Hunter’s Corner: Ice fishing in mind as season cools off

For the Monitor
Published: 11/1/2016 12:00:55 AM

October is always a transitional month for me from concentrating on fishing to concentrating on hunting. Robb and I had one more fishing adventure before the season closed with an additional angler, Ranee. Ranee had been wanting to go out with us for sometime, and as long as the weather gods favored us it would be a good run. As it turned out, it was a near perfect day on the water.

Professor Robb proceeded to explain to his mother what we were doing. Robb’s job is to get us on fish and my job is to put on a lure or streamer fly that will tempt a trout to bite. We were fishing Pleasant Lake and the depths from the chart that was on my fish finder were at odds with the actual depths we were experiencing. Overall, the lake was down 2 ½ feet due to the drought. We were printing some exceptionally large fish which we took to be brown trout. We were printing bait plumes all over the lake. We thought given the cooling of the surface water temperature conditions might be right for a bite. However, it was not to be but Ranee had such a great time that she will be ready to go again next year.

We have friends that have a camp on Pleasant Lake and our plans are to ice fish from the camp come January. Given the predicted cold winter, it should be much better for ice anglers than 2015. We were able survey the bottom, and it was clear and sandy with no vegetation – sweet. Thirty feet from shore the depth was 12 feet. Fish are moving under the ice looking for food. This spot has promise.

Fly anglers tend to be a finicky group. Some purists can be downright fanatical. So when I am reading of the results of a fly fishing contest with the champion wining the contest using a mop fly, I can only imagine the shock of the fellow competitors. I must admit I have never heard of a mop fly and quickly went on line to find out what it looked like and sure enough, it is made from a section of a mop. The fly is colored in several colors.

My brother who lives in Montana has had good luck ice fishing with a beaded wholly bugger. I have not experienced the same luck. I think the mop fly jigged through the ice just might be the ticket for multiple species. I’ll let you know next year.

Robb and I made it out to Hopkinton again and had the opportunity to watch two dogs go through their paces. The first was a German short hair named Yogi. Short hairs tend to range and Yogi answered to vocal commands in an excellent manner. Next was an 18-month-old springer spaniel named Luke. Springers come in two flavors: black and white, and liver and white. Luke was a handsome black and white. I have seldom seen a dog more eager to hunt than Luke. His master had trained Luke to act on whistle commands. Luke was a joy to watch. The flight birds were in and we had fun that day.

In anticipation of the Oct. 29 opening of the muzzle loading deer season, Robb and I spent a blustery afternoon at Sunset Mountain sighting in our muzzleloaders. Upon the advice of others, I downsized from 150 grains of triple 7 to 100 grains of triple 7. My bottom line is that I don’t need a muzzle loader capable of executing a 150 yard shot, as where I hunt the wood are tight and the longest shot I have had in the past is 35 yards and mostly under. I experienced a very tight grouping with the scoped muzzleloader and Robb with his open sights was getting hits where he wanted them. There is also a debate that continues over shot placement and bullet performance. My view is that if you have the perfect shot placement and underperforming bullet you may end up tracking a wounded deer and may not succeed in finding it. However, if you properly place an exceptional performing bullet in a deer, you will be enjoying venison. Having researched muzzle load bullets I have a high degree of confidence that the bullets I use will expand sufficiently to cause maximum trauma and leave a blood trail.

My brother gave his son a 300WSM. James and his buddy promptly developed hand loads affording him excellent accuracy with a superior performing bullet. Two weeks ago, while my brother was watching through a spotting scope, James downed an antelope with 14 inch horns at 500 yards. This is a trophy class antelope. Not to be outdone, this week during elk season, James downed a six-by-six elk and promptly posted the picture on his Facebook page. Way to go James.

The results are in for the 9 day moose hunt and a success rate of 72 percent was achieved. The preliminary numbers show moose hunters experienced a 91 percent success rate in the Connecticut Lakes Region; 81 percent in the North Region; 68 percent in the White Mountain Region; 50 percent in the Central Region; 60 percent in the Southwest Region; and 50 percent in the Southeast Region.

The real winner of the 2016 moose hunt was the Wild Life Heritage Foundation that raised $33,009 through the auction of two moose permits. The top two bids were $16,002 and $17,001.99. One successful bidder was from New Hampshire and the other was from Massachusetts. Steve White, chairman of the foundation stated, “These dedicated hunters know the unique quality of the hunt in New Hampshire, and they provide the opportunity for the foundation to support a variety of Fish and Game grant requests this year, especially with the majority of the grants focused on education.”

This year’s auction resulted in eight grants to Fish and Game: Wild Times for Kids publication distributed to grades three through six in New Hampshire schools, two scholarships to the B.O.W fall workshop, part two of a study of the movement patterns of lobsters off the New Hampshire coast, a wild brook trout migration assessment, a Citizen Science Project website to collect data on New Hampshire’s rabbit species, registration costs for the Operation Game Thief committee to participate in the International Crimestoppers conference to be held in New Hampshire in 2017, deer decoy replacement to aid in reducing poaching, and the sponsorship of the 2017 Discover Wild New Hampshire Day.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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