Anglers going after the “King of Fish” – broodstock Atlantic salmon – will be happy to hear that stocking of the big fish is expected to get underway this week. After a more typical winter, river flows are holding steady at about average for this time of year. Snow melt continues in the mountains, keeping the water temperature cold in the Pemigewasset River. Cold water temperatures and steady flows can make for a good spring season of salmon fishing.
“With no major rain in the forecast, we have decided to seize the opportunity and stock the broodstock early this year,” said Matt Carpenter, the fisheries biologist who manages the salmon broodstock fishery. “Hopefully, this will make for a long and productive spring season of fishing.”
The fish will be spread between stocking sites beginning in Bristol and working south to Concord and Hooksett, N.H. 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.
“We have about 300 fish to stock this spring. What we lack in numbers this year we make up for in size,” said Carpenter. “Some of these fish easily weigh in over 10 pounds!”
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 http://www.fishnh.com or from 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. The bag limit is 1 per day and 5 total for the season.
The big brood stock salmon being stocked this spring 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 & Wildlife Service.
“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 stock 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.”
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 Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program.
Brood stock anglers are encouraged to report their experiences to Fish and Game by contacting Matt Carpenter at 603-271-2612 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on New Hampshire’s brood stock salmon fishery, including an access map, visit http://www.fishnh.com/Fishing/atlantic_salmon.htm.
Logo courtesy New Hampshire Fish and Game Department