October 1, 2020

Some Like it Cool

Submitted - 2005-05-06
By Dianne Emerson, fisheries biologist, Region 1/Lancaster

It all started at about 4 a.m. when I awoke to frost-covered windows. Was I dreaming or had I missed the summer and gone back to fall? What about fishing???? Then I realized as my eyes cleared the calendar clock was still reading May 1. I hadn't missed spring and summer fishing -- but it sure was chilly outside at 30 degrees F.

The spring up here in the North Country was very quick and dry for the most part. Water flows in the brooks and streams were way below normal. Now the pattern has switched, we have had a lot of rain and cold nights. This weather pattern has raised havoc with the smelt, a popular forage species, during their spawning runs. Christine Lake in Stark has a healthy smelt population and those fish avoided the brooks this year all together. The brook temperature and flows never met their criteria. They spawned under the ice in the lake. The smelt in Cedar Pond and Big Millsfield Pond spawned a week late. It was in the 60s for two weeks and in the 30s the next. Runoff happened this year when the ground was still frozen, hence the high fire warnings. The good news is the weather is back on its normal spring course. The nights are still cool, which makes for great early morning fishing, as well as less stressful stocking (for the fish that is)!

The Conservation Officers and regional biologists have been running the trucks daily putting fish out. We started the third week in April up north to insure safe water temperatures, and have been going ever since. Stocking is a very busy time of year for all of us, especially the hatcheries. Sometimes these employees are completing three plantings a day to provide the opportunity of a lifetime to an angler. Be patient and thanks these guys and gals when you bump into them, they are working hard for you!

Maybe you will be lucky and get one of these beauties on your line. See what some of the breeders from last fall look like -- go to the online version of this report Here. Nice colors!

A few anglers have already visited Cedar Pond in Milan and turned up some nice browns and rainbows. The rivers are always great producers this time of year and through the summer. Some large brown trout have been caught in the Androscoggin and the Connecticut. Some large brookies and 'bows too! Don't forget that the trout ponds opened on Saturday, April 23 this year (always the fourth Saturday in April). The cool nights have prolonged snowmelt in some of the remote mountainous areas, so be smart and use caution when venturing. Throw on a smelt imitation or a lake chub pattern. These are your primary forage in a lot of the pristine waters in northern NH. Good luck and dress warm. Also, the pike fishing has started to soar in the Partridge Lake drainage (Littleton/Lyman). Make a deal with yourself and set aside a day for you!

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