The winners of New Hampshire’s 2012 Trophy Fish Program have been announced by Don Miller, Fisheries Biologist and Trophy Fish Program Coordinator for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The program gives fishing enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to receive recognition while providing biologists with important information on the state’s fisheries over time. All successful applicants receive a “Trophy Fish” shoulder patch. Then, each February, the person who caught the largest fish in each species category is presented with a special certificate. There are 22 freshwater species and seven saltwater species categories for both kept and released fish. All ages and all legal methods of angling are represented.
The Trophy Fish Program was created in the 1970s, although the state’s record fish information dates back to 1911. “Over the years the Trophy Fish Program provides us valuable data on fish populations not normally reported to us,” Don Miller noted.”And almost every year, a new state record is reported, which says a lot about New Hampshire’s fisheries.”
Three state records were documented in 2012. Andrew White of Vernon, Vermont caught a 30 inch long, 11 pound, 6.88 ounce channel catfish out of the Connecticut River in Hinsdale. Earlier that same month, White had caught a 10 pound, 3.52 ounce channel catfish in the same waters, which measured 30.75 inches. Timothy Moore Jr. of Portsmouth caught a record grey triggerfish weighing 2 pounds, 1.12 ounces and measuring an impressive 15.5 inches in length. Marc Schloss of Northboro, Massachusetts, caught a 9 pound, 0.06 ounce, 21.25 inch long tautog (or blackfish) in Hampton Harbor for a new record in that category.
And 2013 is off to a great start with the verified new record northern pike caught on February 16 of this year. Kevin Phelps of Monroe caught a 24 pound, 9.44 ounce pike at the Moore Reservoir on the Connecticut River. Congratulations, Kevin!
Fourteen categories of “catch and release” species and eleven categories of “kept” fish were represented in New Hampshire’s 2012 Trophy Fish Program. In 2012, three lake trout were caught and registered over 20 lbs. in size, quite a remarkable feat.
Of the 83 entrants in 2012, 11 anglers (or 13%) were under 15 years old. And these kids are serious anglers! Justin Learn, an 11 year old from Hillsborough, caught a 14 pound, 5.76 ounce northern pike at Pierce Lake to win his category. Thirteen-year-old Drew Dunlap of Meredith just missed the win in the largemouth bass catch-and-release category with a very respectable 24-inch largemouth caught on Lake Winnipesaukee. Nine-year-old Liam Hemmerling of Enfield, ten-year-old Wyatt Lumsden of Milton, and two seven year olds, Katy Nowell of Braintree, MA, and Dominic DeClement of Hollis, N.H., all caught and released excellent largemouth bass from lakes around the state. Samuel Bennett, age 15, of New Boston, caught and released a 15-inch black crappie. Congratulations to all the entrants and winners for 2012. Grab the kids and get fishing for 2013!
A complete listing of all entries, plus links to application forms, rules, records and winners from past years can be found at fishnh.com/Fishing/trophy/2012.html.
Image courtesy New Hampshire Fish and Game Department