N.H. Weekly Fishing Report - August 19, 2010
Note: Fish stocking is over for the season. Click here for past stocking reports.
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Join the Barry Camp Challenge! Help re-open Barry Conservation Camp, where thousands of kids have learned to fish and shoot. We need to raise $50,000 by this December for repairs and a maintenance endowment. Send donations to Wildlife Heritage Foundation of N.H., PO Box 3993, Concord, NH 03301 (specify Barry Camp Fund). To volunteer or adopt a project, contact Mike Normandin at email@example.com or 603-455-5435. Visit www.wildnh.com/barrycamp
Saltwater Angler Registry: www.countmyfish.noaa.gov
Volunteers, where would we be without them? This week I wanted to send a thank you out to the many volunteers that not only support the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department but help it prosper. NH Fish and Game is responsible for a multitude of things; from snails to moose. Our research would not be possible if it wasn’t for the free, extra help we get from volunteers that help us complete our assessments. My current projects include Atlantic salmon restoration, brook trout population and migration studies, spring and fall netting, as well as the daily operational tasks within my region. I count on volunteers for all of my projects. I just got back from an annual weekend detail involving sampling for wild brook trout in the Diamond River watershed. The days can be long, over 11 hours but the setting is wild and beautiful. My volunteers never complain and they are always eager to help when and where it is needed. These volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are from non-governmental organizations like Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Society for the Protection of NH Forests, and the Trust for Public Lands. Others do not belong to any organization; they just have an interest in the waters of New Hampshire. I could not get my work accomplished without their aid.
With that a heartfelt thank you to all! We truly appreciate the assistance.
The rain has helped cool things off a little here in the North Country, but the river water levels are still very low. Plan to fish early morning or in the evening to avoid the warm temperatures. We saw some caddisflies and blue-winged olives on the Connecticut River last time we were there. That river is still very cool because of the bottom draw from Murphy Dam, so fish it any time. We saw some caddis on the Swift Diamond River, too, and lots of little brookies jumping out of the water to get them. The stocked ponds are still warm on the surface, so be careful to not play the fish you catch too long. That stress can be magnified in warmer waters. Good luck and Enjoy! – Dianne Timmins, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Lakes Region/White Mountains
The tropical summer continues here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. I recently watched bass tournament fishermen working a deep drop-off in front of my place on Winnisquam Lake. Bass were being caught in water 30-40 feet deep with regularity (granted on a south wind). As the day progressed, boat after boat fished this same edge, apparently there are no secrets left, even on a 4,000 acre lake! Snorkeling the shorelines has revealed very few fish, mostly a scattering of pumpkinseeds. The same old story applies once again: fish deep!
Ben Nugent, a fellow Fish and Game biologist and I, recently tried trolling Winnisquam and had good luck on some very dark-colored lake trout. Small Mooselook wobbler spoons were the trick. We even caught a nice white perch, on 6 colors of lead core line! I ran my ancient downrigger (hey, it still works!) around 35 feet and caught lakers also. Ben brought a nice rainbow trout to the boat, and as I netted it (rubber net), I noticed a raw wound along its flank. Upon closer inspection, I saw a round wound, with an inch or so of pyloric caeca (stomach, etc.) protruding from this gash along the side. I also noticed another gash just behind the gill plate. This led me to believe that this rainbow, as it was cruising the surface sipping flies, was aerially attacked by a bald eagle or osprey, both of which are quite common on Winnisquam. Lucky (as it were) the rainbow must have slipped the talons, only to find itself in our net, and you thought you had a tough life! Just goes to show, a fish’s life is precarious, with many obstacles to overcome!
A brief note on our large lake forage fish sampling aboard our research vessel, “Forager.” There seems to be tons of smelt in Winnipesaukee this year, our netting revealed loads of young-of-the-year smelt. The smelt are generally smaller than previous years’ catches. Could be that our dry summer has negatively impacted their growth. Time will tell. – Don Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist
We’re out electrofishing for bass. I’ll be back next week! – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley
Our summer surveys targeting wild brook trout populations as part of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture are quickly coming to an end and our efforts are now shifting to Atlantic salmon index sites. We hope to make the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture information available to anglers, local governments, conservation groups, land use planners, and any other interested citizen on our website some day. This information will not only expand fishing opportunities, but give local groups a tool to help protect sensitive fish species and unique aquatic habitats. Our Atlantic salmon surveys in the Merrimack system extend from the Pemigewasset River in North Woodstock to the Souhegan River in Wilton and are conducted annually in the late summer/early fall to evaluate the survival and growth of stocked salmon fry as part of the Diadromous Fish Restoration Program. These surveys can help us be more adaptive in future restoration efforts by prioritizing focus on streams with the best habitat, water chemistry, and juvenile salmon survival. The restoration efforts could not be done without the assistance of dedicated volunteers who spend a great deal of time stocking salmon fry in the spring. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Well, the blues are here for sure, I saw them with my own eyes! I was out with one of NH’s headboat companies this past weekend doing our fishing survey, and what a fun night it was. There is nothing like the excitement of having a blue on the line, and when you are on a headboat, multiply that by 30 or so because they all hit at once! We haven’t received any reports from shore anglers, but it’s only a matter of time. Stripers seem to be more available these days as well, plenty of reports of them in the river, bay and outside of the harbors. Anglers are doing well with cut and live bait. I’ve been told that recently the baitfish are biting first thing in the morning, so get out there early. Groundfishing has picked up as well, so it looks like we have passed the summer lull and, I don’t want to jinx it but, the good fishing should continue. – Rebecca Heuss, Marine Biologist
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