New Hampshire Fish and Game plans to begin stocking big broodstock Atlantic salmon into the Merrimack and Pemigewasset rivers around the first weekend in May, according to Matt Carpenter, the Anandromous Fish Restoration Coordinator for the N.H. Fish and Game.
The fish will be spread between stocking sites in Bristol, Franklin, Concord and Bow, N.H. More than 400 broodstock salmon will be released this spring. Fish and Game stocks brood stock Atlantic salmon each spring and fall, giving New Hampshire the only managed Atlantic salmon river fishery in New England.
“These are among the best-looking fish that I have seen so far!” Carpenter said. “Many of the largest fish lack the fin wear that often occurs with hatchery-raised salmon. The average weight of the fish is about the same, 8 or 9 pounds, but we definitely tagged some giants that will present a challenge for even the most skilled anglers.”
To fish for brood stock salmon, anglers need a current New Hampshire fishing license and an $11 brood stock salmon permit. Both can be purchased online at www.FishNH.com or from Fish and Game license agents statewide.
Only salmon marked by Fish and Game with a T-bar anchor at the base of the dorsal fin may be kept, and the bag limit is 1 per day and 5 total for the season. For more information on New Hampshire’s brood stock salmon fishery, including an access map, visit www.fishnh.com/Fishing/atlantic_salmon.htm.
“Spring is when we stock the robust 3- and 4-year-old salmon, as opposed to the two-year-olds stocked in the fall,” said Carpenter. “Salmon are not ready to produce eggs until they are at least three years old. In the fall, we are stocking extra fish that will not be needed to provide eggs for the program. In the spring, we stock extra fish that have already spawned the previous fall.”
This year, the lack of snow melt has kept river flows well below their usual levels for this point in the season. “This should make for some good brood stock fishing, as long as there isn’t any major rainfall,” said Carpenter. Heavy rains or rapidly warming water temperatures can put a sudden end to the season, as fish quickly move downstream.
Brood stock anglers are encouraged to report their experiences to Fish and Game. “We always appreciate getting feedback from broodstock salmon anglers,” said Carpenter. Reach him by calling 603-271-2612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The big fish stocked in the brood stock salmon program have completed their maternal duty producing the fry (young salmon) used in the Atlantic salmon restoration program, a partnership between the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Purchase of brood stock salmon permits helps support this cooperative state-federal restoration effort, along with a number of other fish conservation projects. The program is also supported through federal funds from the Sport Fish Restoration Program.
source: N.H. Fish and Game Department