Landlocked Salmon, Lake Trout Fishing Now Open in NH

Landlocked Salmon, Lake Trout Fishing Now Open in NH
Landlocked Salmon, Lake Trout Fishing Now Open in NH
#Enthusiastic anglers will be out in force on April 1 for the start of the open-water fishing season on landlocked salmon/lake trout-managed lakes -- the true start of spring for many New Hampshire anglers.The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department manages 15 lakes for landlocked salmon: Big Dan Hole Pond, First and Second Connecticut Lakes, Conway Lake, Lake Francis, Merrymeeting Lake, Newfound Lake, Ossipee Lake, Big and Little Squam Lakes, Sunapee Lake, Lake Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam Lake, and Nubanusit Lake. (Pleasant Lake in New London also is managed for landlocked salmon, but is classified as a trout pond, with a 2011 opening date of April 23.)As we have all come to realize, New Hampshire was treated to an ?old-fashioned winter? this past season, and any thoughts of an early ice-out have been dashed! The effects of a recent thaw (prior to the last snowfall!) have increased the flows in the Winnipesaukee River system, which drives the early season salmon fisheries in Winnipesaukee, Opechee, Winnisquam and Silver lakes. Anglers should seek out high-flow areas for a chance at ?drop-down? salmon (and rainbow trout). Traditional areas include the Lakeport Dam/Opechee Lake, the Winnipesaukee River through Laconia to Dixon Point at Lake Winnisquam, and Lochmere Dam at Silver Lake. The Newfound River in Bristol offers great fly-fishing-only water that can often produce drop-down rainbows and salmon.Please note that, because of icy conditions, N.H. Fish and Game?s new boat access facility on the Winnipesaukee River in downtown Laconia, offering great access to Winnisquam Lake, will not be open on April 1. The ramp will re-open as soon as weather conditions permit; check the Fish and Game website (//www.fishnh.com) for updates. Boaters and anglers are urged to use caution at all boat ramps as the remnants of winter ice persist.Additionally, several popular Winnipesaukee shore fishing locations exist at the Merrymeeting River (fly-fishing-only, barbless, catch and release), and the mouth of the Merrymeeting River as it enters Alton Bay, downstream of the famous stone arch bridge.Other good sites to visit include the Weirs Channel in Laconia, Long Island Bridge in Moultonborough, Governors Island Bridge in Gilford, Smith River inlet at Wolfeboro Bay, and Meredith and Center Harbor town docks. At these locations, everything from smelt, shiners and worms under a slip bobber to small jigs will take salmon, as well as rainbows.When fishing in the few open water areas, ice-out salmon are successfully caught by trolling with everything from spoons (such as DB Smelt, Sutton, Mooselook, Top Gun, and Smelt Gun) to traditional streamer flies (for example, Maynard?s Marvel, Pumpkinhead, Mickey Finn, Joe?s Smelt, and the countless Grey Ghost variations), and an early season favorite, live smelt or shiners. Most early season fish are caught from the surface to about 15 feet down, with everything from planer board set-ups to the simplest of monofilament flat lines 50-150 feet behind the boat. When the wind kicks in, drifting live smelt or shiners in the waves can be highly effective. New for 2011, on certain salmon/lake trout lakes, only single hooks for bait while trolling is allowed. This includes Squam, Newfound, Sunapee, Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam lakes. Please refer to the 2011 Freshwater Fishing Digest for a complete list of waters.Landlocked Salmon Anglers? PledgeTo ensure the future of high-quality landlocked salmon fisheries, anglers must take extra care when releasing salmon, as the percentage of hook-wounded fish continues to be a problem. Hook wounded/scarred fish are significantly shorter and poorer in body condition than non-hook-wounded counterparts of the same age. Using rubber nets and proper release techniques (for example, don?t ?shake? fish off the hook) -- and releasing lightly hooked healthy salmon, while choosing to harvest previously hook-wounded fish ? are ways to minimize the negative effects of hook wounding, thereby increasing the number of trophy salmon available in the future.To that end, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, with assistance from the angling public, has embarked on a new program to ensure that our wonderful landlocked salmon fishery will endure into the future. Anglers can learn more about protecting the landlocked salmon fishery at a free talk on Friday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m., at the N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. No pre-registration needed. Inland Fisheries Division Chief Steve Perry and Large Lakes Fisheries Biologists Don Miller and John Viar will introduce the Landlocked Salmon Anglers? Pledge ? a cooperative, volunteer effort to help sustain quality landlocked salmon fisheries in New Hampshire?s large lakes. Free pledge brochures and promotional decals will be available.N.H. fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.fishnh.com, or from any Fish and Game license agent. Annual resident fishing licenses are $35. Resident one-day licenses are just $10. Annual nonresident fishing licenses are $53. One-, three- and seven-day nonresident licenses are also available.The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state?s marine, fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. Reel in lots more information on fishing in New Hampshire, from depth maps to tackle tips -- and download the 2011 N.H. Freshwater Fishing Digest -- at www.fishnh.com/Fishing/fishing.htm.

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