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NH Fishing Report - August 28, 2015

Take Me Fishing!

Greetings, anglers!

Not much summer left but still lots of fishing opportunities to be had!  Time to get in that coastal excursion you’ve been talking about or that float trip down the Connecticut River.  The fish are waiting for you!

 

NORTH COUNTRY

As I sat down to write this week’s fishing report, I asked myself “What exactly does late August fishing provide?”  I always try to report on opportunities relevant to the time of year, so I wondered what we can expect right now. I quickly realized that we can explore tons of fishing in August. The water in some places is low and, in others it is very warm, but opportunities abound. Regardless of how you like to fish or what you like to catch, you can walk into any situation right now and satisfy your urge to catch fish.

 

An old friend of mine visited northern New Hampshire and I sent him to a few of my favorite remote trout ponds. He likes to hike in with a float tube and cast a 2-weight fly rod at rising brook trout. He was very successful and would be upset with me if I gave away any of his secrets but most of the fish he caught were on elk hair caddis flies. The natural bug selection was slight, he told me, but skating dry flies slowly across calm water often triggered a strike. It is important to remember that most of these waterbodies are either not stocked or aerially stocked with fingerlings and the way one defines a “trophy fish” must be reevaluated. My friend landed many fish with a few exceeding ten inches and he went home a happy man.

 

Another gentleman stopped by my office with a few questions and let me know how good the bass fishing has been. He had been fishing Martin Meadow Pond in Lancaster and Forest Lake and Mirror Lake, both in Whitefield. He mentioned that water levels are higher now than last year at this time and he had great success casting small spinner baits through/near aquatic vegetation. He picked up smallmouth, largemouth and the occasional pickerel. Water temperatures were in the low seventies and he expects the fast action to last another few weeks.

Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist


 

LAKES REGION

Just a brief report this week folks.  We have nearly completed our annual pelagic forage fish surveys on the “large lakes” that we manage for salmon and lake trout.  These surveys are done after the sun goes down using mobile hydroacoustic equipment (a high-end fishfinder if you will).  We are able to measure forage (primarily rainbow smelt) abundance this way which helps us “fine tune” our management of salmon and lake trout.  Pending detailed analysis of the data, it appears to be an “above average” year for smelt populations.

- John Viar, Regional Fisheries Biologist


 

MONADNOCK/UPPER VALLEY

Been a slow couple of weeks down in the Keene region as far as fishing reports go.  Just like the fish sometimes, anglers can be ‘tight-lipped” about what’s biting.  Drop me line (pun intended!) at gabriel.gries@wildlife.nh.gov to let me know how you are doing.  Tight lines!

- Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist


 

SOUTHEAST NH/MERRIMACK VALLEY

fishingThe downstream migration of juvenile river herring (alewives and blueback herring) leaving Lake Winnisquam has begun. These fish, the progeny of adults stocked earlier in May, will make their way down the Winnipesaukee River into the Merrimack River and ultimately to sea from now until early November. Similar to fishing for striped bass by imitating silversides, Atlantic herring, menhaden, and other saltwater baitfish species, anglers can use this once naturally occurring exodus to their advantage while targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass (and other predator fish) in the Merrimack River.

 

Already, we’ve seen large congregations of impressively sized bass in areas where the herring are either funneled through or locations in the rivers where they take a break to feed. Extra attention should be placed around these staging areas, for example, within impounded areas (upstream of the Garvin Falls, Hooksett, and Amoskeag dams), below these dams, and in the backwater/oxbow sections of the Merrimack (across the river from the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord). Also, be sure to look for bird activity for signs of large congregations of outwardly moving river herring. Actively feeding gulls, herons, mergansers, and cormorants in the rivers from now through fall are a good indication that a school of river herring is moving through.

 

A school of river herring is fairly easy to identify. The size of the school can range from a few hundred to numbers in the thousands. Usually, they appear to be in no hurry, leisurely feeding, following one another. If something spooks part of the school, the entire groups reacts with an erratic change in direction. During the day, the school is likely very close to some form of protective cover or in deeper water. At dawn and dusk they tend to break away from the school and feed on the surface. This can often have the effect of what looks like rainfall on the water surface.

 

Anglers should attempt to use tackle that mimics the appearance of river herring, since both largemouth and smallmouth bass have been conditioned to be aware of their migration. The juvenile river herring can vary in length between three to five inches long, have very large eyes and a well-defined forked tail (see a photo at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/profiles/alewife.html). They have an extremely compressed body shape, which gives the appearance of a very flat fish when looking downward on them. They often turn on their sides while feeding, revealing a shiny bright white or flashy coloration when reflected by sunlight. While upright, herring appear to be very dark or olive in color. Several lures, spoons, and streamers can resemble this appearance.

 

It’s likely that you already have something in your tackle bag or fly box that would work. Several options are also available which are designed to target striped bass feeding on herring species in salt water. I recommend trolling and casting smaller spoons, including Crippled Herring, herring spoons, and silver wobblers. Several more traditional bass lures (crank baits, soft plastics, spinner baits, and top water lures) are readily available in river herring color and appearance. Some recommended streamers include the herring streamer fly, the herring bucktail, and appropriately sized and colored Clouser minnows.

Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist


 

SEACOAST AREA

Squid are still a big presence in the Piscataqua.  The high tides will be late at night starting this weekend into early next week, a great time to target squid and bass from your nearest lighted dock or bridge.  Stripers are feeding heavily on squid in the river right now and using squid for bait will greatly increase your odds of catching a bass.  The few remaining in Hampton Harbor have been hitting about an hour or two after high tide.  Successful shore fishermen in Seabrook report that clams are working well.

 

Remember to report your striped bass fishing trips online! www.wildlife.state.nh.us/surveys/striped-bass.html

 

Attention: Haddock will be closed starting September 1.

To sign up for text alerts from NOAA Fisheries regarding in-season groundfish regulation changes visit http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/Sustainable/recfishing/

- Becky Heuss, Marine Fisheries Biologist

 

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