CONCORD, N.H. — With the welcome arrival of spring, NH Fish and Game Inland Fisheries Chief Jason Smith can’t help but get excited about open water angling, especially trout fishing. Fish culturists at New Hampshire’s six state trout hatcheries have been holding on, waiting for Mother Nature to provide conditions favorable for spring stocking. The good news is that stocking trucks are now rolling! New Hampshire hatcheries have close to one million catchable-size trout ready for this season. See a short video at: https://youtu.be/Z-NI1rPKrww.
“As open water begins to appear and shoreline ice starts to break up, anglers — including me — are looking forward to open water trout fishing,” says Smith. “Keep in mind that stocking will come later at some ponds still locked in with ice. Also, many of our ponds are accessed by dirt roads that are extremely muddy and do not provide access for heavy commercial vehicles used for stocking trout.”
Another factor, Smith explained, is that trout species are reluctant to bite until the streams reach temperatures in the high 40s. “We don’t want to stock streams too early, because cold, high water early in the season does not present suitable conditions for trout angling. Also, stocking access is limited until waters recede. Attempting to carry nets and buckets of trout over steep embankments that are still covered with several feet of snow is a risky proposition for both the stocking crews and the fish!” said Smith. “We’re fortunate to have Conservation Officers in the field that monitor water conditions and make the necessary adjustments to trout stocking schedules.”
New Hampshire’s designated trout ponds, which open April 22, 2017, are generally places where you might find early season success. “Although stocking crews and Conservation Officers will do the best to provide fish for opening day, it might be unrealistic to have all of our designated trout ponds stocked this year, particularly in the North Country,” said Smith. “As the season progresses, fishing on smaller streams will pick up, from south to north, with the larger rivers to follow. A good rule of thumb is to follow the black flies as they move north.”
Raising nearly one million trout each year is no small task. New Hampshire’s hatchery system, funded by fishing license sales and federal Sport Fish Restoration funds, includes six facilities across the state.
Now that we have a jump start on spring, Jason Smith and thousands of other New Hampshire anglers are eager to welcome the open-water fishing season. Visit www.fishnh.com to find stocking updates, fishing reports and to buy your license.