October 1, 2020

Surf 'n' Turf- NH Fish & Game report

Submitted - 2005-05-12
By Ben Nugent, fisheries biological technician and Matt Carpenter, fisheries biologist

First, the surf:

By this time last year, people were catching big striped bass at the head of tide on the coastal rivers. Each year the stripers follow the river herring up river and gorge themselves where the herring congregate behind the dams. This year the water temperatures have been unusually low, which has delayed the herring run. It won't be long before the blueback herring and alewives are swimming up the fish ladders by the thousands. This is the only time of year when your chances of catching a legal-sized striped bass from shore are at least as good as your chances of catching one from a boat. The two most popular spots are below the dam at the Lamprey River in Newmarket and along the Cocheco River in Henry Law Park, near downtown Dover. Some people use herring for bait, but most use artificial lures. Ask a local what's been working recently.

This is a good time of year to try for groundfish off the coast. If you don't own a boat you can charter a boat with a small group, ride a party boat, or, if you're lucky, find a friend to take you out. While it can be hit or miss out there, people have been taking home more than their fill of haddock and cod. If you wait too long you'll have to contend with the tourists and the dogfish.

We have also heard that the winter flounder have been biting south of the border (that is, waters off Massachusetts). Apparently the best approach is to use a sea worm for bait and form a chum line that drifts over a mussel bed. I have never tried this, but there are some mussel beds in Little Harbor that might just be a perfect place to prove me wrong. Check the mussel beds at low tide so you know how to position your boat when the tide comes in.

And now, the turf:

Fishing for brook trout in small mountain streams is always on our list of fishing opportunities in May. Now is the time to hit these brooks and streams, before the black flies become unbearable or vegetation along stream banks gets too thick. Stream fishing can be productive all day long and challenges anglers of all ages and skill levels. Don't avoid a stream just because it's not on Fish and Game's stocking list; several wild brook trout populations are present in streams throughout New Hampshire. Get out and explore. Along with the delicious fish, don't forget to bring home all your rubbish. There's nothing more unattractive than a submerged worm container or a mass of tangled line in the bushes. Try perfecting your roll cast in the west branch of the Upper Ammonoosuc River (Berlin), Nash Stream (Stratford/Stark), and the Wild River (Beans Purchase).

Take advantage of lakes and pond that receive generous amounts of brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. The hard work from our hatchery staff can be seen at the end of fishing lines in hundreds of waterbodies in New Hampshire. Akers Pond (Errol), Mirror Lake (Whitefield), Stonehouse Pond (Barrington), Streeter Pond (Sugar Hill), Webster Lake (Franklin) are just a few examples of lakes and ponds which can offer angler success. These waterbodies are easily navigated by a small boat or from shore and can be fished with a variety of flies, spinners, and live bait. Reports of some real horses caught have come from Airport Pond (Whitefield) and Saltmarsh Pond (Guilford).

The appetites of smallmouth and largemouth bass are heating up with water temperatures. Nothing can beat post-spawn fishing for smallmouths. Early morning or evening topwater fishing, with poppers, jitterbugs, and soft plastic jerk baits, can be explosive and rewarding. Try using rods and lines with lighter weights to experience the strength of these fighters. And don't forget that May 15 - June 15 is catch-and-release and artificial lure/fly only for smallmouth and largemouth bass. We're counting down the days when the action will be hot at Moore Reservoir (Littleton/Dalton) and Umbagog Lake (Errol). Moore Reservoir also offers the possibility of catching the next state record northern pike. 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