The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department completed its annual aerial stocking of remote trout ponds this week. Every year, Fish and Game contracts a helicopter to stock remote ponds, from Sunapee to Pittsburg. During this one-day event, nearly 50 remote ponds are stocked with brook trout fingerlings from the New Hampton Hatchery.
The stocking of remote ponds in the back-country of New Hampshire provides a unique angling opportunity for those anglers seeking a true wilderness experience. Serene, remote ponds not only produce beautiful brook trout with high catch rates, but also give the outdoor enthusiast an opportunity for wildlife viewing, hiking, camping or just simple solitude. Many of these remote ponds are located off popular hiking trails. As with any hiking excursion, please follow safe hiking guidelines (http://www.hikesafe.com).
As fishing season heats up, trout fishing at a remote pond is a great way to seek refuge from the crowds and enjoy some of the White Mountains’ best fishing. Anglers generally can back pack a float tube and waders, or simply wade from shore. Early spring water temperatures can still be fairly cool, so if you have insulated waders, I recommend them. They are a little bit heavier, but well worth it to keep warm in the cool water. Generally, I hike into these ponds after mid-May; with late snow melt and ice-out, the opportunities may come a little later this year.
Our short mud season this year will make hiking easier – not having to battle soft and slippery terrain. My rule of thumb is when the blacks flies approach “unbearable” levels, it’s time to grab your Deet, float tube, a light-weight fly rod and rubber boots and pack a lunch for a day on a remote pond! Brook trout that have spent all winter under the ice become voracious as the first insects start to hatch, and surface activity with small nymphs can be frenetic. By early June into July, many of these ponds will provide good surface activity due to abundant mayfly hatches.
Fish stocked last June should have reached 5-6 inches in most areas, with 2-year-olds reaching 12 inches or better. In fact, the fishing in these picturesque remote ponds is some of New Hampshire’s best kept angling secrets. High catch rates and lack of pressure generally provide positive results.
A few of these remote ponds are designated as “fly fishing only,” so be sure to check the regulations prior to your trip. For the list of remote ponds that are stocked, check the Fish and Game website at http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/trout_remote.htm. The aerial trout stocking has been made possible through fishing license sales, with assistance from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire.