New Hampshire weekly fishing report June 28, 2012
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<> North Country
With near-record breaking heat last week, one might expect the fishing to have slowed down. In reality, water temperatures have been holding steady with most of our rivers and streams hovering around 60 degrees. Lakes and ponds are a little warmer, but a consistent rainy pattern has kept them full and cool enough for fish to remain active.
I spent some of last week’s heat wave jigging lake trout with a few fellow biologists in Southwestern NH. We had a lot of fun and landed some really nice fish. Even those anglers without biological training should know how important release methods are on days that it gets near ninety degrees. Fish were handled quickly, kept in the water, and released to retreat to more comfortable temperatures. After a few hours in the boat, three bottles of water, and some sunburn, I opted to head back to northern New Hampshire and find some familiar trout rivers.
I decided to walk into the Connecticut River, leaving the waders in the truck. Just a pair of shorts and some old sneakers did a great job of cooling me down as I casted dry flies at Lyman Falls. Brook trout and browns were rising to a fly called a “stimulator.” This pattern doesn’t resemble anything exactly, but apparently looks enough like a stone fly that three or four fish were fooled into biting. By 8 o’clock, the wind had died down and the heat had subsided. Except for some pesky deer flies, it was the perfect way to end the day. – Andy Schafermeyer, Fisheries Biologist
<> Lakes Region
One of the “perks” of my job is the opportunity to involve myself in so many different aspects of our natural world. I recently spent a day with several Fish and Game folks backpacking Kennebago brook trout fingerlings into beautiful Mountain Pond in Chatham NH. Several days of rains had brought the level of the East Branch of the Saco River up and had turned it a bit silty. As we proceeded up Town Hall road, the East Branch became a smaller mountain stream and cleared up considerably. I might add this is just one of many mountain streams that will afford the adventurous angler a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some great wild brook trout fishing. Remember, a “trophy” brookie in these streams is measured by color and beauty!
Due to the effects of tropical storm Irene back in 2011, many roads in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) are currently closed to vehicular traffic, and probably will be well into next year. Though vehicular traffic is not allowed on these badly washed-out roads, foot travel and mountain bike use is permitted. Just be careful on bikes, as the sides of many of these roads are washed out.
Upon reaching the trailhead, we began to unload the brook trout fingerlings into heavy-duty plastic bags filled with ice-cold water and a shot of pure oxygen. After loading the bags into the backpacks, hikers quickly began the 0.66 mile trek into the pond. Although the water temperature was a bit high on the surface, the fingerlings quickly swam off into the cooler depths. It took eight of us two trips each to stock the full complement of trout fingerlings into the pond (that’s roughly 2.5 miles of hiking per person!). Mountain Pond is the largest pond in the WMNF at 124 acres and is a real gem. There is an Adirondack shelter at one end of the pond. Although not stocked by helicopter, this is truly a remote pond and does grow some nice trout.
Congratulations to Craig Borgeson on his awesome catch of a 22.25-lb. lake trout recently. His son, Josh is the foreman at our Milford Fish hatchery, and was the successful “netter” on this giant! Thank goodness Josh didn’t “knock him off” at the boat! – Don Miller, Fisheries Biologist
<> Monadnock/Upper Valley
This week we are helping Trout Unlimited with fish surveys on some small streams in the Ashuelot River Watershed. The goal of these surveys is to document fish species’ presence/absence above and below “problem” culverts that are to be replaced in the coming years.
You might be asking yourself right now what a “problem” culvert is. These are culverts that act as barriers to upstream fish (and other aquatic species) movement. The most common reason for this is that the bottom of the culvert is located above the surface of the stream, sometimes as high as three or four feet.
Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, NH Fish and Game, Antioch University and the Ashuelot Valley Environmental Observatory have worked together over the past years to identify which culverts in the Ashuelot River Watershed pose the biggest problem as barriers to movement. The next steps in the process are to identify the culverts that will open up the most habitat when replaced, obtain funding to replace the culverts, and perform pre and post-culvert restoration fish surveys.
Fish in question include brook trout, which need to move during some times of the year in order to find adequate habitat to spawn, feed, and overwinter successfully. Other stream fish we will likely be encountering that could be negatively impacted by barriers are common white sucker, blacknose dace, longnose dace and slimy sculpin. – Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist
<> Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley
We've completed most of our survey work in the Lower Warner River watershed recently. In an effort to summarize the status of wild brook trout within this watershed, the area was divided up into smaller watersheds and electrofished to determine fish species presence. Water quality metrics (pH, dissolved oxygen, and water temperature), aquatic habitat condition, and macroinvertebrate information was also recorded at each site. Wild brook trout were found at 16 of the 25 survey locations. Some of the streams found to be suitable for wild brook trout were as small as only a few feet wide. These surveys could not have been done without the help of dedicated volunteers who collectively spent over 400 hours in training and survey work. A BIG “thank you” to all those who helped with the survey. We are now heading to central New Hampshire to survey a watershed in the Ashland and Plymouth area. – Ben Nugent, Fisheries Biologist
<> Seacoast Area
Did you know that in state waters there is no minimum length to keep pollock? This is good news for those of you that like this tasty fish and don’t own a boat. Lately, there has been just about as much harbor pollock coming in as mackerel. You can catch these at jetties alongside mackerel and with the same setup; most people who catch them use them for bait, but if you like pollock, why not take them home for dinner? Of course you might need a few of them to fill your plate. – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist