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Pittsburg a great fishing destination, too

I had the occasion last weekend to visit Pittsburg for a family get-together. My game plan was to fish from my fishing kayak for trout and salmon. The wind Saturday morning was not kayak friendly on Second Connecticut Lake. Having brought Nutmeg (the dog) with us, I opted for the campground on Lake Francis. The water level of Lake Francis was so high that given the necessary release at Murphy Dam, fishing the Connecticut River was not an option.

My nephew Joel and my niece’s husband, Chris, had better luck fishing from shore on Third Connecticut Lake. Joel caught a 20-inch lake trout that was his first laker. Both Joel and Chris were then treated to a fishing sight to behold. These two much-experienced fishermen were trolling and hand-lining a single-hooked spoon. Their reels had copper line, which got the lures deep. The hand-lining technique heightens the fluttering action of the spoon. A hookup happened and a battle royale began.

The fish was too big for the net they had and soon broke. One of the anglers grabbed the fish by the gills and boated it. It turned out to be a 37-inch lake trout that hit the scales at 22 pounds. This was an incredible catch, but not the record for Third Connecticut Lake. The current state record for this fishery is 26½ pounds.

If you are looking for some exciting fishing opportunities, Lake Francis and the Connecticut Lakes should be high on your list of must-fish lakes. Later, when the water level of Lake Francis settles, the Connecticut River is also a consideration.

On Route 3 north of the first Connecticut Lake, I spotted three does at three different locations. They were eager to cross Route 3 and I think they were drawn to the highway in search of salt. The deer were transitioning to their summer coats and appeared to be healthy. I also spotted a mature male partridge. I can’t help but wonder what our wet spring has done to partridge chicks.

The black flies, no-see-ums and mosquitoes are a force to be reckoned with. The deer flies are just starting to come out. A liberal use of deet-based products will help with most nuisances, except with the dive bombing deer flies.

If you are looking for some excellent angling opportunities this month, consider making Pittsburg your destination.

There is a subtle economic revolution taking place in Pittsburg, in particular, and Coos County in general. The driving force is expanded trail systems for ATVs. Pittsburg allows ATVs to drive on sidewalks during daylight hours with a few minor restrictions. The advantage the ATV has over the snowmobile is the ATV has a much longer season. The cost of the ATV, trailer and vehicle capable of towing the trailer and ATV is comparable to snowmobiles. Rooms and meal tax receipts from Coos County were up and the only logical explanation is increased ATV usage.

Hike safe bill

I was relieved to see the hike safe bill became law. This is not the financial panacea for Fish and Game, but it is a step in the right direction. A majority of the rescues thus far this year did not involve negligence. For the most part, hikers requiring rescue were prepared to hike, but fell victim to an accident requiring assistance.

There currently are seven unfunded conservation officer positions. With two more retiring soon, that number increases to nine. This puts extreme pressure on the remaining 33 CO’s to deliver the level of service the public demands.

Someday the legislature will recognize the value Fish and Game contributes to the tourism industry and assist in financing their operations; then again, maybe it will continue to ignore a reasonable solution to a serious funding problem.

Moose lotteries

Yesterday, Maine held its moose lottery in Presque Isle. Maine has an estimated moose population of 76,000 moose.

I may just stop by the office today to go online to get the good or bad news. This Friday, New Hampshire will hold its own lottery at Fish and Game headquarters on Hazen Drive. This has evolved into a major cause for celebration, and many wonder if this may be the last moose lottery for a while.

Southern Maine is experiencing the same tick problem as New Hampshire, and the problem simply will not go away. The current weather cycle does not afford us severe cold weather when it would be needed to kill off the ticks. The tick tragedy continues to decimate the moose population with no satisfactory end in sight.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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