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Hunter’s Corner: Designated trout ponds open for business on Saturday



For the Monitor
Sunday, April 22, 2018

If you’re anything like me, I have a serious itching to go fishing but Mother Nature is not helping us out. As I write this column, ice is not out yet on Winnipesaukee and the weather has been beyond miserable.

The docks at Meredith and Wolfeboro are popular fishing destinations, as are the bridges at Long Island and Governor’s Island. Another popular spot is at the Weirs. The moving water going through the channel is also a good pre-ice out choice.

There are two publications that are a must have for the serious angler. The New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing 2018 Digest is the official compilation of all the fresh water fishing rules. Fly fishing only, catch and release and motors prohibited are but a few of the regulations listed.

The other must read is the Angler’s Guide to Fresh Water Fishing in New Hampshire. Lakes and ponds listed in the first section by county. You will find the waterbody, town, species, acres and access in this listing. In the other section you will find rivers and streams listed by waterbody, town and species. If you are looking for a new spot to fish this guide will provide everything you ever wanted to know and more.

Designated trout ponds and fly fishing-only ponds are open for business on Saturday.

So, what is an angler to do before the 28th?

There are numerous ponds that have stocked with rainbows, brookies and browns that are not designated trout ponds which means as soon as the ice is gone, you can fish for your favorite species. There are also rivers and streams that present plenty of tempting offerings although the recent rains have put a damper on fishing until the water levels recede to a more tolerable level.

One of my favorite springtime trout flies is the hornberg which used to come in colors of yellow, gray and olive. I went online to check out hornberg flies and could not believe the current iterations.

The hornberg of my day was a multi-tasking fly in that it could be fished wet or dry. It will be weeks before dry flies will come into vogue. The other type of flies that are effective this time of year is the beaded and non-beaded nymphs. There are other options that have met with success in the past. Power bait is for bottom feeding trout. Garden worms and not night crawlers will work towards the top. Mepps spinners and rooster tails will also work well.

Robb and I can’t wait to get back on Winni. Many drift live smelt or shiners and some will troll the same but I just can’t get excited about this type of fishing, it’s just not our thing.

That said, using streamer flies or hardware is a different matter. Flies and hardware serve two purposes: They either mirror a food source or the coloration irritates the heck out the salmon and they will instinctively attack it.

My favorite streamers are Maynard’s Marvel and the black nosed version called “Old Blood and Guts.” Two other favorites are the Barnes Special and the Red Gray Ghost. The Barnes Special was the creation of Cecil Lowell Barnes. He created the fly by examining the contents of the stomachs of salmon he caught and is said to have based his Special on a fly called the Hurricane.

In so far as hardware is concerned, there are many current spoons out there but I wouldn’t discount the Flash King. The Flash King has been around for decades and is copper and florescent orange in coloration. This coloration is one that encourages salmon to attack. Actually, I’ve had the best luck with DB Smelt.

We try to keep our trolling speed at 1.8 mph. In so far as trolling depth is concerned our target is 12 feet. Why 12 feet? The magic target temperature is 55 degrees. Salmon will chase a bait above them and not below them. When it hits 55 the salmon dinner bell goes off and you are in for an exciting bite.

Turkey season is fast approaching. New Hampshire’s Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend kicks this off on Saturday. Last year’s youth weekend yielded 494 turkeys or, 11 percent of the spring season total. The regular season opens up on May 3. Ted Walski, a turkey biologist, is beaming with optimism with the prospects of 2018 being a potential record setting year. The N.H. Harvest Summary is hot off the press and provides turkey harvest by town and WMU.

Walski believes the winter of 2018 was very kind to the turkey population given the three thawing periods in January and a 19-day thawing period in February which yielded bare ground and afforded the turkeys the opportunity to feast on the abundant acorn crop. The summer 2017 Public Internet Brood Survey recorded 1,784 turkey brood observations, and the month of August had a statewide average of 3.32 poults per hen.

Turkey is a unique hunting experience in that the hunter is stationary and the turkey is called into the hunter. To be a legal turkey, it must have a beard. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to noon.