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NH Fishing Report - July 18, 2017

Greetings anglers!

Scott Decker

This summer, it seems like we’ve been on a weather rollercoaster, with big swings in temperatures and stream flows.  The successful angler will heed the old scout’s motto of "be prepared."  Resolve to change up your methods and gear if you’re not catching much.  The weather has the fish confused at times, which makes things more challenging.  For bass, think "subsurface" during the day and "topwater" at night.  For trout, go north or head to the mountains for the best success. 


Trout stocking is winding down, but still check the stocking report to see where we’ve stocked fish the previous week.  Also, don’t forget to send me your reports or photos by dropping me a line at Next report goes out on or around July 27.



In the North Country, biologist Andy Schafermeyer reports that smallmouth have been pounding poppers and prop-baits on Pontook Reservoir, Umbagog Lake, and Nay Pond. They seem to be most effective near aquatic vegetation, which is not as abundant as in years past, but still easy to find.


Those sections of the Upper Connecticut that weave through farmland in Stratford and Columbia usually provide awesome opportunities for fishing grasshopper flies. "I hit it pretty good this past weekend, but found nothing biting. The Connecticut and Androscoggin have been running high, cold, and discolored," Andy reported. When grasshoppers start flying around, everything eats them, and there's no wrong way to use them. In fact, twitching them across flat water is quite effective. Farther up in Pittsburg, there were some reports of big brookies being taken from the "Trophy Stretch" of the Connecticut, between First Connecticut Lake and Lake Francis. Changing up flies pretty often from nymphs to emergers, to dries, seemed to be a good strategy.


In the Lakes Region, the thermocline in Lake Winnipesaukee and other salmon lakes is setting up around 35 feet.  Lures such as Needlefish, Mooselook Wobblers, and Chev Chase spoons are taking fish at this depth.  The class of 2-year old salmon is a good size for their age this year (15-17 inches), but care should be taken when releasing these fish to avoid hook injuries.  An angler fishing out of Alton Bay off Black Point said he caught a few rainbows and lakers recently. Fish were caught at 45-65 feet on downriggers or 4-7 colors of lead core line. One rainbow taken revealed stomach contents of terrestrial insects, as well as 15 young-of-the year smelt.  Several fish were seen "finning" on the surface taking insects.  You might also try vertical jigging for lake trout if you get a calm day, using any number of jigging spoons that are on the market.


The regional biologists tell me a good number of surplus brown trout were recently released in the Saco and Bearcamp rivers.  These fish are good size (appraoching a foot long!) and should provide some good action as river flows are at a decent level for this time of year.


In Southwestern New Hampshire, I received a report from Nubanusit Lake that lakers and rainbows have been feeding heavily on smelt, "coughing" them up as anglers bring the trout in.  Smallies were biting well, also.  Some lakers were being caught while vertical jigging with spoons over deep water.  I have also heard that the "yanking" technique was working for lakers.  "Yanking" is done by letting out all 10 colors of a standard lead-core fishing line and attaching an 8-inch mono leader to a lure, then using your hand to periodically "yank" the line while bumping the bottom of the lake.  Once you get a strike, you quickly drop the line and grab the rod to bring the fish in.  Give it a try!



Donald St. Lawrence with his state-record carp from 2015. Photo courtesy D. St. Lawrence.

Select image for larger view.

In Southeastern New Hamphsire, as the summer "dog days" are upon us, why not try something different -- like fishing for carp!  Carp can be caught in the Merrimack River from below Garvins Falls dam down to the Massachusetts border.  In fact, the current state record was taken in Manchester just two years ago, a 35+ pound beast of a fish!  Carp of 20 pounds are fairly common in the Merrimack.  They can be caught using corn or dough baits molded around a stout hook.  A medium- to heavy-action spinning rod with 15-20 pound test mono or braided line is recommended.  Try Googling "carp fishing" and you will find all kinds of videos and advice for catching these huge members of the minnow family.


On the Seacoast, stripers are plentiful and are being caught in the Piscataqua River right now.  There have also been reports of big schools of menhaden (pogies) outside of Hampton Harbor, moreso than in previous years.  Can the bluefish be far behind?




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