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Hunter’s Corner: It’s time to appreciate the white perch



For the Monitor
Saturday, January 07, 2017

After taking in Tim Moore’s well-attended and impressive presentation on catching white perch, I understand the popularity of white perch as a species.

Moore does not use tip-ups but jigs and the reason is simple. When the white perch bite is on, the action is fast and there just wouldn’t be time to tend the tip-ups. The daily limit on white perch is 25.

White perch are voracious eaters, feast on pin size rainbow smelt and range between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. During the spawn, a 12-inch female white perch will produce 300,000 eggs. During the winter months, perch will be found in the forty to sixty foot range and when not suspended are actively moving. January is an active month, February the bite slows down and the best month of all is March according to Moore.

Back in the day, Gadabout Gaddis became the Flying Fisherman. I think Tim Moore has become the Mobile Fisherman. Two techniques led me to this conclusion.

Moore attacks a fishing site with the same degree as you would if you were casting a lure in warm weather fishing. Instead of casting a lure to the same spot expecting a different result, you cast a lure in a pattern resembling spokes in a bicycle wheel. Moore drills multiple holes and fishes in each hole until he or one of his crew get a bite. If there are no bites, then he takes off on his snowmobile for a different location.

Too many ice fishermen stay at the same spot waiting for fish to come to them. When fish are moving they are seeking food, and if you’re not moving too you may be in for a long wait.

Generally speaking, ice depth is not uniform. Rock piles, boulders, springs and currents will impact the depth of the ice. Weather conditions will create layers of good hard ice and slush ice. So you have to be vigilant when you are on the ice with an ATV or snowmobile.

Even in perfect ice conditions, I don’t like taking vehicles on the ice. It always amazed me in years past to see a half dozen or so vehicles parked in close proximity on Alton Bay. Obviously, there was enough ice to support the tonnage, but it is not for me.

The 38th year of the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby is game on for the weekend on February 11-12. There are seven species that are eligible for entry with minimum length limits for entry; rainbow trout, lake trout, cusk, pickerel, white perch, yellow perch, and black crappie.

No bass, brown trout or salmon will be accepted. The top three prizes, $15,000, $5,000 and $3,000 will be drawn from group of seven potential top category prize winners. All fish must be legally and freshly caught from any New Hampshire public waters.

Go to www.MeredithRotery.org for more entry information.

Moose project

If you live in Success, Berlin, Mulan, Cambridge, Dummer, Millsfield, Second College Grant, Wentworth’s Location and Errol you may notice a low-flying helicopter flying above your neighborhood. This is part of year three of a four-year moose study.

The capture crew will use net-guns and tranquilizer darts to capture the moose so that they can be collared. Blood and other samples are collected during the coloring process which will help evaluate the health of the moose. It is interesting to note that Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are collaborating on this collaring mission to learn how moose density and weather interact to boost tick-caused mortality and reduce birth rates.

“In comparing mortality and productivity from the New Hampshire study conducted in 2001-2006, versus the work done to date in New Hampshire from 2014-2016, we know that ticks are causing increasingly negative impacts to cow productivity,” said Kristine Rines, the project leader.

“In addition, as our winters become consistently shorter, more ticks are surviving and calf mortality is remaining high. We are also seeing clear evidence that tick loads are directly correlated to both moose density and shorter winters.”

The study, funded by federal Wildlife Restoration dollars with the support of matching funds from the University of New Hampshire may help answer a question in the mind of many Granite State residents and visitors: What’s in store for New Hampshire Moose?

The study itself is not without mortality issues. Imagine yourself as a cow moose or a calf. You hear this sound that you can’t understand and all of a sudden you are netted and darted or is it darted and netted. That is a lot of immediate stress on the animal and in some cases is too much.

“While regional moose populations are indeed facing some serious threats, moose are not on the verge of disappearing from the New Hampshire landscape, but they are declining,” Rines said. “We don’t know what the future holds, but as our winter continue to shorten, it may be best for moose if they are held at much lower densities. Based on our own work, we know that ticks have a far less impact when moose densities are 0.25/square mile or less.”

Current moose densities in the New Hampshire study area range from 1.43-1.73 moose/square mile.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at RWashCPA@aol.com)