November 23, 2017

WHAT'S DOWN THERE? Warmwater sampling results from Monadnock/Upper Valley

Submitted - 2005-08-27
By Gabe Gries and Michael Racine, Region 4 Fisheries Biologists

Some fine warmwater fishing is available to anglers in the Monadnock/Upper Valley region of New Hampshire, based on our warmwater sampling research from this summer.

The goal of Fish and Game's Warmwater Program is to sustain and improve warmwater fish populations through management and natural reproduction, to provide recreational fishing opportunities in an ecologically sound manner. One way we meet this goal is by conducting summertime assessments of warmwater lakes, ponds and rivers in New Hampshire. These surveys are conducted at night, using an electrofishing boat to temporarily stun the fish in a given area. We capture the fish, record the species, length and weight data, then gently release them back into the water.

Here are some of the fishing waters we sampled:

Potanipo Lake (Brookline): This lake just off of Route 13 has a paved state-owned boat access with parking for several trailers. Sport fish sampled included largemouth bass, pickerel, panfish (black crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed), small yellow perch, and medium to large bullhead. Numerous bass in the 6 inch-12 inch size range were sampled. One 18 inch+ bass was also sampled; this fish had recently broken a bait fisherman's line and then managed to get tangled in a stump on the southwest shoreline. We were able to untangle and release it for another lucky fisherman. The panfish were plentiful and of edible size. A few non-sport fish were found, including large suckers, American eels, and small golden shiners. We were disappointed to see the lake bottom littered with many beer and soda cans. Please remember to respect our environment and keep our waters clean.

Highland Lake (Stoddard): This waterbody has two main public access points, one along Route 123 and one further up the lake at a marina. Our electrofishing survey began along Route 123 and went just past the island into the stumps. If you have fished this lake, you are probably aware of the stump bed on the eastern shore just north of the island. This water has moderate vegetation and a few rock/ledge outcroppings. We were impressed with the numbers and sizes of all species in each location we sampled, although the bass catch rate was highest in the stumps. We sampled largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, black crappie, sunfish, yellow and white perch, brown bullhead, golden shiners and suckers. Most of the bass were in the 10 inch-15 inch size range, with a few over 18 inchs. We also sampled many young-of-the-year bass, indicating this water has a superb nursery for them. We were also impressed with the size of the white perch and are looking forward to ice fishing it this winter.

Harrisville Pond (Harrisville): In this year's sampling, this waterbody had the lowest catch rates for all species. This may be in part to the physical characteristics of the pond, which has steep shorelines along most of the shore. After shocking, we relayed our sampling results to a local bass fisherman who claims fishing along the western shore this year produced some nice bass for him. The weed bed on the northern end gets fished regularly and produced most of the pickerel sampled, with the largest one at 15 inches. Other species sampled included moderate numbers of largemouth bass of all sizes, a few small smallmouth bass, and few yellow perch, pumpkinseed and redbreast sunfish. We also saw some large bullheads, many golden shiners and a few very large suckers.

Otter Lake (Greenfield): This lake is a nice fishery that contains both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Aquatic vegetation and numerous trees/logs in the water provide excellent habitat for the bass and other warmwater species. In addition to the bass, species sampled included bullhead (hornpout), pumpkinseed, golden shiners, yellow perch, and eastern chain pickerel. Many hornpout, some up to 14 inches, were sampled. Many bass in the 12-15 inch range were captured. Additionally, high catch rates of smaller bass mean that the fishing will continue to be good in coming years. Several large pickerel were sampled as well. Although most perch were shorter than 6 inches, we did see some that were as long as 11 inches. If you're looking for high bass catch rates, this would be a good lake to fish.

Halfmoon Pond (Barnstead): The fish habitat in this pond is highly variable, resulting in numerous fish species being present and some excellent fishing opportunities. Species sampled included large and smallmouth bass, white and yellow perch, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, and yellow bullhead. Numerous nice white perch of edible size were observed. Might be a good place to check out this winter for some perch ice fishing. The young-of-the-year production of fish in this pond was exceptional, indicating that this pond is an excellent nursery for fish of all species. Growth of largemouth bass in Halfmoon Pond is superb for our New Hampshire lakes, with fish reaching 12 inches in just three years.

Lake Monomonac (Rindge): Species sampled included large and smallmouth bass, black crappie, white and yellow perch, golden shiners, eastern chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and brown and yellow bullhead. The yellow perch were of moderate size (8-12 inches) while the white perch were very impressive in terms of size (10-15 inches) and weight. Monomonac appears to have a decent black crappie and bluegill fishery as well. Numbers of bass were lower than in some of the other lakes sampled this summer, but the fish that were sampled were quality fish.

Pool Pond (Rindge): This is a relatively small pond with a decent ramp and adequate aquatic vegetation for fish to use as habitat. Species sampled included largemouth bass, eastern chain pickerel, pumpkinseed, bluegill, yellow perch, brown bullhead, and golden shiners. We sampled bass up to 6 pounds and were very impressed with the size of the bullheads. Additionally, we saw some big yellow perch and bluegill and a few decent size pickerel.

Kimball Lake (Hopkinton): This small pond is very shallow (generally less than 6 feet deep), has abundant aquatic vegetation, and has had winter fish kills in the past. Despite these factors, there are a lot of huge yellow perch in this pond. We also found lots of small pumpkinseed, yellow and brown bullhead and golden shiners. Largemouth bass were not extremely abundant; while most were less than 12 inches in length, their growth was some of the fastest we have seen. Kimball Lake would be a great place to take children fishing.

Please help stop the spread of aquatic nuisance weeds by removing all vegetation from your boats and canoes when leaving a waterbody. We hope you enjoy fishing this year in the Monadnock/Upper Valley Region -- and don't forget to take a kid fishing anytime you can. We are always happy to talk to you about fish and fishing so please contact us at Region 4 (603-352-9669; reg4@nhfgd.org) if you have any questions.
This report was provided by NH Fish and Game Department in Concord, NH. Follow this link for more specific information on the reports or the area - http://wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/fishing.htm