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Old 04-04-2019, 08:49 AM   #1
ishoot308
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Default Fishing Survey

All;

As many of you may or may not be aware, a number of us dedicated Winnipesaukee anglers have been meeting with and working behind the scenes with NHF&G to help with some of the issues regarding missing age classes of salmon in Lake Winnipesaukee.

Without getting into all the particulars, one of the questions we raised to Fish and Game is what we as anglers can do to help them and help the lake regain these missing age classes…

In meeting with and speaking to their biologist, the biggest help we can do is supply them with information on our daily catch. In an effort to help with this, attached please find a very simple log sheet we have come up with to help F&G biologist determine the health of the fishery. The information requested on the log sheet is the only information they need for help. Also attached is an example of how the log should be filled out.

For those wishing to take part and help out with this important endeavor, please note the following…

#1. Only harvested fish are to be measured. Please do not attempt to measure any fish you plan on releasing.

#2. For those fish harvested and being measured, it is very critical to the biologist that proper measurements are taken as follows… with closed snout against “0” mark and longest caudal lobe (tail fin edge) being the total length – no “fisherman’s ruler” or “guesstimates”. Any measurements not done this way will be counterproductive.

#3. Please do not attempt to age class any salmon by fin clip. This information is not needed.

#4. If you would like further updates on this issue after the season is closed, please print your name and email address on the bottom of the log sheet. Please note that this is completely optional and not required for the survey.

Please email your completed sheets at the end of the season to winniangler1@gmail.com

Feel free to PM me through this board with any questions you may have.

Thanks!

Dan

Edited to add...if anyone is fishing on the lake with a VHF radio and would like a log sheet, simply request one on channel 12 as many fishermen will have them handy and some of these fishermen actually fish 7 days a week!
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File Type: pdf Winni Fish Log Example.pdf (17.9 KB, 181 views)
File Type: pdf Winnipesaukee Fishing Log.pdf (53.8 KB, 155 views)
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Old 04-04-2019, 09:06 AM   #2
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Great job Dan. A big thank you to you and the rest of the anglers for your behind the scene work to preserve and improve our salmon population


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Old 04-04-2019, 04:27 PM   #3
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Thank you for kicking this off Dan! This is a great example of sportsmen giving back to this great fishery. I'm hoping everyone who wets a line joins in. Good luck all this season and get those surveys back!
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:46 PM   #4
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Default Bass?

How about the bass fishery? IMO it has declined significantly over the past 20+ years. Does NHF&G plan to do a similar study for these fish?
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Old 04-04-2019, 06:19 PM   #5
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How about the bass fishery? IMO it has declined significantly over the past 20+ years. Does NHF&G plan to do a similar study for these fish?
Iím not a bass fishermen so I honestly do not know. Concerned bass fishermen should get together and attend meetings at NHF&G and raise your concerns and ask questions.

Good Luck!

Dan
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:44 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info. Looking forward to the season and dragging flies! Planning to participate.
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:11 AM   #7
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So is this about the entire fisheries or just salmon?
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:50 AM   #8
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So is this about the entire fisheries or just salmon?
Check with the wife Steve....since she catches all the fish anyway....
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Old 04-05-2019, 02:47 PM   #9
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Default Bass Fishery

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How about the bass fishery? IMO it has declined significantly over the past 20+ years. Does NHF&G plan to do a similar study for these fish?
NH Fish & Game has fishing tournament records dating back to at least 1996 that I am aware of of all fishing tournaments in the State. Gabe Griess, who used to be a Fisheries Biologist for NH F&G would use these records to monitor the health of the bass fishery in different lakes across the State. He published a report back in 2005 which gave us an idea of how healthy a bass fishery was. It would be interesting to have an updated report and be able to compare data year over year.

https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fis...ament-data.pdf
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Old 04-05-2019, 02:57 PM   #10
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Old 04-05-2019, 03:46 PM   #11
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Default How long?

Great project, Dan. Thanks for being a leader. Is this one season, or multi-year?
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:39 PM   #12
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Participating!
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:55 PM   #13
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Great project, Dan. Thanks for being a leader. Is this one season, or multi-year?
For now we are doing it on a year to year basis until the salmon population recovers. In discussions with F&G, we expect recovery in 2-3 years...

