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Hunter’s corner: Fish were jumping at Winni Derby

The 2014 Winni Derby is fast becoming a fond but fading memory. Our group had four boats in serious contention. For the 2½ days, our total take was 20 fish being boated. Most were released because they were the wrong species or did not make the minimum size requirement. All of the salmon that were caught were really chunky and in great shape. Robb and I hoped to make a three-peat with the camp pool, but that was not to be.

On Friday, I landed a 1-pound, 12-ounce rainbow trout that would later become a prize winner for the Naswa competition. Fishing conditions were good on Friday. The storm system that went through that night and Saturday morning and the front that went through made for a very quiet Saturday. Sunday is normally a lost cause, but not for us. We had a salmon jump right where there was an “S” on the Winni map. At that point, I put on a Maynard’s Marvel on a sinking fly line. All of a sudden, the line was screaming off the reel. I patiently played in the salmon. When it was about 20 feet off the boat, it jumped. Normally, only smaller salmon jump, but this big guy had no interest in being caught.

Robb carefully maneuvered the boat and prepared to net the salmon. As it turned out, it was a 20-plus inch fish that weighed more than three pounds. The coloration was pristine and this, too, was a chunky salmon. Ranee cooked it that night and we shared it with our neighbor, who was very appreciative.

Now, about the award I received. With most anglers entering lake trout and salmon, my 1-pound, 12-ounce rainbow turned out to be the smallest fish entered in the Naswa contest. My prize for such an accomplishment was a small goldfish net and a $10 Walmart gift card.

For the second year in a row, Mark and Kevin – who hail from Chester – were fishing out of Naswa. These guys are really talented anglers who mostly troll hardware. This year they put us on to the Washington Lure and Bait Company. Washington makes two types of lures: trolling fluttering lures and casting fluttering lures. The lures come in two hook sizes: number 4 and number 6. The lures are sized to be trolled or casted for salmon or rainbow trout. If you are looking to stock up with some interesting New Hampshire fishing lures, go to washingtonlureandbait.com.

Kevin shared with us what he is doing with his two boys. Once they reach a certain age, they no longer have birthday parties. Instead, they are treated to a special fishing excursion. The next planned excursion is to Lake Umbagog for some incredible small mouth bass fishing. The memories of cake and candles soon fade. The memories of a quality fishing trip will last forever.

Free Fishing Day

Is there a quality fishing trip in your future? This coming Saturday is free fishing day in New Hampshire. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your children to the excitement of fishing. For the younger members of your family, warm water fishing offers the most action. As they get older, trout and salmon await for a lifetime of challenges.

All fishing regulations must be followed on Free Fishing Day, including season dates and bag limits. The single exception is that you still need a fishing license and special permit to fish for brood stock Atlantic salmon in the Merrimack and lower Pemigewasset Rivers.

Free Fishing Day coincides with Hatchery Open House Day in New Hampshire. This is a great educational opportunity to visit the six state-operated trout hatcheries. The visitation hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Baiting rules

The baiting rule changes for the 2014-15 N.H. hunting season unofficially have been posted on the Fish and Game website. The official rules will be posted in July. All bait permit applications are due on or before Oct. 1. Permit applications to bait wildlife on state-owned and managed lands are still due on or before Aug. 1.

The deer baiting season in WMUs A-L will open 21 days prior to the opening of the regular firearm season (Nov. 19). No moose shall be taken with the aid and use of bait. From the close of the bear baiting season through Dec. 15, baiting for coyote will be restricted to the use of meat, animal parts, carrion or fish only.

BOW workshop

Registration is now open for the “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” fall workshop. The session takes place Sept. 5-7 at Rockywold/Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake in Holderness. Participants select sessions from more than 30 different outdoor skills workshops. To register, visit nh.bow.com and download the fall workshop print-and-mail registration form. You can also request a registration form by callling 271-3212 or visiting aquatic-ed@wildlife.nh.gov.

Registration forms will be accepted by regular mail only. No walk-ins or faxes.

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

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