report your trip on our striper survey page at www.fishnh.com/surveys/striped-bass.html.

- Becky Heuss, Marine Fisheries Biologist

 

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