Salmon rearing has been moved from the Powder Mill hatchery to the Nashua hatchery which will immediately help in raising larger smolt. The larger smolt will survive better and eventually the missing age classes will return.

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Old 04-06-2019, 06:58 AM   #14
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Check with the wife Steve....since she catches all the fish anyway....
I was asking for her... ;-)
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:50 PM   #15
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Default 7-dollar senior fishing licenses for those poor, oldies!

Here's what you probably did not know ...... at least, I was unaware ..... what goes from $45 down to $7, when you turn age-68 ..... you didn't know it did you .... you qualify for a senior fishing license, starting at age-68, and the price goes from 45, down to seven ...... something to look forward to!

Just coughed up $47, 45 + 2, at Walmart for a license, yesterday, and that's the last time I will supposedly ever be paying the big-45. Next year, it's $7 ..... something to look forward to ...... weeeeeeoooooooo!

I always like to buy my license at Walmart with a credit card because I figure there is a much better chance the money will actually end up, where it's supposed to be going, to the NH F&G.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:48 AM   #16
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I pay nothing... I bought a life time combination license in 1986! It cost me $400 then so I guess I got a deal...
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:58 PM   #17
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Default Salmon help

Hi;
My family and I have been comming to the lake for over 55 years. I now own a condo at WEIRS BEACH. I started snorkling, then scuba diving the entire lake for all those 55 years.

I always got my own bait(crawfish) for bass by snorkling and picking up rocks in the shallows, and buying bait at AJ's for the salmon, lakers, etc. I would catch over 40-50 crayfish in a couple of hours, but, I had to stop even trying over 7 years ago, because there was NO MORE CRAYFISH under the same rocks that supplied me for over 40 years. I, also, do a fair amount of trolling with lures, live shinners and smelt. I have had days just a few years ago where just 2 anglers boated 28 salmon in 5 hours in Center Harbor. I have fished every "SALMON DERBY" since it's inception, taking 6th place one year with a 5.5 pound salmon near Governors Island.

I want to tell everyone I can, that I have seen some of the fastest, and the worse depletion of bait, gamefish, and water quality in my history. Over the past 3-4 years I have seen my catching numbers of Salmon, trout and bass decline to next to nothing. I, now, average about 1 per day on salmon. I blame the quality of the water and the absence of bait. If you dive anywhere in the lake nowadays, you will find a slimey, gucky algae growth covering everything...weeds, rocks, everything! I think this slime has killed off the crayfish which live on the bottom, under rocks. I think the other bugs, newts, salamanders, and all sorts of marine invertabrates are, likewise, being killed off by this algae....the animals, their eggs and young used to feed the predators (Salmon, etc). Now, without the natural prey, the prime fish are disappearing too. Intelligent and, frequent stocking is a band-aid. the problem is "WATER QUALITY". As a matter of example to my arguement. When I used to catch my own crayfish, it was real easy....I would snorkle over the rocks in about 3-10' of water,looking for "Clean" sand or gravel surrounding the rocks. That was a "tele-tale" sign that a crayfish was actively living under that rock, as they keep a "clean house" where they live by carrying the sand out from under that rock to make room for their living quarters. That sand builds up just outside their home(nice and clean from the movement). NOT ANY MORE>> every once an a while I check 30-50 rocks near my condo....ZERO CRAYFISH for the past 7-8 years. We are in deep do-do folks. I don't have a solution.

If anyone has seen the same or additional travesties, please let me know

bobcoff1940@gmail.com
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:34 PM   #18
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Despite what fishing derby, marinas and other tourist promoting organizations may try to sell us. The lake is dying a not so slow death !
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Old 04-11-2019, 08:48 PM   #19
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Default Not Quite True...

So much misinformation I did not wish to reply to... but I will...tomorrow...

Dan
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WINNI BOB View Post
Hi;
My family and I have been comming to the lake for over 55 years. I now own a condo at WEIRS BEACH. I started snorkling, then scuba diving the entire lake for all those 55 years.

