October 18, 2017

TROUT, BASS, PANFISH, AND PIKE -- THE CONNECTICUT RIVER HAS IT ALL!

Submitted - 2005-08-04
By Mike Racine, Fisheries Biologist, Region 4/Keene

Excellent fishing continues where the Cold River feeds into the Connecticut River in Walpole. Trout were rising everywhere and the banks were lined with fishermen. One man reported *almost* catching a 5 or 6-pound brown. Don't tell him that almost isn't good enough. His problem was that the brown just wouldn't fit in the net! The only option this fisherman had for this mounter was to attempt to grab the gills or tail and hope for the best. Well, the fish apparently was hoping for the best too and got away. Another spot to try for trout is a mile or two downriver around the Great Island Wildlife Management Area (also in Walpole).

The Connecticut River never ceases to amaze me! It has an incredible forage (feed) base that feeds both the cold and warmwater fish species. I have already mentioned two hot spots for trout, but smallmouth bass are not nearly as selective in terms of habitat; you can fish for smallmouths just about anywhere! Daytime work with Fish and Game's electroshocking boat took us to Charlestown last week. The estimated minimum size smallie captured was about 13inches, average size was 15 inches, and maximum size must have been just over 20inches. We turned over these beauties every 60 yards or so, and we traveled roughly half a mile. As we were not targeting bass, we easily lost count! We would either first run into schools of hundreds of minnows with the bass hovering nearby, or we would hit the bass first and in a matter of feet run into the minnows. Either way, predator and prey weren't separated by much distance!

To date, our warmwater surveys have taken us from Rindge to Gilmanton, with several more waterbodies in store. The young of the year bass have already grown to nearly 2 inches. We have seen both largemouth and smallmouth, although largemouth are sampled more effectively. We captured and released a 6+ pounder from Rindge and have seen others like it. (See the web version of this report for a picture.) The big boys are around indeed!

If you are interested in volunteering to help with these night surveys, or if you want more information on the program, please call the Region 4 (Keene) office at 603-352-9669. Thanks to those who have helped thus far. We could not do the surveys without you!

The Connecticut River doesn't have just trout and bass. It also has superb panfish and pike fishing. These two extremes require much different equipment setups. Panfishing requires a light pole, light line (4-6 lb. test), and small jigs or spinners. Pike fishing, on the other hand, requires a stiff pole, minimum 20-lb. test line, a steel leader, and large lures. While panfishing, you may even get a surprise when the pike attack your catch! This pike found amongst schools of minnows and perch and was sampled and released in the Bellows Falls area. The daily limit for these monsters is one fish having a minimum total length of 28 inches.

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