October 18, 2017

Yes, they call it "fishing." But there's plenty of "catching" going on in NH!

Submitted - 2006-04-23
Yes, they call it "fishing." But there's plenty of "catching" going on in NH!
By Mark Beauchesne, Let's Go Fishing coordinator

After a great ice-fishing season I usually struggle with the transition to open water, but not this year! We had our last ice fishing outing on March 30, and the next day the boat was in the water and we were catching crappies on the Connecticut River.

Ice-out on the big lakes came quick this year. I think it caught many folks off guard. The reports coming back to me indicate that the salmon fishing is outstanding. Most of the fish are being caught before 9:00 am. On the big lake the "hot" lure is the D.B. Smelt. Try dressing one of these lures up with a touch of pink down each side -- nail polish or permanent marker will make this lure look even more like the real smelt that are in the lake.

Our hatchery folks have been hard at work stocking the area rivers and streams. Over the past week I encountered many anglers enjoying the great river conditions. The Suncook and the Contoocook rivers are just perfect for wading. This is obviously not the normal condition we see in mid-April.

Opening day for trout ponds snuck up on me again. Lucky for me, I work in Concord, and there are several ponds just minutes away for me to fish. Hot Hole Pond, Clough Pond, Archery Pond and Stirrup Iron Pond are a few favorites.

My early season fishing has been great. Over the past week I fished for pike on the Connecticut River. Now, if you've read my reports before, you know that this is one of my favorite things to do. The rush I get when I hook up with one of these river athletes is indescribable.

We had water temps in the 50s -- that was all I needed to know. Guide and good friend Curt Golder joined me for the first pike outing of the season. We had a blast -- we "jumped" three pike, hooked up several largemouth bass, hooked and landed pike on the fly. When selecting early season pike baits and flies, take into consideration the water temperatures. Anything less than 60 degrees, fish a fly or lure that has a slower action. Slow rolled spinner baits and minnow-type baits are a good start. Pike flies should be similar in action. Deceivers and rabbit strip flies are first on my list. Color selection is also very important. Choose a lure or fly that can be seen in the darker springtime water.

Pike fishing is a blast! Just writing this has caused my heart to race and my hands to shake uncontrollably. (For more pike info and tackle tips, click here to download my article "In Pursuit of Pike" from NH Wildlife Journal magazine (PDF))

For pure fun and unstoppable fish catching action, you have to go bluegill fishing. Oh, some of you may say, "sunfish are for kids." I say -- you're right! Young kids and big kids like me! Last week I spent just a few hours on Turtle Pond. The result was outstanding. I had the time of my life. The bluegill bite was on -- not the little pesky ones, either. I was onto the "bull gills" -- most of the fish were over 10 inches long and pushing 3/4 of a pound! I used a slip bobber and jig combination.

By lunchtime the water had warmed up to 65 degrees. This really turned on the fish. The water condition was calm. I could see the fish finning on the surface. Some of the bluegills were taking insects on the surface. It was pandemonium! As soon as the jig sank, the fish would hit it hard. Now, on a 5 1/2 foot ultra light rod, these big bluegills really test my equipment. What fun I had. Next week I'm going at them with my five-weight fly rod.

Get out there and go fishing today. You don't need the entire day, just an hour or two. Now you know they're biting, so go.

Great fishing!!!!
Mark 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