I always got my own bait(crawfish) for bass by snorkling and picking up rocks in the shallows, and buying bait at AJ's for the salmon, lakers, etc. I would catch over 40-50 crayfish in a couple of hours, but, I had to stop even trying over 7 years ago, because there was NO MORE CRAYFISH under the same rocks that supplied me for over 40 years. I, also, do a fair amount of trolling with lures, live shinners and smelt. I have had days just a few years ago where just 2 anglers boated 28 salmon in 5 hours in Center Harbor. I have fished every "SALMON DERBY" since it's inception, taking 6th place one year with a 5.5 pound salmon near Governors Island.

I want to tell everyone I can, that I have seen some of the fastest, and the worse depletion of bait, gamefish, and water quality in my history. Over the past 3-4 years I have seen my catching numbers of Salmon, trout and bass decline to next to nothing. I, now, average about 1 per day on salmon. I blame the quality of the water and the absence of bait. If you dive anywhere in the lake nowadays, you will find a slimey, gucky algae growth covering everything...weeds, rocks, everything! I think this slime has killed off the crayfish which live on the bottom, under rocks. I think the other bugs, newts, salamanders, and all sorts of marine invertabrates are, likewise, being killed off by this algae....the animals, their eggs and young used to feed the predators (Salmon, etc). Now, without the natural prey, the prime fish are disappearing too. Intelligent and, frequent stocking is a band-aid. the problem is "WATER QUALITY". As a matter of example to my arguement. When I used to catch my own crayfish, it was real easy....I would snorkle over the rocks in about 3-10' of water,looking for "Clean" sand or gravel surrounding the rocks. That was a "tele-tale" sign that a crayfish was actively living under that rock, as they keep a "clean house" where they live by carrying the sand out from under that rock to make room for their living quarters. That sand builds up just outside their home(nice and clean from the movement). NOT ANY MORE>> every once an a while I check 30-50 rocks near my condo....ZERO CRAYFISH for the past 7-8 years. We are in deep do-do folks. I don't have a solution.

If anyone has seen the same or additional travesties, please let me know

bobcoff1940@gmail.com
I thought you said the problem was algae? The water quality changed the first day a camp was built on the shore front of the lake... the rest is history. Then we can also throw in boaters who have unknowingly released aquatic animals and plants into the lake via their trailers, bilges, and live wells. There is no going back from progress...
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:29 PM   #21
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Default Salmon Issues

Let me clarify a few things before this thread spirals out of control with misinformation... I apologize in advance for the length of this post...

First off the missing age classes of salmon have absolutely nothing to do with water quality, algae, crayfish, camps, boats or lack of baitfish...that’s all just a bunch of malarkey! As a matter of fact trawl netting and hydro acoustic surveys of smelt (primary food for salmon and trout) are done on a regular basis by the states biologist and have shown that winnipesaukee has an abundance of smelt and has been this way for a number of years so food is not an issue. Also the water quality in Winni is excellent for salmon and smelt to thrive in so again another non issue.

Salmon are not native to the lake and are stocked each year by the state. Every year winnipesaukee gets stocked with a certain number of POUNDS of salmon. It does not stock based on quantity but by weight.

Unfortunately due to “issues” at the Powder Mill Hatchery, for the past few years, the state has had to stop using heated water and nutrients which would help the salmon grow larger before stocking. Prior to this and In years past, 8-10 smolt per pound was the average when stocking and approximately 30,000 salmon were stocked each year at different locations in the lake.

In 2017 the state stocked 55,816 salmon in Winnipesaukee all in one location. Most people think wow that’s good they stocked almost twice as many fish as previous years...unfortunately that 55,816 represented the same weight as the 30,000 previously stocked in years past...the smolts were that much smaller and Most of them became baitfish for larger predatory fish and birds (loons,ducks, etc, etc.) and not many survived. THis is the reason we have missing age classes of salmon. The reason for stocking all in one location is the state thought they would have a better chance of survival being all together as it is natural instinct for baitfish to school up when being attacked.

By far in 2018, the predominant salmon age class caught was 3 years old. On average the catch ratio for most of us involved with this study was between 75-80% of our catch was the 3 year old salmon. We were catching very few if any any 1 or 2 year old fish and myself personally never caught a single stocked fingerling after they were stocked which is highly unusual.

Beginning this year all salmon rearing has been moved from the Powder Mill Hatchery to the Nashua, NH facility where warm water and proper nutrients will allow the smolts to grow larger before being stocked in the lake and survivability will be much better. The salmon will eventually rebound but it’s going to take a couple years.

