Hunter’s corner: Salmon swimming deep as temps heat up
The warm temperatures have slowed salmon fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee. The latest fishing report suggests you can go deep or go home, with salmon being taken at the 25- to 30-foot level. This means if you are using lead core, you need to be out six colors. If you are using downriggers, set your cannon ball at 25 feet as salmon will come up to a bait but will not go down to one.
My favorite run remains the Lockes-Welch run regardless of time of year. It has always been productive. Fishing will continue to slow down until the thermal inclines set up in August. That will be when the real exciting salmon fishing happens.
Fishing-wise, the real excitement is with striper fishing. This means that unless you are on a commercial fishing boat (head boat), you will need a saltwater fishing license. At one time, menhaden (bunkers) were a prime fishing bait for stripers. Overfishing by commercial fishermen has all but exhausted menhaden supplies. And the use of menhaden was for fertilizer. Today, the prime baits for stripers are mackerel and pollack. If you are surfcasting, the favorite nighttime bait is the eel. I still have a Santini rig that I use with chohog. The key measure here is that stripers will react to the scent given off by the bait.
There are length differences between Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire have a 28-inch two-fish limit. Maine has a 22-26-inch slot limit for one fish and a 40-inch limit on the second fish. The reasoning for the smaller striper is to allow the angler to take home a striper for supper. Unfortunately, the 22-26-inch striper is not mature enough to be a part of the reproductive process.
Two of my favorite striper fishing sites are the fishing jetties in Wells Maine and the bridge over the Ogunquit River in Ogunquit, Maine. All that is needed is tidal movement, incoming or outgoing. At slack tide, you might as well take a nap. Bait fish are drawn in with the tide as well as the stripers and the striper waits to ambush the bait fish on the receding tide.
We are now in prime wildlife viewing territory. The deer rut peaked in mid-November with the secondary rut peaking in mid-December. Some rut activity carried over into January. The result is that fawns are dropping and have been since late May and will continue into August. The normal pattern is for the doe to leave the fawn in a safe thicket, feed and return to nurse the fawn, careful not to attach her scent to the fawn. Already in Pembroke, a friend was treated to the delightful sight of a fawn resting, waiting for the doe to return. This friend is also a deer hunter and was totally taken in by the beauty of the setting. If you happen upon a resting fawn, take your picture from a safe distance, but leave it be. It is safe and the only harm that could come its way is from you.
I have had two friends report seeing what they thought was an orphaned bear cub. From the way they described the cub, one sounded like it was this year’s cub and I don’t think it will make it through to the fall. If you see a small cub, call Fish and Game; if it is this year’s cub, maybe they can trap it and place it with a game rehabilitator. The other cub was described as a rock and I think it was turned loose by its mother this spring. It should make it.
The final sighting was that of cow moose and her calf. The cow stopped in the middle of a roadway and proceeded to nurse her calf, oblivious to her viewing audience. When the calf was finished, the pair moved on without a care in the world. Cow moose are one of the most protective parents in the wildlife world. Don’t even think about invading her space. Enjoy the wonders of nature at a safe distance.
Moose permit auction
The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire announced the launch of the 2014 N.H. Moose Permit Auction. Owing to the declining moose population, the foundation is authorized to auction two permits to the two highest bidders. Permit holders will be required to possess a valid N.H. resident or non-resident hunting license. The two winning bidders will receive free 2014 N.H. hunting licenses, as well as 2014 N.H. hunting licenses. The next three highest bidders will receive free N.H. 2014 hunting licenses. In the case of a tie, the earliest postmarked signed bid will prevail.
Courtesy of LHR’s Sporting Arms of Rochester, the highest winning bidder will receive a 50-percent off coupon toward the purchase of LHR’s new RCF Centerfire Rifle. This newly designed rifle has the option of seven interchangeable barrel configures on one receiver, and changes easily without tools in less than a minute. The rifle will be available for sale this fall.
“Every year, the auction provides the foundation with a way to support Fish and Game programs and initiatives that are important to the people of this state. It is critical that we find ways to sustain wildlife conservation, education and outreach programs, particularly for the youth of New Hampshire, who are the future stewards of our natural environment,” said Steve White, foundation chairman.
Last year, the auction garnered 19 bids from nine states, with the highest bid at $10,000. Winners came from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin and Washington. Official bid guidelines can be downloaded at nhwildlifeheritage.org or by calling 496-2778. Good luck.
(Bob Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)