NH: Weekly Fishing Report – May 19, 2011

This is a weekly fishing report provided by the New Hampshire
Fish and Game Department.

Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 4!
http://www.fishnh.com/Events/free_fishing_day.html

Stocking report:
www.fishnh.com/Fishing/fish_stock_current.htm

FYI: The NH Fish and Game Department’s boat access facility at
Merrymeeting Lake in New Durham, NH, previously closed for repairs
and improvements, has now reopened.

Anglers’ Guide to Landowner Relations:
http://www.fishnh.com/Newsroom/News_2011/News_2011_Q2/LR_anglers_051711.html

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame

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<> North Country

One of the advantages of this wet weather pattern is that water
temperatures have been slow to rise. As trout have been stocked in
the North Country, temperature readings are coming in around the
mid-fifties. At the same time last year, after an early, warm
spring, lakes and ponds were already hovering in the sixties. What
this means for anglers is an extension of the spring action in many
places. I’ve heard great reports about the trout fishing at Akers
Pond in Errol and Little Diamond Pond in Stewartstown. I am also
aware of some monster fish being caught at Profile Lake in
Franconia which include some brook trout over three pounds.

When water levels drop a little, rivers and streams will be a
great place to test your skills. Fish are going to be spread out
and can be found in every pool and riffle. Brook, brown, and
rainbow trout are all going to be feeding heavily on all of the
natural foods that have been washed into the water. Nash Stream,
Phillips Brook, and the Ammonoosuc River will be great spots to
fish in the coming weeks. – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries
Biologist

<> Lakes Region/White Mountains

We continue on with our cold, wet spring here in the lakes
region of New Hampshire! After flirting with a near normal lake
level, Lake Winnipesaukee again has risen above full pool. Streams
in the area are running near bank-full, but are highly fishable due
to the water temps (mid 50s). The water temperature of Lake
Winnipesaukee is in the 50-52 degree range, excellent for
landlocked salmon and rainbow trout.

Speaking of salmon, last weekend’s Winni Derby on Lake
Winnipesaukee was a success with 206 salmon entered, with a mean
length of 21.4″ and weight of 3.25 pounds. Only 19 lake trout were
entered, mean length of 24″ and weight of 4.5 pounds. More evidence
that salmon is “king” and more highly sought after. Congratulations
to the winners, and I hope everyone enjoyed their angling pursuits
in spite of the “finicky” weather!

We’ve been busy this week, stocking landlocked salmon yearlings
into 15 lakes. The yearling salmon look great, and with water
temperatures around 52 degrees, we couldn’t ask for better stocking
conditions. With the numerous insect hatches, and abundant smelt
population, these salmon will get a big boost in their growth,
especially in Winnipesaukee, Sunapee, Squam and Newfound lakes,
where our smelt populations continue to thrive.

Our anadromous fisheries team has completed an initial stocking
of Atlantic salmon broodstock in the Pemigewasset River, with
additional stockings to follow as water levels stabilize. Try
fishing the stretch along Coolidge Woods Road below the Ayers
Island Dam in New Hampton, but don’t forget your broodstock permit
and also remember it’s flies-only for broodstock salmon in the
Pemi.

The trout ponds continue to produce well, with many fall stocked
trout up to 18″ appearing in the catches. We are hoping that in
another week, the ponds up in the Sandwich Notch area can be
stocked after road repairs have been completed by the White
Mountain National Forest. Area ponds such as Sky, Saltmarsh and
Spectacle are good bets in the lakes region, while Echo and Profile
in the Franconia Notch area have begun to produce well. – Don
Miller, Regional Fisheries Biologist

<> Monadnock/Upper Valley

Given the predicted forecast for rain through tomorrow, lets
talk a bit about how this weather pattern we are in could affect
fish and fishing.

Bass: Many locations south of the Lakes Region were fast
approaching, or already at, water temperatures where largemouth and
smallmouth bass would begin their spawning activities such as nest
building. This rain and cool weather now has these water
temperatures decreasing. Last week, I observed some lakes and pond
in southwestern NH with males already guarding eggs, others where
no nests had been built, and still others where males were trying
to maneuver females onto the nest to spawn. Bass, such as those
north of the Lakes Region, should not be impacted too much by this
cool weather and should begin to spawn once water temperatures warm
up. Bass production in waterbodies where eggs have already been
laid may, however, be impacted. Studies have shown that a decrease
in water temperature can cause a male bass to abandon the eggs that
he has been guarding from predators. Luckily, not all bass in a
waterbody spawn at the same time, so there should still be some
bass production

in all waterbodies throughout the state, even if it is limited in
some.

The weather and its impact on bass behavior were apparent to me
as I fished the same waterbody on both Saturday and Sunday. Both
days were cool and overcast, and there was heavy rain on Sunday. On
Saturday, I found water temperatures as high as 65 degrees
Fahrenheit and big bass were cruising around in the shallows in
pre-spawn mode. Those bigger bass were hesitant to bite, but plenty
of smaller fish were not. On Sunday, the warmest water temperature
I was able find was 62 degrees. Although it doesn’t seem like a big
drop in temperature to us, it was enough to scatter the big bass
and make it tough to get a bite at all.

Trout and salmon: The cool and rainy conditions should go a long
way to ensuring trout and salmon anglers continued success. Cooler
surface water temperatures in lakes and ponds should continue to
keep these fish in the upper 15-20 feet of the water column and
along shore, making it generally easier for anglers to target these
species. The rain will also help to extend trout fishing in rivers
and streams with conditions that will be beneficial for anglers and
fish alike (remember the horribly low water conditions during last
June?). – Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

<> Southeast NH/Merrimack Valley

We were able to stock a couple hundred (huge!) broodstock
Atlantic salmon late last week. The weather this week has thrown a
wrench into our plans; ideally, the rest of the broodstock salmon
would have gone out, and we would have transferred over 10,000
river herring from the Androscoggin River (Maine) to the Merrimack
River watershed. But the high flows have put a delay on these two
endeavors. We’ll let you know when it happens.

While we wait for more accommodating flows, we’ve been working
to better document the distribution on walleye within the Merrimack
River. While no walleye were found, our surveys emphasize the value
of the Merrimack River as a New Hampshire trophy fishery. Both
largemouth and smallmouth bass were found in excess of five pounds
and twenty inches within the tailraces of the Hooksett Dam
(Merrimack River) and the Lower Penacook Dam (Contoocook River).
Additionally, several carp were captured downstream of the Hooksett
Dam at lengths greater than 30 inches. Once the river flows subside
we hope to work our way downstream and survey likely habitat in an
effort to learn more about one of the Merrimack River’s most
elusive species. – Ben Nugent, Regional Fisheries Biologist

<> Seacoast Area

The striped bass have been teasing anglers down in Portsmouth
and along the Lamprey River in Newmarket for a couple of weeks now.
As far as I know, they have yet to show their faces anywhere else.
The river herring runs have slowed in the Cocheco River in Dover,
so I imagine that as soon as we get another big pulse of baitfish
in that river, the stripers will appear.

We are in the midst of the winter flounder closure which is from
May 15 to the 24th. The weather forecast looks like it is going to
cooperate with the opening on the 25th, so you all have a few days
to get those flounder rigs ready and wait for the sun to come out.
Flounder can be found on sandy bottom, most often near inlets of
bays and harbors. The most popular bait for flounder is sea worms.
Remember that these fish have small mouths, so you don’t want to
load up on the bait. Good luck out there and don’t forget your rain
gear! – Becky Heuss, Marine Biologist

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