Hunter’s Corner: Rainy weather pattern postponing peak fishing conditions

  • Fishers can compete in the Winni Derby from May 19-21 at Lake Winnipesaukee. Jim Cole / AP file

For the Monitor
Saturday, May 13, 2017

This past week’s weather patterns are postponing peak fishing conditions both on big lakes and small ponds. With the Winni Derby coming up May 19-21, the magic temperature is 55 degrees. The first place this happens on Lake Winnipesaukee is in the bays. Salmon will cruise through, looking to feed on smelt or anything that might be available. As the temperature of the lake warms up, they will disperse. One of the advantages of using a fish finder is the ability to spot bait plumes. Fish will surround the plume, feasting on stragglers. The more aggressive they get, the more they will attack the plume.

When the derby does roll around, I expect weather and water conditions to be near perfect. The crew will once again be enjoying the facilities at Naswa Resorts. The staff there has customer service down to an art form, making sure a good time will be had by all.

Robb and I troll hardware and streamer flies at a depth of 12 feet. This time of year, if you go deep, you might as well go home. Over the years, we have had the skills to be a winning combination. My favorite fly is a red-gray ghost with white beads. Others use a fast-sinking fly line or five colors of lead core, which would put you at 15 to 20 feet deep.

Mark Saturday, June 3, on your calendar as it is free fishing day. Residents and non-residents can fish anywhere in the state in fresh or saltwater for free. All other fishing regulations must be followed, including season dates and bag limits. To make it a more enjoyable, start by picking up a copy the Freshwater Fishing Digest and the Saltwater Fishing Digest. New Hampshire is a tourist state where both residents and non-residents are tempted by numerous family fishing opportunities. This is a great opportunity to get the family involved in a lifetime of fun.

Ever since the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) became a problem in certain Northeast states, New Hampshire has been actively monitoring data collected during the 2016 hunting season. Once again, there is no evidence of CWD in our deer herd. That is good news.

New Hampshire Fish and Game continues to ask hunters to step up to the plate to help keep New Hampshire CWD-free by not using natural urine-based deer lures and following state restrictions on importing carcasses from CWD-positive jurisdictions.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disorder that is always fatal to white-tail deer, moose, mule deer, elk and other exotic cervids (members of the deer family). Currently, it’s not believed that CWD is transmissible to humans. However, hunters are still advised not to consume animals that may have CWD.

Deer Biologist Dan Bergeron recently received results from a federally certified veterinary diagnostic laboratory indicating that all deer tissue samples taken during the 2016 all-deer season tested negative for CWD. In 2016, a total of 268 tissue samples from hunter-killed deer were tested by Fish and Game, with significant support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services in Concord. Since the monitoring program began in 2002, about 5,800 deer have been tested in New Hampshire.

It’s that time of year again when we are treated with the wonders of wildlife and nature. Often times, the fawns, calves and other wildlife youth appear to be abandoned but in reality, they aren’t. This is especially the case with fawns. Doe will take a break to feed and the fawns are usually left in thickets. Their white dots act as natural camouflage. Doe also limit their contact with the fawns as the fawns are virtually scent-free and the close contact would result in the fawn gaining some of the doe’s scent.

If you see a female bear acting in an agitated manner, she is trying to communicate to her cubs to climb a tree. The most protective of all the parents is the cow moose. The cow moose will go to great lengths to protect her calf.

The thing to do is to enjoy the view at a safe distance and never assume the young animals you are watching have been abandoned, because they rarely have been.

Also worth noting, May through October is the period of time where moose-vehicle collisions are at a peak. There were 116 collisions in 2016. The five-year average in 136. Moose come to all types of roads to eat salt during this period. Most accidents occur at dusk and at night. Moose coloration and height make them hard to see in low-light conditions and at night. A basic driving solution is to not overdrive your headlights. Or simply slow it down.

A trip to Fish and Game headquarters will be rewarded with a copy of the 2016 Wildlife Harvest Summary. There are so many nuggets of information contained in the summary it is a difficult choice where to start. After reviewing the top weights for archery, muzzleloader, and regular firearms kills the top two counties for big deer are Coos and Grafton.

The biggest deer from the muzzleloader category was shot by Justen Vien, whose buck hit the scales at 266 pounds, followed closely by Michael Merrill’s buck at 265 pounds. Both bucks also landed in the top-10 of all methods. The top archery buck was Thomas Barber’s 232-pound buck. The top buck from the regular firearms season was Fredrick Emerson’s 242-pound buck. One-third of all hunters registering big bucks were from Vermont. Concord resident Justin Himes made the muzzleloading list with a 234-pound buck taken in Merrimack County.

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