December 17, 2017

FISHING IN THE NORTH COUNTRY - NH F&G

Submitted - 2005-06-16
By Cory Vander-Heyden, seasonal fisheries staff, Region 1/Lancaster

Heavy rain and high water is all we seem to hear about this spring. Along with rain come cooler water temperatures and increased runoff, causing muddy water. Rain can be a great factor when fishing for trout: trout are usually turned on to feeding just before rainfall, because the rain cools the water. There's a downside, too -- heavy rain can cloud water, lowering visibility for the trout.

Water temps have remained cold later into the spring months than usual; this should keep the trout feeding and very active. With the sun finally breaking through, the warmer weather triggers the hatching of many insects. Successful anglers will be the ones who properly match their lures to what the trout are feeding on -- and feeding they will be. In the last two weeks I've been on Mirror Lake (Whitefield) and Fish Pond (Columbia), both two-tier fisheries. A two-tier fishery is a body of water that contains both warm water and cold-water species. The trout were bubbling up like butter on a hot skillet toward the evening... unlucky for me, I only brought my bass gear.

This brings me to the next fish to report on, the elusive bass, largemouth or smallmouth. The colder water temps proved to make the bass sluggish and less aggressive in the early spring months. Moore Reservoir on the Connecticut River, which usually provides great river smallmouth fishing, fished very slowly the first time out. I was wearing several layers of clothing, and expecting to see an iceberg float down anytime. This isn't exactly the weather bass fisherman are looking for, but I was still able to pick a few up, fishing soft plastics slow and in deeper water.

Soft plastics have been doing very well; I would recommend throwing them instead of crank baits and spinner baits, which are generally fished by a faster steady retrieve. But feel free to experiment if things seem difficult. Even if the fish are lethargic because of the temperature, they will be more likely to hit a lure that more resembles something in their natural diet.

Consistency has been good -- we've boated bass every time we've been out. Two weeks ago, Forest Lake (Whitefield/Dalton) was not producing like it had been, but the good news is that the hot spell we had over the weekend warmed the water up considerably. A co-worker, Bryan Comeau, said he picked up well over a dozen fish in less than four hours fishing a local pond in Whitefield recently.

The bass are still on holding beds (nests) now. The bass are guarding future populations, so be very careful when landing your fish. A damaged bass may not return to its bed, and the eggs will have no protection from predators. The catch-and-release season that protects spawning bass will be over this weekend, but it's still a good idea to practice good ethics when catching fish at this time, like proper hook set and gentle release. If you do catch a bass off its bed, it may be a good idea to move on so you don't overstress the fish. Recasting on the same bed may result in catching the same fish twice, harmfully affecting their reproduction.

Don't give up on trout fishing -- it will remain strong throughout the summer. New Hampshire Fish and Game provides an excellent stocking program that runs through midsummer, and even into fall in some places. If you're a bass fisherman, just be patient, the warmer weather is returning and the fishing is starting to look up. Enjoy the season.
This report was provided by NH Fish and Game Department in Concord, NH. Follow this link for more specific information on the reports or the area - http://wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/fishing.htm