There is a LOT more going on behind the scenes but this post is long enough and gives everyone the basic idea of what the issue really is.

In the meantime there is over abundance of lake trout and plenty of rainbow trout in the lake just waiting to be caught! Also the 4 year old salmon that will be caught this year should be real beauties! So get out there when and if the ice ever leaves!

Tight lines!

Dan
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Old 04-12-2019, 03:11 PM   #22
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Betty the small mouth bass is a bass who lives under my dock ..... she's been there for years and years ..... and while she has a small mouth, she also has some sharp teeth .... and anyone gets too close to her nest on the bottom in the rocks ..... she attacks ..... she will bite..... usually on the calf, sometimes on the thigh!

Anyway, Betty the small mouth bass tells me the lake bottom has become covered with some type of yucky stuff ..... and first chance she gets ..... she wants to swim the underground waterway back to the much cleaner waters in Squam Lake.

Betty know what she knows , and she knows what she wants ...... and Betty the small mouth bass says ...... it's goodbye Winnipesaukee ...... and, helloooooo Squam!
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:00 AM   #23
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Hey Dan, just to clarify on the instructions you sent...you mentioned that only fish that are kept should be measured.....I'm guessing this means "record ALL fish caught but only measure those that are kept". This is correct?
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:39 AM   #24
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Hey Dan, just to clarify on the instructions you sent...you mentioned that only fish that are kept should be measured.....I'm guessing this means "record ALL fish caught but only measure those that are kept". This is correct?
I think That if you are RELEASING salmon, don’t jeopardize their survival by keeping them out of the water any longer than you need to, thus NO MEASURING.
It might also skew the survey results by measuring released fish if the next angler that keeps that released fish also measures it for the survey.
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:07 AM   #25
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Hey Dan, just to clarify on the instructions you sent...you mentioned that only fish that are kept should be measured.....I'm guessing this means "record ALL fish caught but only measure those that are kept". This is correct?
That is correct Mike...

Thanks for taking part!

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Old 04-13-2019, 09:09 AM   #26
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I think That if you are RELEASING salmon, donít jeopardize their survival by keeping them out of the water any longer than you need to, thus NO MEASURING.
That is quite correct Hill!

Thanks for taking part!

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Old 04-13-2019, 09:12 AM   #27
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That is correct Mike...

Thanks for taking part!

Dan
Okay, I didn’t realize that released salmon should be recorded on the survey sheet as well.
I looked at the example again and I understand what should be recorded now. Thanks again Dan!
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:00 PM   #28
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Default Rock bass

No one is talking about Rock Bass, maybe they are getting all the crawfish and baby bass.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:33 AM   #29
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No one is talking about Rock Bass, maybe they are getting all the crawfish and baby bass.
Iím not a biologist but that would certainly be my guess!

Dan
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:00 AM   #30
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Unfortunately due to ďissuesĒ at the Powder Mill Hatchery, for the past few years, the state has had to stop using heated water and nutrients which would help the salmon grow larger before stocking.
For those who may be wondering, the "issues" are the Catch-22 of the fish hatchery business. Everyone wants the lakes stocked with sport fish, but the consequence is that these fish hatcheries are also fertilizer plants. The nutrients and fish excrement combined to create phosphorous levels in the Merrymeeting River that are off the charts. A river that flows directly into Alton Bay.

This will not be fixed without some very expensive filtration and treatment systems at the hatchery, funds which will most likely need to come from increased license fees.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:13 AM   #31
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Been monitoring the Winni Derby that is going on now and have seen some facebook postings where "someone" is saying they are "12 for 18" and another said "26 for 34"
All I can think is THAT is a lot of hookups and landed fish! That's only 2 boats!
Then I wonder how many "floaters" we'll encounter this week when the lake returns to normal.
I do not participate in derbies.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:59 AM   #32
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HC, the numbers of Derby fish caught seem similar to what I see in a typical derby in a single day(mid-30s per DAY not uncommon). However this year, mid-teens is my total catch for the entire derby. Saturday was nearly a skunk with the winds.

With the missing age classes, I think EVERY FISH that is not returned to the lake will be missed over the next few years. Most fish are very nice and healthy 4 year olds and I see almost everyone it seems keeping them. Sure the derby may have killed 100-200 but I'm seeing pictures on several trolling related forums from both rec fishermen and guides and all these beautiful fish are being kept it seems. The minority seems to be the catch and release guys.

