CONCORD — Now that spring is on the horizon and winter is coming to an end, New Hampshire Fish and Game Fisheries Division Chief Jason Smith can’t help but get excited about open water angling, and more specifically, about trout fishing.
Fish culturists at New Hampshire’s six state hatcheries have had another great growing season, and stocking trucks are ready to get rolling in April. In fact, some of the state’s southern waterbodies received fish in late March. New Hampshire hatcheries have close to 1 million catchable-size trout ready for this season.
“As patches of open water begin to appear and shoreline ice starts to break up, anglers — including me — can’t help but look forward to open water trout fishing,” Smith said. “Spring conditions are more reflective of a typical year, so our hatchery staff will look forward to a more typical stocking routine this year.”
With cold, high waters from melting snow, it will be a few weeks before rivers and streams are at “fishable” levels. Most trout species are reluctant to bite until the streams reach temperatures in the mid-40 degrees F.
“We don’t want to stock streams too early because cold, high water early in the season does not present suitable conditions for trout stocking, and angler access is limited until waters recede,” Smith said. “We’re fortunate to have conservation officers in the field who monitor water conditions and make the necessary adjustments to the trout stocking schedules for when conditions are right.”
New Hampshire’s designated trout ponds, which open April 27, should offer early season success.
“Our stocking crews do their best to ensure there are recently stocked trout in all of our designated trout ponds for opening day,” Smith said. “Proceed with caution, however, as some of the ponds harder to access due to road conditions. If we have an extended mud season, concentrate on ponds with paved access and go from there.”
Designated trout ponds are open from the fourth Saturday in April through Oct. 15. As the season progresses, fishing picks up on smaller streams from south to north, with the larger rivers to follow. A good rule of thumb, he said, is to follow the black flies as they move north.
Fishing licenses can be purchased at fishnh.com or from any Fish and Game license agent.