Dick Pinney's Guidelines: Getting ready for opening day
Well here it is, with tomorrow opening day of the landlocked salmon fishery in our big lakes. Along with the salmon, there are also rainbow, brown trout and lake trout to be caught in our big lakes. Do not confuse this with the opening day fishing for "trout," which happens on the last Saturday of April. This can get you in big trouble.
In our humble estimation, the area around Laconia, if the ice isn't out completely by this opening, is the place to be. At Winnisquam Lake there will be open water at the outlet of the Winnipesaukee River. This is one of the first places you can troll with any amount of open water for salmon and lakers. In the unusual year, trolling water could be available at both Alton Bay and Wolfeboro Bay, but we doubt that will happen.
The other Laconia option, a place that has been red hot on the opening of the April 1 fishing, would be Lake Opechee at Lakeport. This place has been on fire in the early season, but funny thing, you can get on this open water and fish well before April 1, but the problem is that legally you can't target or possess landlocked salmon, but this lake is well stocked with rainbow trout. In my own personal experiences, you'll catch about 10 salmon for each rainbow trout if you are trolling flies or artificials. If you are anchored and fishing live bait at the inlet below the dam or the outlet, you have a little bit larger chance of hooking into a salmon than a rainbow.
Don't be afraid to troll or cast streamer flies in either spot. We've done really well casting streamers into the current and also have had some great luck trolling streamer flies.
One of our favorite places to be is to anchor in the lake in the current stream below the Lakeport Dam, using live shiners or if you can get them, live smelt. Hooking them with a single hook in the jaw, all you have to do is to sit there and wait for a fish to hit, let them take the bait for a minute or two and then gently set the hook and hold on.
Longtime Boston TV newscaster and anchor Peter Mehegan will be the guest speaker at the Merrimack River Valley Trout Unlimted Chapter's annual Conservation Fundraising Banquet to be held on Saturday, April 6, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at the Londonderry Country Club in Londonderry. Mehegan retired in 2005 from WCVB-TV after 23 years as co-anchor of Chronicle news magazine. His best known Chronicle feature was "On the Road Again," where he traveled the back roads of Maine in his restored 1969 Chevy Impala. He traveled to every county in the state of Maine profiling colorful rural personalities rarely seen on TV - lobsterman, loggers, farmers or "anyone with a story to tell". He is a longtime member of the Cape Cod Trout Unlimited Chapter and has also helped with the development of the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Rangeley, Maine. He enjoys fly fishing in both eastern and western Maine and most of all being a grandfather to six children.
Trout Unlimited is a 501(c)3 National Organization with more than 150,000 members and more than 500 chapters nationwide. There are seven chapters throughout New Hampshire, and the Merrimack River Valley Chapter covers the Southern part of New Hampshire and is based out of Manchester. In conjunction with many area conservation commissions and the New Hampshire Fish and Game, Trout Unlimited works to restore, protect and conserve cold water fisheries and their watersheds. Through education we also sponsor introductory fly fishing classes and fly tying classes where our volunteers introduce both adults and youth to the sport with the intent of having them become stewards in preserving the valuable resources we have in New Hampshire and surrounding states. We also donate equipment to local schools that participate in "Adopt-a-Salmon" and "Trout in the Class" programs run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The New Hampshire Fish and Game.
In addition to our guest speaker, the luau-themed evening will feature a buffet dinner, door prizes, raffles and auctions, with all proceeds to benefit chapter projects and programs. Ticket prices are $30 per person and the event is open to Trout Unlimited members and the public. Groups, businesses and corporations are eligible for discounts by purchasing a table of eight or more for $25 per ticket. For more information about this event or to purchase tickets visit the website at www.merrimacktu.org or contact Ron Hamel @ (978) 835-8857 or via e-mail @ RMHamel@comcast.net.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.