Bottom line is this fishery will continue to suffer until the missing age classes are replaced but IMHO it is not the derby but those who do not realize the state of the fishery and continue to keep (legally) every fish they catch during this recovery period.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:29 PM   #33
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Default Salmon Derby - MY comments

Hi;

I have been fishing for all species for over 55 years, from Wolfboro to Lakeport, Center harbor, Weirs and Alton Bay. I have fished in over 25 Derbys. Placed 6th back 15 years ago with a 5.5 pound salmon caught just off Governor's Island. By the way, that salmon would have won the derby the year before, and the following year.

I am pretty good at what I do. I spend a lot of time fishing. I have, actually, caught over 28 salmon in 4 hours one day inside Center Harbor(with a buddy). We could only use 1 rod each as the action was so hot. We had several double "hook-ups" that day....we released all the fish!

However, over the past 3-5 years, the salmon fishing has been awful.
I have been averaging only 1 fish per day. During this past derby, I had 8 buddy's in 3 boats, and, all together, we only averaged 1 fish per day ...each. Yes, on some days one or two of us would get a couple, and others would get none. That's horrible!!!
We did , also, get a couple of nice Rainbow trout, and about 6-8 Lakers, but we're not concerned about those fish.

We were out, fishing, at 5:00 am , and we , also fished the twilight hours from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (prime time). We tried everything, and the smelt from AJ's was great till they ran out. We fished from Meridith to Welsh Island. Downriggering, "slo-trolling", and drift fishing with no weight .... we tried everything !!! The main thing I noticed was; we were not marking many "REAL" fish(nice traditional upside-down u's) , and I use a $ 3000 12" HDS LOWRANCE that will pinpoint a damn shiner under my boat at 50'. I really think that there is, simply very few fish left in the lake.
I also, make it a point to ask the other guys fishing, that we pass...how they are doing, and I got a lot of Zeros , using their fingers as we passed.

I hope somebody figures out what's going on, because I'm looking to sell my condo and move to another lake, and I hate doing this as I have had a great time on this lake for so long.

By the way, I am ,"NOW" ,one of the few guys that release all the salmon I catch. The pictures that are attached, were caught years ago when there was less pressure....I use the "red" plastic "hook dis-gorger" that many guys don't even know how to use, so 90% or more of the fish I release, probably live.

To those guys that are doing the survey,,,"THANKS"
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:23 PM   #34
ishoot308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WINNI BOB View Post
Hi;I hope somebody figures out what's going on, because I'm looking to sell my condo and move to another lake, and I hate doing this as I have had a great time on this lake for so long.
Bob;

Post # 21 in this thread tells you "whats going on". Plan on a 3 year recovery minimum! In my opinion, the derby should have been reconfigured to exclude salmon as a prize fish. No reason to cancel it, just reconfigure it. If you have been fishing the derby since the beginning then you would remember that the derby was originally started to REDUCE the amount of salmon in the lake during a period when overstocking had depleted the smelt population. How the state now figures its not doing the same has me scratching my head!...

Catch and proper release is always good!

Nice pics!!

FYI...Three dead salmon washed up on my beach on Welch Island in yesterdays wind.

Dan
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:50 PM   #35
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We went out 2 times so far and caught one laker each time (which I am happy about and both recorded on the survey)
Hopefully, the survey results will allow the biologists to restore the salmon to yester-years numbers but until then Lakers and bows will be happily caught!
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:38 AM   #36
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Default Fishing Survey

To those who took part in the fishing survey this year, please email your completed sheets to winniangler1@gmail.com

If you are unable to email sheets and would prefer to snail mail them, please private message me through this board for a mailing address.

Once all sheets have been collected and no later than November 1st, all survey sheets will be forwarded to NH Fish and Game biologist for their interpretation of the findings.

Any information shared by NHF&G will be shared with all survey participants who have included an email address on their survey sheet.

Thank you for taking part in this important survey!

Till next year....

Dan
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:58 PM   #37
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Dan, Iíll have my wife make a PDF of my list and get it to you. I have no clue how to make a PDF.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:23 AM   #38
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thanks Dan. i'll get mine scanned and sent out soon.
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