Large Lake Fisheries in NH
Improving Large Lake Fish Habitat
New Hampshire’s centrally located "Large Lakes" span from Vermont to Maine borders, exceeding 72,000 surface acres. These diverse lakes -- including Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, Squam, Newfound, Sunapee, Ossipee, Wentworth, Conway, and Merrymeeting - typically offer both coldwater (e.g., trout, salmon) and warm water (e.g. bass, pickerel, perch) fisheries. Most are stocked annually with landlocked salmon and rainbow trout; all other species present are sustained through natural reproduction. Given the abundance of cold, deepwater habitats, these lakes contain rainbow smelt, the most important pelagic (open-water) forage (bait) species for New Hampshire's coldwater gamefish. Landlocked salmon, lake trout, and rainbow trout are dependent upon healthy smelt populations to achieve maximum growth rates and body condition (robustness). Lake trout, and particularly rainbow trout, will also consume a wide variety of other prey items available. Rainbow smelt are also important prey for many other species popular with anglers, including smallmouth bass and white perch.
A major goal of the Large-Lakes Fisheries Program is to provide quality recreational angling opportunities for landlocked salmon, lake trout, and/or rainbow trout by maintaining adequate rainbow smelt populations. Smelt populations are monitored annually via nighttime hydro-acoustic (sonar) and trawl net surveys on select lakes. Smelt densities are evaluated to assist in setting salmon stocking rates, in order to allow maximum growth while maintaining adequate smelt populations. Although many factors ultimately affect smelt populations, their abundance can be critically reduced by overstocking salmon.
Annual fall netting surveys are conducted on select lakes to assess landlocked salmon, lake trout, and/or rainbow trout population dynamics, including age, growth, and body condition (robustness). Several-hundred landlocked salmon are also trapped and held for annual egg collection efforts, to perpetuate the statewide stocking program. "Salmon Sunday," a popular event held each November at Pope Dam in Tuftonboro, provides the public with an opportunity to observe landlocked salmon egg collection (stripping) efforts in an "up close and personal" manner.
Annual young-of-the-year (YOY) smallmouth and largemouth bass electrofishing surveys, recently commenced in Lake Winnipesaukee, monitor annual reproductive success and help forecast future year-class strength - a major factor influencing bass fisheries.
All fish species - from the grandest gamefish to the tiniest forage (bait) fish - are inherently and indelibly interconnected with the aquatic ecosystem. In partnerships with the angling community, lake associations, other state agencies, municipalities, and private landowners, the Inland Fisheries Division strives to maintain and/or enhance cold and warm-water fisheries in New Hampshire’s "Large Lakes."
Nighttime Surveys For Smelt
Nighttime Surveys For Smelt
Transcript of video:
under the cover of darkness fishing game biologists venture out onto New Hampshire's largest lake their mission to locate the needle in the haystack
front of lakeshore park right will usually just do this and it's that's good okay this is no different than your own fish finder a little bit more sophisticated but it sends a coup stick pulse down through the water and give us a return if it's really that simple and that's we're going to be counting these a smell to primarily smell targets tonight and this davit arm here simply swings out so that we can deploy the toe body for each transect and tonight we're probably doing about five or six trans x takes us about a week to do one of sake okay so a simple question might be why are we out here at night smell they're actually nocturnal they're coming up off the bottom again to feed on these old plankton up to the limit of the thermocline in late summer and if you did these same transits in the middle of the day you might see a few pockets you know where game Bishop corralled some smell but for the most part these smelt are trying to hide from predators they're literally laying across the bottom in very deep water so this particular transect number 120 going to be starting at the southern tip of Sandy heading over to lakeshore park
ok so we're deploying the toe body and the transducer now
right just below under the boat so those who turn signals when they're coming back is a little interference we can get from this point on we're hanging is you like to call it this line here is the bottom line you see here is actually a double echo that's alleged really rock hard material coming off the shelf from the island typically what we see we've got really really thick young a year and some adult no targets we headed toward the lakeshore park those young a year smell are really the driver of our larger lakes fisheries and we'll see them when we trawl you're talking you know critters out are fairly an inch and a half long but it's a really critical and important food source not only for Salman it's you know landlocked salmon lake trout rainbow trout but also smallmouth bass white perch you name it they love to eat smelt in our large leagues and what we gained through the trawl net we have to confirm the presence that you know with the hydro coo Saguna is showing his smell we'll also see the difference between the adults and the young a year
if you look closely you can see the different sizes and it leads down basically to a funnel into the cotton this is where samples will collect oh
yeah they're really showing up now get it out ready
hydraulics on babe
and we're fishing
so we completed our 10 minutes raw we're going to pull our net and see if we go
if we see a healthy or weave and Dean surplus smelt density we certainly can raise online log semen stocking rates the whole premise of the program is trying to match the rate for the amount of salmon stocks to the smell / collage authorities and there's our snow and at the depth we were fishing with the net nas's just what we expected to see for the amount of time on the draw this is a very good sample clearly indicative of and it sounds simple but to be scientific about it you have to confirm what you're seeing on that screen with the trial is going to be reason for the trauma and catch you're double bagging your kitchen snow long late nights and hard work this unseen research that if it's all that enjoy New Hampshire's large lakes